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10 Ways Small Businesses Can Better Use Facebook

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With advancements over the past few years in how Facebook can be used by businesses, it’s no surprise that many small companies are beginning to reach out where, before, they may have been too afraid to tread. Though advertising on social media can seem like a daunting task to some, the gauntlet has been thrown on the ground ready to be picked up by small business owners everywhere. With advertising, both paid and free, targeting preferred audiences, Facebook Live there’s a whole host of other aspects that can be utilised by those who know how. So out the 10 ways small businesses can better use Facebook

Facebook business pages are no longer just about posting and hoping people find your content; there are countless means and methods at everyone’s disposal to effectively position themselves on social media. But, to start off with, here are ten helpful hints and tips to get you a little further.

1) Targeted Advertising

When it comes to who you want to target your advertising at, it depends on what kind of product and company is doing the advertising. Based on location and interests companies can push advertising toward certain users on Facebook. This means that it’s more than likely they will attract the right kind of people for the right products. A study by SmallBizTrends found that around 76-78 percent of people who make $75,000 or more and are college graduates use social media, contrasting about 54-56 percent of people who earn less than $30,000 or less, and are high school graduates or never finished high school.

With the ability to target advertising specific to country this means that, for small businesses that only deal in certain areas, they can make sure that their advertisements don’t reach anyone outside of their delivery zone, for example. For small businesses, this reduces the amount of advertisements that need to be created, and that needed to be distributed. Instead of writing several adverts, a small business owner can create one or two specifically designed for a certain age range, or holiday event, or price bracket. In the long run this saves money, and as a whole saves a lot of time.

On Facebook there are 50 million active small business pages, and 4 millions of those pay for advertising. At the end of the day, this isn’t brand new information, but making sure that you target the right kind of audiences for a certain brand works wonders. Some companies throw money at advertising without thinking about its consequences. Managing advertising alongside the rest of a company’s social media leads consumers to the page where they’ll want to stay and take a look around.

2) Page Messaging

The fact that you can communicate directly with customers is something to grab onto with both hands. With new features for messaging on pages being added by Facebook all the time, there’s no reason not to reply to customers’ questions on a page. Page messaging is something admins can turn on and off. It is recommended to only be activated when a business is ready to receive feedback. If a company responses to 90% of messages within five minutes of them being sent, they will earn a “very responsive to messages” badge that lets customers know that they are reliable.

Page messaging allows for direct and personal communication, meaning that companies can be friendly and engaging with their customers. This helps with positive or negative feedback; often responding to a bad message on a page shows other customers that you deal with problems rather than sweeping them under the carpet. For companies looking to expand their business one of the first things someone will read when visiting a page are the reviews and messages. Seeing a business that replies to a message will give someone a little nudge to ask their own question.

With the saved replies feature, page admins can easily and quickly respond to messages asking the same questions. Keeping a range of saved messages, written either before or after an influx of similar questions saves the time of typing the same response over and over again. With the system of saved replies, a small business can reduce time taken writing out a personalised reply to an identical question and, instead, use the saved replies feature.

3) Facebook Live

The use of Facebook Live for personal accounts is wide ranging. However, few small businesses use it to promote themselves or their products. Large companies may have a large follower base as well, so Facebook Live can be used to easily promote their brand. For smaller businesses, the idea of live broadcasts is a little more complex, but it can work to attract customers and maintain activity in already existing followers.

When talking about Facebook Live, you can bring in the draw of videos as well, with video posts having a 135% greater organic reach than photo posts alone. The ways to utilise Facebook Live are extensive, but for small businesses, pages need to make sure that they inform their customers in short, sharp bursts. Spending hours on one part of a service or product is more likely to drive business away. But, using Facebook Live to promote or tease new items, engage with Facebook group members or those who follow your page, or a question and answer using the page’s chat feature.

Running a Facebook Live session as if you were writing text for a website is usually the best way to go. Have a plan, know what’s going to be said and guide the conversation with points and sections; make sure that if there’s a team of people involved they all know what they are saying and when. With a call to action at the end, viewers and potential customers will be directed to your website, or a specific product page of your choosing.

4) Finding Employees

In February of this year, Facebook launched a new system whereby business owners can post job openings on their page. Not only can a small business attract potential customers but, they can also attract new employees directly to job listings needing filled. The post will appear on business page feeds. This means that they can be liked and shared. Not only by by followers, but customers, page admins and even friends and family trying to promote the job listing. It can also be added to the public Jobs on Facebook page, meaning anyone looking in their area can find it.

With Facebook’s usage higher than another social media conglomerate finding and posting jobs does make a lot of sense. In the third quarter of 2016, Facebook was approaching 2 billion active users per month, while LinkedIn only had 106 million. While some people go to the latter website to find job listings, with Facebook’s new employment system, job seekers have more than enough opportunities to search.

5) Scheduling Posts

Knowing when to post is key to gaining more attention for your business page. Most people know not to post in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning. But, there are certain times of day and days of the week when posting on Facebook is more likely to have an effect. As it turns out the best times to post on Facebook are between 1pm and 4pm later into the week and on weekends.

