Monday, 22 July 2013

How To Get The Most Out Of Facebook For Your Business

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Setting up a Facebook page is quick and easy, especially considering how beneficial one can be to your business. However, to get the most out of Facebook, your business’ page, profile and presence on the social media site needs to be correctly managed and maintained.

Here are five categories you should consider when managing and maintaining your business’ Facebook presence:
1. What to Post

The Basics:

Post pictures, videos, questions and facts related to your business, or that you think will engage your audience.

Post pictures and videos that excite and amuse or that your page’s viewers will find instantly recognisable. Why not post pictures celebrating special days like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, but with your company’s own special twist? For example, biscuit manufacturers Oreo sculpt pictures emblematic of certain holidays and anniversaries out of the cream in their cookies.
If your company is running a multimedia advertising campaign, post images and videos on Facebook to coincide with your billboard, magazine and television adverts.

Be an Industry Leader:

Ask your fans questions or post facts related to you and your company’s field of expertise. Post links to articles that you think your fans, followers and customers will find interesting, with pictures that will catch the attention of those who view your Facebook page – Facebook lets you post links and pictures at the same time. Cement your position as an expert in your field and your company’s position as an industry leader with the relevant and interesting information you post.

Ask your Fans:

Ask your fans for their input in certain company decisions, like what your mascot should be called, what new flavour of ice cream your frozen goods company should sell, or what your retail company’s new range of clothes should be called. Plush soft toy company Squishable gained over 700,000 likes on their Facebook page by asking their fans to vote for which creatures should be made into cuddly companions.

Promoted Posts:

Whatever you post will show up in your fans’ News Feeds – those who have liked your page – and the better the quality of posts, the more likely it is that people will like your page. Facebook users spend an average of 40% of their time scrolling through the News Feed, so having your posts appear there ensures that your fans will see them.

If your page has more than 400 likes, you can pay to promote your posts. Promoting posts moves them higher in the News Feed so that the people you shared it with are likely to see it. According to Facebook:

You can promote any post you share from your News Feed, profile or Page, including status updates, photos, videos, questions and offers. You can also promote and share posts from friends and people you follow.

Any post you promote will be labelled “Sponsored by” and then your business’ name.

Celebrate Milestones:



Milestones are special page posts that take up the entire width of the timeline rather than just one side of the timeline. Add them to your page to mark special dates in your company’s history, such as when the company was founded or when you moved to new offices.

You can post pictures alongside milestones to better illustrate their significance. When your company does something special, record it with a milestone on your Facebook page.

Conclusions:

According to Facebook’s business page, successful posts are:

Short: Posts between 100 and 250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments and shares

Visual: Photo albums, pictures and videos get 180%, 120%, and 100% more engagement respectively

Optimised: Page Insights help you learn things such as what times people engage most with your content so you can post during those hours.

Post regularly, about once or twice a week, but make sure you don’t bombard your fans with information: if their News Feed is inundated with your posts they will get sick of hearing about your company and “unlike” your page.

Bear in mind that many of the users who have liked your page have done so because they are interested in the product or services you provide (unless they are friends, employees and colleagues, although they might like your company regardless) so make sure you provide enough information about your company on your page and in your posts.

2. Engaging with Fans and Followers

Responding to Comments:


You don’t need to respond to all the comments on your Facebook page, but answering questions and liking a few statements will make your fans feel like their opinions matter. If managed right, your page will act more like a forum for people to talk about your products and your posts amongst themselves.

Reward your favourite comments, not just by liking them, but by illustrating them and reposting them as a picture. This will further ingratiate your company to your fans and will help you highlight positive feedback about your company.

Unfortunately, there will be a few people who take advantage of the popularity of your page by posting back-linked comments. It is not worth the time or effort to constantly comb through comments to delete the few that are unrelated to your company, your fans are intelligent enough to work out which ones to avoid by themselves.

Promotions, Competitions and Contests:

Facebook has very strict guidelines for companies who want to run promotions on the site and, if you stray outside them, you run the risk of having your company’s Facebook page deleted.

Promotions, however, are one of the most successful ways to attract more fans onto your page. The problem is, you can’t use any of the features on your page to run the promotion.

All Facebook promotions need to be run through a third-party application, such as Google’s wildfire. You can’t use any of the features on your company’s page – the comments section, the photos, the events tab, the like button, etcetera – to run your Facebook promotions.

What you are allowed to do on your company’s Facebook page is advertise the promotion. However, make sure that at no point are you requiring users to “like” your page if they want to enter the contest or contacting winners and entrants on your page. It is advisable to include a disclaimer with any material related to promotions on your Facebook page, saying that in no way is Facebook itself involved.


Keeping Facebook’s stringent policies in mind, running a successful Facebook promotion is easy and often extremely beneficial: according to ExactTarget, 40% of Facebook users become fans to take advantage of promotions.

