How to use Facebook to Market your Business

If you watch TV, go to the movies, read magazines, or see billboards, one of the things you’ll notice is almost all of these businesses have the little blue Facebook logo somewhere in their advertisement. The problem for many businesses isn’t setting up a Facebook account, it’s what to do with it once you’ve got it and how to make it a part of your overall marketing strategy. In this article we’ll be taking a look at some of those aspects and provide some ideas, examples, and guidance to help you meet your goals.

What Type of Things Should I Post on Facebook

If you’ve ever been to a party or social gathering you’ve probably run into someone who talks exclusively about themselves, their children, their car, their dog, the new bunion on their left pinky toe…you know how dreadfully boring and annoying they can be. When you’re on Facebook don’t be “that guy”. Sure it’s ok to talk about your company, its products and services, but that shouldn’t be the bulk of the content you post. A good rule of thumb to stick to is to operate within the 80/20 rule and keep self-serving posts to about 20% of your total posts.

How Do I Post Non Self Serving Posts on Facebook

Inspirational PostThis is a serious challenge that many businesses face when coming up with a Facebook strategy. The best types of things to post are links to articles, videos, or other resources that solve people’s problems or help them get things done. If you run a shoe store, you could post links to closet or storage stores that show how people stack and organize their shoes. If you’ve shown customers how to turn that section in the bottom their closet to hold 30 instead of 15 shoes, you’ve helped them and created an opportunity for yourself. If you run a fruit stand, why not publish a recipe of the week for whatever you have a large inventory of or are running a sale on. Peach Pies in August, Apple in September, Pumpkin in October are all great ways to do indirect selling. It’s ok to link or post about other businesses as long as they aren’t your competition.

Another great tactic is to be motivational or inspirational. If you sell sporting or athletic equipment, post motivational sayings and create that warm fuzzy feel good moment. And if it’s accompanied by a great image it’s likely something that people will like and share with their friends. Getting people to interact with your post by liking and sharing your posts is a very good thing, but more about that later.

It’s OK to Toot Your Own Horn

If you are in a product or service industry, showcase your work and ask your customers to do it too. If you are a landscaper and you just installed a new lawn and pond, post a few pictures. Did you just install new kitchen cabinets or counters? People love to see that, it ties into their aspirations of having that new perfect kitchen. Do you bake and decorate cakes? That’s another great product to post pictures of regularly, because who doesn’t like cake? One word of warning though: get the customer’s permission before you post anything with the customer’s name on it. If you post a cake with “Happy Birthday Janet” you want to make sure you don’t ruin Janet’s Birthday Party.

Educate Your Customers

One great way to get people reading your posts on Facebook is to teach them how to use your products. If there are smarter, better, easier, or faster ways to use your products, publish tutorials showing people how to do it. Do people use your products in unintended ways? Have them share examples of these uses. For example, if you were a beer distributor you could post seasonal recipes for people to try. Beer cans are great for holding beer, but did you also know they can be used to cook a chicken? You open the can sit the chicken over the can, and as the beer heats up and evaporates it keeps the chicken moist and smokes in flavor.

Show Off Your Customers

Do you sell products that customers build or complete at home? If you do, ask them to send in pictures of their completed projects. It could be something as simple as a planter, or reupholstering a chair. You can incentivize the behavior by running monthly contests with small denomination gift cards as prizes.

Engage Your Customers

No one wants to read posts from a company that they think is being pushed by “robots”, especially if it seems like there’s no one on the other side of the screen willing to talk to them. Post surveys or questions that are likely to inspire friendly debates. If you own an ice cream shop, run a poll asking people “What’s the best ice cream sundae topping?” or if you run an interior design company ask “What is the one color you would never paint your bedroom?” You will have to moderate to keep people from getting out of hand on occasion, but if you choose your topics wisely the time investment should be minimal.

Likes, Shares and Edgerank

When you make a post on Facebook it’s not seen by all of your customers. Facebook uses an algorithm (formerly know as Edgerank) to determine who sees what. For most businesses, unless you have a highly engaged audience, only 30-40% of the people who are your fans will see any of your posts. If you’ve liked, shared or commented on a post a business made in the past, you are more likely to see new ones in the future. If people who are your friends have liked, shared or commented on this post or a post in the past you are more likely to see this post. If a large number of people who aren’t your friends like or share the post again you are more likely to see the post. The complete list of factors that influence who sees your post is secret, but the interaction, liking, sharing, commenting, and engagement (like clicking post links) are important parts of the scoring process. As Facebook sees you are getting more engagement they will increase the number of people who see your posts in the future.

Getting Involved

While all of this may sound like a lot of work, it is something that’s worth the effort to do right. If you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself it’s a good idea to hire a professional who can help you get the best results to grow your business and social media presence.