In many ways the core of Facebook as a platform is an incredibly simple and straight forward tool, however when you get under the covers with it, or use it beyond general personal engagement, there’s a lot of elements to get to grips with.
The Facebook platform offers an incredibly powerful social media platform that businesses of any kind can utilise to help share their messaging, promote what they’re doing and find new business opportunities and customers.
With nearly 2.5 billion people globally using Facebook each month and around 1.5 billion logging onto it at least once per day, there’s no doubting that the Facebook universe can potentially offer value for the small business. However, knowing where to start and how to get your head around some of the basics can be quite daunting and often a little overwhelming if you’re not experienced with the platform or with social media marketing.
So where can you start and what steps can you take to help master some of the basics of Facebook for business? Well before I got any further there are some very easy to follow guides and videos that Facebook has created to help figure out how to use the platform for business including:
- Main Facebook page which provides an overview of how the platform works and a great place to start on your journey to creating Facebook for business content:
- Facebook has very kindly then created a specific training tool called Facebook Blueprint to help you learn about creating “Pages” and you can find that training link here:
- Although it’s not an essential, should you want to explore creating adverts or “boosting” pages in the future with paid activity on Facebook they’ve also got another page on that. I’d suggest holding off looking at this until you’re comfortable with the core of things though first:
Whether you choose to use those links or not – and they are useful – there’s a few basic steps you’ll be following to setup your Facebook for business platforms.
Define your goals.
There’s really no point in going any further with Facebook from a business perspective if you’ve not got a clear idea on what you’re trying to do and why you’re going to dedicate time to it. This might be as simple as wanting to reach new prospect customers, engage with existing customers, grow your brand in a specific or targeted area or something else. If you don’t take even a few minutes, to think about this first you’ll likely find yourself wondering what the point of your time and efforts are and also, more importantly you won’t be able to track and measure your successes!
Create a Page or Create a Group?
It maybe that you want to create both of these assets, but it’s still useful to understand the difference between these 2 options as it can get a little confusing.
Facebook Pages. Similar in some ways to a personal profile you’re likely already using to connect with friends and a network of contacts, a Page enables public figures, businesses, organisations and brands in general to create a dedicated profile on Facebook. Unlike your profile, Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. You, and every person on Facebook, can connect with these Pages by becoming a fan and then receive their updates in your News Feed and interact with them.
However, you’ll need to explore ways to promote, share and drive more awareness to get more fans and more “likes” of your page – in other words more people who see all the stuff you’ll be posting and hopefully connecting with it.
Facebook Groups. Whilst a page is designed to represent a person/ brand/ business/ organisation of some kind, a group is designed to create a sort of “community” or a platform for people to engage on specific topics. These can either be open to anyone (as with a Page) or they can be private and people have to request permission (from the person who manages/ created the group) to access.
Let’s Create the Perfect Page
Facebook has made it straight forward to at least start the process of doing this and you now (on a computer or tablet) will usually just click the “Create” link on the top bar – this might also be at the bottom of the page on the menu or in the drop down.
Once you have clicked the Create Page option you can then choose what you’re trying to create – a Business/ Brand page or for a Community/ Public figure. This will be dependent on you and your goals but should be pretty straight forward.
You’ll then be prompted to create your page name, choose the category your page relates to and address – you don’t have to show your address beyond city and region.
The next steps are for you to load a Profile picture (the main image that will be displayed on your page and next to all posts and content you share plus a Cover photo. The cover photo is the larger/ wider image that sits at the top as a sort of background on the main page of your, well, Page. Once you’ve done this it’ll look something like the below – the circular image is your Profile and the large darker image is the Cover photo.
If you then click “Create Page @username” under your profile you can create a username that will make it easier for people to specifically search your username on Facebook. Try to make it easily readable, appropriate to your Page/ Business and ideally avoiding anything that might be misread as something else.
The next steps are about adding some information to explain to anyone who visits the page what it’s about and tell them a little more information. The easiest option for this is to click the 3 little dots menu as shown below and click Edit Page Info:
The menu that pops up is now pretty self-explanatory, but it’ll want you to fill in your details including your opening hours (to give visitors an idea of when you’ll be available) – clicking save changes on them – with the relevant details on each section. Within this you also judge yourself on your pricing by selecting from 1 $ to 4 $ as you feel is appropriate. One you’ve saved all of the information on each section you can click the cross on the window to close it.
If you want to provide more immediate communications to anyone who contacts you in this, you can setup an automatic reply to all messages. You might want to just say something like “Thanks for contacting XYZ, this is an automated message but I’ll be sure to get back to you with a personal response as soon as possible.
It’s totally optional but can be a nice touch if you’re not able to respond to things very quickly.
If you cant find this in the future go to “Settings” and click “Messaging”. You can also set different options, including having a message appear to say “Hi” or whatever’s appropriate when they first go to message you.
In the “General” tab of this page you can manage a ton of other features and functions but the core useful ones to explore are:
- General Section
- Visibility – Alter this if you want to “hide” your page
- Visitor Posts – adjust when other people can share content without asking first to your page.
- Country & Age Restrictions – Likely useful to adjust for specific businesses or if you only sell/ transact in a specific area or country.