Alongside this, you or your social media manager might have very busy lives and won’t be around on those days. Scheduling your posts on your timeline allows for more fluid content posting.

Though eventually you will have to fork out some money, Sprout has a fantastic piece of software to aid in knowing when and where to post. Of course, Facebook itself has its own scheduling system, so choose wisely. Caring about what you post and when you post it will show your audience that you’re invested in what you’re trying to say, and subsequently what you’re trying to sell.

6) Reviews

A feature that can be utilised alongside the Page Messaging is the review tab. This can can be turned on or off depending on a small business owner’s preference. Reviews can both help and hinder a Facebook page’s general appeal, with there being no ability to remove a bad review. But, at the same time positive reviews can really boost your page. Just like Page Messaging, responding to both good or bad reviews can also inform your customers about the kind of service you give.

Where reviews can be a good thing if you can guarantee you won’t receive any bad ones. Or, at least, that you can reply to without becoming confrontational. Of course, if you can show a positive, friendly and engaging side to your customers you’ll be more likely to form a stronger connection with your audience. The only instance of hiding customer’s posts is if they write on your wall. But, even then how it looks to your customers depends on how many people saw it before you removed it. Facebook does have a block feature, but that is really something to do as a last resort.

7) Analytics

Knowing how your posts are being received and what kind of connection you’re making with your followers is key to a successful social media campaign. Analytics is a large part of SEO and general website management and with small business Facebook pages, it’s no different. With Facebook’s own analytics, as well as Sprout’s own software, there’s really no reason not to keep track of your page’s likes, shares and visits. You’ll be able to see which posts worked and which didn’t and that will aid in tailoring your future posting.

Analytics make it easier, as with any kind of online engagement, to see where your content is going. It may be hard to initially break into the Facebook market. Where with Twitter it’s easier to gain followers and LinkedIn is connects to work colleagues and institutions, Facebook relies on shares and likes. Asking your friends to look at your page is one thing, but making a mark with your brand is another. Using analytics of any kind of observe your trajectory can really help hone your content in future.

Engagement is key. If followers aren’t interacting then looking at what has worked in the past is a good idea.

8) Rewards for Followers

Depending on what kind of business you run and how popular your page ends up being, rewarding the people who comment, like or share the most can be a really good way to beef up your word-of-mouth marketing. Directly referencing a customer or follower’s interactions with your page is guaranteed to make them feel special. It can show other, potential fans of your products and services just how important Facebook followers are.

Reaching out to the people who are directly responsible for keeping a Facebook page going will help continue that relationship. It also shows, overall, that you, as a business, or the business you’ve created the page for are human. Interacting with your followers means that they will see the company not just as an anonymous face. Talking on a level that customers understands will likely generate more business as a result.

Loyalty goes a long way, and using your follower base to promote your business is always the way to go. Special offers for Facebook followers, competitions and giving out prizes if the business allows for that gives you a lot of leeway to engage even more people and potential customers in the long run.

9) Commonality

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users. Of course, many companies now employ people to handle their social media accounts. The people out there who are looking for services are now more than ever likely to search online. 80% of the online population has purchased something using the internet. 50% of the online population have purchased more than once.

At 29.7% of users, adults between 25 and 34 years old are the most common age demographic. The average time spent by each person visiting Facebook is 20 minutes. Adjusting the way posts are written and what content is put out is key to succeeding on Facebook. Making sure you capture someone’s attention as soon as they click on a page makes things quite difficult. But, the fact is that there are so many Facebook users worldwide that it’s one of the best social media resources to use when wanting to expand a small business’ reach.

Even if a company’s Facebook page links to their website, that may increase traffic by itself. Engaging with followers will help a business’ organic reach. The potential for a sale is higher, but Facebook is already a fantastic tool to utilise alongside other marketing strategies.

10) Competitors Are Doing It

With millions of local business pages on Facebook expanding your horizons with social media isn’t a new phenomenon. Underestimating how useful Facebook can be to a small business can be a downfall. With all of the previous tips, you’ve hopefully got more of an idea about how to better implement strategies. Though social media encompasses a wide range of online marketing, Facebook is often overlooked. Where Twitter can generate followers quickly, Facebook is a little harder to break into. But, when you do, and if you do it right, you’ll be reaping the rewards.

For small business owners and social media managers, knowing how to grow presence for a company on Facebook is hard. Some may already have the skills to do so. Some may think they understand how to set up a profile, post some images and write about their special offers. But, it takes a combination of all of these points – and a bit more – to succeed.

So, what does it take to make it on Facebook? A lot, it seems, but when you get it right it can really boost your brand. At the end of the day, being unique and original goes a long way. Connecting with customers on a human level usually means that they want to keep coming back for more; whether it’s more products, more service, or just to chat. At the end of the day it’s all about getting your brand out there. Facebook business pages can help you achieve that goal.