Here are a few ways to ensure your promotion's success:

Make sure it’s free and easy to enter.
Offer prizes for the winners that are related to your company’s products or service.
Decide what sort of Facebook competition you want to run. There are four basic types: sweepstakes, essay, photo and video. The last three take a lot of time, but will potentially provide your page and followers with some quality content. Sweepstakes are an easier way to engage with fans and get their information.
Collect emails: one of the greatest benefits of running a promotion on Facebook is that you can collect all the names and email addresses of the entrants, making it a great way to reach more potential fans outside of the site.
Advertise the contest everywhere you can: your website, on Twitter, in a Facebook ad, for example.
Make sure the third-party app you use is flexible, competitively priced, has mobile capabilities and can be embedded on both Facebook and your website.

Post on the Pages of Other Companies:

Businesses with smaller followings on Facebook can leverage the networks of businesses with more followers in order to increase their own fanbase.

Post on the pages of competitors and experts in your industry. Comment on their posts or the posts of their fans and followers with related information and links to your own Facebook page or website.

If you comment on the pages of other businesses, their followers who have commented in the same thread are instantly notified, drawing their attention to you.

Even if a follower hasn’t commented on a thread that you comment on, they may see it on the page. If they appreciate what you write, they may click the “like” button, which will show up in their activity for their friends to see, or they may even follow you.



Offers:

If you are a page administrator, you can pay to run offers on your page, which will reach those who have liked your page and even their friends.

Offers will appear on your page and in your fans News Feed. When your fans claim the offer, it will show up in the News Feeds of their friends, who can claim the offer in turn.

Offer something that your fans will want, like a discount on a new product or a free trial. if more people claim the offer then more people will see it.

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the greatest tools in a business’ arsenal: according to Facebook, businesses typically receive a 3x higher return on investment when fans refer friends.

Rewards:

You could also reward your fans exclusive benefits for liking your page.

Say you are a chocolatiers releasing new flavours of one of most popular snack bars: why not give your Facebook fans the chance to taste them first.

You shouldn’t only be trying to get new fans to like your page: you should be thanking those who have liked your page already. Customer retention is the basis of growth and rewarding your customers is one of the best ways to do this.

Conclusions:

Always stay active on Facebook: posting comments, replying to your fans, constantly networking and connecting.

Make sure that the quality of your response is high and that you post information relevant to the thread – don’t be mistaken for a spammer!

Give your fans something they want, so they will keep returning to your page and also refer their friends to your business.

3. Marketing and Advertising

Creating adverts:

Creating adverts on Facebook is perhaps the best way to get people to like your page and buy your products from Facebook: according to Facebook, people who like a company’s page will spend an average on 2 times more than someone unconnected.

Facebook gives businesses three options at the start, asking whether they want to:

Get More Page Likes: Reach people who aren’t connected to your Page yet. You’ll be asked to design your advert including headline, body text and image

Promote Page Posts: Promote a specific post; giving you increased reach and increasing your chance of placement in the News Feed

Advanced Options: See all creative and bidding options in one place. You can toggle your bidding options between CPM and CPC.

Creating a good advert is like creating a good post: you need to ensure that the picture and the text is just right, catching the eye of the viewer and then telling them exactly what the advert is all about.



Targeting:

Businesses are then given options on who they want to target with their adverts, with categories such as gender, age, interests, location, connections and marital status.

Make sure you target your adverts to the right audience. For example, if you are advertising a new people carrier, the ad should pop up on the pages of parents rather than the pages of single teens.

There is even an “advanced targeting” targeting option to narrow the boundaries even further.

Paying for and Scheduling Adverts:

After you’ve named your advert (make sure its something easy to remember in case you plan on making a few) you will be asked to set a budget for your advert.

You will never pay more than your budget, but you may pay less. What you’re paying for is impressions (clicks-per-minute), the more impressions, the more of your budget the advert will cost. However, impressions prove that people are seeing and clicking on your advert, increasing the chance of a sale.

You can adjust payment options, however, by clicking “advanced options” in the goals section.

Make sure you schedule your adverts for an appropriate length of time. Facebook allows businesses to schedule their adverts to start on a certain date and end on a certain date.

Schedule your adverts to be seen at the best possible time. For example, if you are advertising for the January sales, schedule your adverts to start after Christmas and end at the start of February.

Running Multiple Adverts:


If you are unsure of your best audience (and you have the money) you can run more than one advert targeted at different audiences to determine which audience is best.

If you are running more than one advert, Facebook will optimise your adverts automatically:

When multiple adverts are running in a campaign, we'll automatically allocate more of your daily budget to higher performing adverts so it's important to put your adverts in different campaigns when you're testing them.

Change things subtly to fine tune your advert. Facebook make it easy with the “create a similar advert” option.

CPC and CPM:

Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Impression are used to monitor Facebook advertising’s ROI. Here are the figures for the average CPC (also sometimes called PPC) and CPM (also sometimes called CPI) in the twelve most expensive countries, as measured by socialbakers.com:



As you can see, the price of Facebook advertising in the UK is relatively cheap CPC-wise, compared to Australia and the United States, but is equal to the latter for CPM. Canada and Germany are cheaper still: Canada’s CPC is $0.41 and there CPM is $0.09, while Germany’s CPC is $0.37 and ther CPM is $0.08.

