Nearly 161 million people in the US and Canada alone use Facebook on a daily basis, and usage hits close to one billion worldwide. If you’re ready to tap into even a fraction of these numbers to grow your business, read below for some great tips on using Facebook effectively:
1) Have a Facebook page just for your company
Not to be confused with a profile, a page is for posts about news and information related to the business while keeping your personal profile separate and private. Customers looking for your company can find it easily when they search Facebook.
2) Respond to posts
If a customer posts a question, compliment or complaint, be sure to respond – and effectively – within 24 hours. People like to know their issues are being dealt with not only in a timely manner but also that someone in the company is actually dealing their concerns. Considering people are used to dealing with the alternative – calling customer service and the potentially ridiculous maze of menu options – answering posts puts the brand at a real advantage because it means an employee of the company took the time to look at the page and handle issues in real time.
3) Post pictures or article about related interests
There’s a potential to land clients or increase business based on talking about related interests. If a health-food company owner loves to go rock-climbing, adding a picture of his latest climb will allow him to reveal a more personal side without sacrificing privacy. Everyone wins and it has the added possibility of attracting new customers and cementing current ones.
4) Post when it’s appropriate for your audience, not when statistics tell you to
AdWeek and FastCompany.com list conflicting advice for the best time to post to Facebook: AdWeek suggest Thursdays and Fridays, with 1 pm and 3 pm as optimal times for clicking and sharing. Fast Company, on the other hand, seems to suggest weekdays between 1 pm and 4 pm, with Wednesday at 3 pm as prime for posting. Both suggest avoiding weekends. Some of this might not make sense if, say, if the business is a nightclub, bar/restaurant or an art-related field. When you target a specific audience, they’ll check the page when it’s convenient for them and that’s the statistic to pay attention to. People can tell when you’re aiming for clicks or shares and are likely to be turned off by a lack of sincerity and an attitude of simply wanting to increase numbers. To this end, Facebook offers Page Insights, which tracks likes, reach, shares, visits and even breaks down the audience by age, gender and language, as well as which type of posts are popular. All these will help you make smarter, more informed decisions about what to post and when.
5) Engage your audience
If you’re debating a new ice cream flavor or want to know what customers think of that new version of organic cotton yoga pants, ask them! Facebook is a great forum for picking customers’ brains and discovering their wants and needs. People also love to feel like they are part of the process and contribute their ideas and input, and knowing that a company takes an active interest in a consumer’s thoughts is another great way to gain new clients and keep current ones.
6) Create targeted ads
Facebook has a great, paid “targeted ad” feature that allows you to create an ad filtered by any number of demographics so you can be ultra-precise about who sees the ad: age, location, interests, education level, language, gender, friends and their connections, to name a few. An “Audience Definition” barometer on the right-hand side indicates the ad’s potential reach across Facebook users as you move through each filter.