- Remove Page – worth knowing, just in case you need to use it!
- Page Info
- Update any of your information and description as you need
- Templates and Tabs
- Create new “tabs” on your home page e.g. the different main menu type options someone can see
- You can include things like Videos, Review, Events and much more
- Page Roles
- You can allow other people to have some level of control or access to your page. Perhaps a business partner, colleague, friend etc.
- There’s a number of other features, functions and tools within menu that it’ll be worth exploring and looking into over a period of time, but don’t feel daunted by the number of options in here. Quite honestly there’s a ton of customisable stuff in here but you’ll likely only use a few of them most of the time.
Time To Share
On the right-hand side of the page, you’ll see a section that says “Know friends who might like your Page?” where you can begin to share your new Page with the world!
You’ll normally see half a dozen of your current PERSONAL profile friends listed in here. You can either click their names in that list on the “invite” button or type name in the box as above. Note that they will only get an invite via Facebook to “Like” your page but you wont be able to add any kind of personalised message which might mean you miss a bit of the more personalised touch needed.
If you click the “Share” button (has a little arrow next to it) on the main home of your Page you can write a post on your “Personal” profile to help share with friends, contacts and that network. Here you can write a short update and click the post button to either share with all friends, or if you click the drop down on “Friends” you can also share this openly to anyone on Facebook.
It’s absolutely worth doing this and getting your own network that already exists on Facebook to help you spread the word. Doing this might mean you have to swallow a little pride in reaching out for help, but it can really help you to start the ball rolling!
Tell Your Story
So of course one of the main reasons you’ve created this Page is to share updates, post information, grow your awareness, connect with customers/ prospects and build your brand…. And the only way to really do that is share content and build the value of your page. The first port of call for anything you want to share on Facebook begins with the “Create Post” box
In here you can quite simply write a post, update or share a photo to anyone who can see your page and it’ll also be put onto the Timeline (the feed where you see all updates and new posts) of anyone who has liked or follows your page.
Hint: If you click the drop-down arrow next to your Profile photo on this you’ll also get some extra options and things to add in. You can also change colours and add in background effects and styles – use these sparingly as they can be a little overpowering and often haven’t got a connection to your brand or business persona
One thing that’s really worth noting is that when you add a post that finishes with a URL (this is the web address for a website e.g. www.bbc.com) the platform will take the image that is on the main part of the page you’re linking to and display it in the update.
In other words, if for example the URL for a news article on the Brexit vote from the BBC page was pasted into the update it automatically displays as per the above example. Now depending on how that page is built, it might actually display with something that’s really useful for the post you’re going to share – in that case, awesome!
It might also be that it displays something you don’t think is interesting or you want to have a different image in the post – changing that is easier than you’d think.
- In the image above there’s a little “x” (shown by small red circle) in top right that by clicking it will delete the image from being shown in the post
- Near the bottom (shown by slightly larger red circle above) you can click the box with a “+” in it and add photos you have saved elsewhere e.g. your desktop.
The reason it’s important is that visuals make your posts a lot more engaging – whilst it’s worth noting that they can be over used, images and visuals can really boost their engagement. According to Social Media Examiner, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only around 10% of that information 3 days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of it 3 days later.
Apparently visual content is also up to 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types and Facebook posts with images on average see 2.3x more engagement than those without.
Why, How & What to Share
So now you’ve got a Page, have started to write posts and update your Page it’s important to keep it going. Whilst you can absolutely get new followers, likes and connection from the wider Facebook world by asking your friends and network to share with their networks, that’s only going to do so much.
The key elements to work on doing is ensure your Page is relevant to your audience, provides either interesting content and information or gives them a reason to follow you, connect with your content and keep coming back.
It’s essential in your Facebook page management to be both regular and consistent in your posting but there’s also a few basic “rules” worth following to maximise your success:
- Don’t just post 20 times in a fortnight and then nothing for a month. Keep it regular!
- Try and keep at least a regularly programme of posts such as every other day, twice a day or whatever is appropriate for your audience and what you’ve got to talk about
- Try not to share content at times that aren’t relevant to your audience – the chances are if you post at 1am then unless you’re targeting insomniacs you probably wont get many people around at that time.
- Whilst content won’t disappear, you want to be a little planned in when you post.
- Use imagery where it’s appropriate to boost post content – but don’t feel you have to use it every time!
- Video is another hugely powerful medium, so don’t be afraid to incorporate it in your posting where it’s appropriate.
- If you’re struggling for content to post, go research find a news article or blog post – or even better, write one! – that your audience will find useful and let them know.
- Actively encourage people to leave comments, share their opinions and give feedback to your posts – it’s called social media for a reason right!
- You can also actively encourage people to share your content with their own networks – of course the more value in your posts, the more chance you have of this
- Try running competitions to help get engagement. Perhaps share something with ”Like this post to be in with a chance to win XYZ” or ask for a comment or answer to a question to potentially win
There’s tons of other tools, techniques and ways to really ramp up your Facebook for business strategy but just start by getting the basics right, posting relevant, regular and high value content – that connects to your own business or brand – and always look for more ways to share, connect and grow connections.