Coordinate your Adverts with Third Parties:

You can coordinate with third party services to run adverts on Facebook based on traffic to your website or people who have bought your products online or in-store.

Target customers who may not have liked you on Facebook but have been in your store with offers and adverts for new products.

Sponsored Stories:

Sponsored stories are Facebook’s brilliant feature which highlights the comments of fans, allowing companies to pay for them to appear in the News Feeds of people who are friends with the commenter.

Sponsored stories are optimised to reach the highest number of people through word-of-mouth advertising, promoting businesses through the words of people that the viewer trusts.

Conclusions:

Make sure that what your advert is offering something that your targeted audience will see and will want. Drive traffic from adverts to the relevant websites. You could advertise an offer or a coupon to drive more traffic onto your main site.

Chinese restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s ran a three-week Facebook ads campaign which offered coupons to reward their customers.

The restaurant chain also used sponsored stories, it’s Facebook page, its website and other social media sites to drive traffic into their restaurants'.

The campaign reached 9.1 million people and grew P.F. Chang’s Facebook fanbase by more then 100% to 420,000.

Facebook ads and sponsored stories are costly, but effective. If you have money to spend on advertising then Facebook is an economical outlet, allowing you to promote your business to a wide but targeted audience.

For more advice on running Facebook ads, click here.

4. Monitor and Analyse

Monitor you Page:

It’s simple really: keep an eye on your number of fans by counting how many likes you have. You can count how many of these likes are coming from your adverts and sponsored stories in the “actions” section of the Adverts Manager page.

Make sure you monitor the comments on your page, deleting anything that is inappropriate or too irrelevant. As I said before, you can delete all the spam and back-linked comments if you want, but checking through them is not very time-effective.

Adverts Manager:

From the Adverts Manager page, you can view various statistics and analytics to do with your adverts. Here isFacebook’s list:

Actions: The number of Page likes, app installs, and event joins that come from your adverts.
Reports: In-depth performance and demographic information to understand how your campaigns are doing over time. Run News Feed reports to optimise adverts being shown in News Feed.
Inline Reporting: Your bid and price for each advert or sponsored story, advert previews and a summary of your targeting and performance.
Key metrics: Info on the size and engagement of your audience to help you monitor the success of your campaigns.
Audience graph: How much of your target audience your campaign is reaching compared to how much it could reach. If you find you’re not reaching enough of your target audience, try raising your bid or budget.
Response graph: Track the performance of your campaign by clicks and actions over time.

With all these analytics at your fingertips, you can optimise your adverts and your page to get the most out of Facebook.

Conclusions:

Always keep abreast of how your adverts and your page is doing. Adjust and optimize your adverts according to their success. Make the most of your budget. You can spend as much or as little as you want, its up to you to make it count.

5. Manage

Manage your Posts:

As well as monitoring the comments of your fans, you should monitor the success of your own posts on your business’ Facebook page.

If a post isn’t getting any likes or comments, delete it. Posts that don’t get you any interaction are just taking up space on your page.

Manage your IFrames:



IFrames are the interactive images at the top of your page beneath the cover photo in which you can put links to your photos, old polls, apps, campaigns or even display how many likes your page has.

Your first two iframes should contain your photos and how many likes you have. The rest should be constantly updated to stay relevant to your company’s activity on Facebook at the time: what competitions you’re running, for example.

Stay Abreast of Facebook’s Updates:

Last year, Facebook introduced the new timeline view for pages, providing businesses with a new challenge and a new opportunity to make their pages original and interesting.

Since then, Facebook has already started testing a new page design, introducing it to New Zealand last month.

Facebook has also announced one of their most important features to date this year: Facebook Graph Search.

Facebook Graph Search has numerous applications that could help your business: Graph Search has a huge amount of quality data about Facebook users that could help businesses target new customers or find potential employees.

Facebook’s news feed is also getting a facelift. In the proposed redesign, more space will be taken up by a content and image-laden home page, with the stories, notications and advertising within the news feed taking prominence.

Facebook is updating its service frequently. Make sure you keep an eye on news blogs and websites like this one so you can take advantage of all the features Facebook develops.

Stay Mobile:

Mobile is the future of social media marketing. It is, of course, not the only future, so don’t spend all your time streamlining your social media for mobile users.

It is a good idea, however, to make as many of your adverts and apps as you can mobile friendly. For example, if you own a clothes shop and you are advertising a sale, you want to be able to target customers who are already shopping near your store. Customers who are already shopping will be using their phones.

In November last year, Facebook Mobile hit 488 million monthly active users. Try to ensure that every single one can access you businesses Facebook apps.

Conclusions:

Keeping your business page up-to-date, not just the content you post but the posts you delete, is of vital importance.

Your fans won’t want to come to your page unless the content is changing frequently, giving them something interesting and new to look at and potentially share.

Stay current by utilising Facebook’s frequent updates to the advantage of your business, whether on desktop or mobile devices.

How do you get the best out of your business’ Facebook page?