The Basics of Facebook
Thinking about starting a Facebook business page? Or do you have a page that hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet? You aren’t alone! A Facebook page is pretty easy to set up, but it’s a little hard to get the hang of what you’re supposed to post there. So, here are some ideas and tips that might help you get started.
1) Stalk for A While
I did this before I set up my Facebook business page, or any pages for my customers. I probably looked at hundreds of business pages over the course of a year and a half. I tried to figure out what exactly they were doing that could be of use to me and my business page. Bottom line, I needed to be sure that maintaining the page would be worth my time. Would it make me any money, in other words. So, have a look at businesses similar to yours. What do they do on their Facebook pages? Contests? Like and share promotions? Do they share fun sayings or memes? Do they post sales or new items? Do they have polls? Do they ask questions of their readership? Do they post coupons? Whatever they are doing, think about how that might pan out on your Facebook business page. Could you market your product that way? If so, give it a try for a while and see how it goes.
2) Please Keep it Positive—Be a Source of Inspiration, Humor and Encouragement
I can’t stress this enough! Remember, your followers are watching; many of them see your posts, but they can also see when you post on other Facebook business pages. Make sure that you are positive and upbeat all the time. I (used to) like a page on which the business owner would post how frustrated or disappointed she was with her vendors, her customers, herself, what a Negative Nancy! How depressing! I would rather have heard about her cool products—give me a coupon or show me something new, for heaven’s sake! Don’t tell me how awful everything is; I already know that. That’s why I was looking at her page—to forget how stressful and frustrating life can be sometimes. Instead, think of your followers when you’re reading blogs, or scrolling through your Facebook feed. If you see something you think your followers would like, share it over to your page. Don’t forget to wish them well on holidays, and take several opportunities a year to thank them for following you. You can offer Facebook fan only specials, or just say thanks every now and then.
3) How Often and How Much?
How often should you post? How much should you post? It depends upon what you sell and where you’re selling it. If you have a brick and mortar shop, I think you can get away with posting several times a week to a couple of times a day, provided that you have something relevant to say. For instance, you can invite them to stop by after work to pick up the cupcakes you just took out of the oven (of course you’ve taken a scrumptious-looking photo to show everyone how awesome they are.) You could announce that you just got something cool that everyone has been waiting for. That kind of thing. If you have an online store, I think it warrants a little less posting, simply because you don’t have the advantage of encouraging people to come into your shop and you don’t have the interaction with customers daily that would spur some good Facebook chatter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an active and interesting Facebook page. Try to think of ways to engage your followers at least on a weekly basis, beyond just posting new items that you’ve listed. As I said before, sharing content works well; as does asking questions of your followers. (What should I make next? What do you think of the new Pantone color of the season?) Try different approaches and see how your followers respond.
4) Learn How to Use Facebook Insights and Monitor Them
Facebook has statistics software that can help you figure out what posts are the most effective. They even have a service where you can compare other pages to yours. Learn how to use their software and monitor it often. When you have a promotion, make a note of how it did, in comparison to ones you’ve done before. It won’t be long before you’ll know what works for your page.
5) Try Promotions
Give Facebook promotions a try. You can do your own, or you can use a service. You can have contests, coupons, like and share competitions, drawings for prizes, and lots of other crazy stuff. Again, be on the lookout for promotions you see on the pages you like, and adapt them to your page.
6) Be Consistent
However often you decide to post, make sure that you are consistent. Try not to post daily for a month and then not post at all for three. Your followers look forward to your posts so make sure you check in with them at least once a week. You can schedule posts in Facebook, so take advantage of that feature. If you have a weekly post of some type, schedule them in advance so you don’t have to remember every week.
7) Remember, They Followed You
Your followers chose to follow your page! The want to hear what you have to say. When you write posts, think about how what you say will affect them. Again, stay upbeat and positive. Make your followers excited to hear from you. Strike a happy medium between asking them for something (look at my new stuff, or buy this cool thing) and giving them something (here’s a funny picture, I thought of you guys when I read this article.)
Facebook is new to everybody. Businesses are constantly innovating, and Facebook itself is coming up with new ways to interact with people. Bottom line, though, Facebook is a way to communicate with current and potential customers. So, give it a try!