Facebook Business Growth

Are you interested in growing your business on Facebook?

Facebook is the world’s largest social media network with over one billion active users, it was started in 2004 and has a long pedigree in social networking terms. Over half of it’s users connect via a mobile device and further it has been ranked as the most used network service by worldwide users. So all of this suggests that you have a great opportunity for selling on the service. STOP, think about what Facebook is, a network service primarily for letting friends and family know what you are up to and what is going on in your life. People also use it to play games and disconnect from reality. Some of the big gripes about Facebook over the years have been about it’s advertising model and promoting posts into our feeds that we did not ask for. Facebook does know all there is to know about you if you have a full accurate profile, and by your activity it will learn what you like and don’t like, but my view has been and always will be ‘that I go there to wind down, not to be sold to or listen to marketing messages’. So that I am not very receptive to a sales message in this space. What I am interested in is connecting with people or businesses and finding out about them and what they have to offer as people or businesses and how that might work for me in the future or indeed how I may help them in the future. I think establishing a trust is the way forward and communicating in a two way street so that we each learn the capabilities of each other. But Facebook in its wisdom has thrown a little spanner in the works called Edge Rank.

Edge rank is best illustrated by pointing out to you that you have made many friends on Facebook over the years, your list might be 50, 100, 200 or even 1000. Think about how many of those friends actually appear on your timeline. The simple answer is they don’t all appear, the ones that you interact with are there, but the others are still friends you just don’t see anything about them because you do not connect very often. Try talking to them more and see if they start showing back in your feed. Edge rank is important because without it your timeline would be flooded with stuff that you just would not look at. So whilst it sounds harsh, secretly you probably appreciate what Facebook has done here. That being said, businesses hate it, because in many cases they have paid for advertising to increase the likes on their page and they are being constrained to not being visible in that persons feed, further with the move to a separate pages feed businesses are seeing this as an outrage that they will be out of the main feed permanently. As an individual, if I like a business I do it because I am genuinely interested in finding out about them, I don’t like because all my friends like them. In those circumstances I am more than happy to update on that business when I get the chance.

You must first understand the difference between a page and a profile, your profile is all about you as an individual, you have your own profile which mainly has what you do on it, your feed is where all of your friend’s profile activities appear and a page is something you have created as either a fan page or business. You should not have set up a business as a profile on Facebook, this is against their terms of use. The page is accessible from the left hand column, and as an owner you can comment as that page or as an individual person, so you can like the page and interact with it so that it will appear on your profile and hence appear on your friends feeds. You can tell how you are logged in on the top right corner of Facebook, either as yourself or your page. Make sure you are clear in who exactly you are representing when you comment, this one fact alone has claimed many a poor person by making a flippant comment as a business or on behalf of a customer when they thought they were using their own account. You can also highlight your page as your employer in the about section establishing credibility. You can create a business only page without having a profile on Facebook, but this option is to be discouraged, unless you have a business that will smash social media, you will find it hard to gain traction and operate effectively this account.

Next we want to look at creating an engaging page, so that people are visually interested in what you do. This starts with a great design header image. You cannot put your address here or things that encourage your audience to like you. Again this is against the terms of service and the page can be removed without notice. Bad news if you have paid for an audience, and worse if you have a highly engaged audience built through hard work. The address and company details have to go in the about section.

How then do create engagement, you can try crowd sourcing, a bit of a buzzword, but basically asking your audience for their help in answering a question or offering an opinion. Using this idea, you can create fresh ideas within your business and get your audience involved in your business making you think about it from a difference perspective to how you may perceive it. Another good technique is to introduce your employees and talk about them to the public, customers want to know who they are dealing with and this gives them the chance to connect on a different level, linking through to personal profiles is good, if your employee is happy about it, this has the exposure increasing through their timeline and again giving you a wider audience. When you stop talking about what you want to sell and start talking about the process behind selling you will be amazed at how your likes start to grow. People like to see the back room drama, the story behind a delivery or urgent job. You can talk about their accomplishments or successes, or make it about your customer’s and show them the recognition. Then talk about new products or features, do it little and often but not all the time or as a main feature, this smacks of selling when you do it too often and remember we are not on Facebook to be sold to.

The Nitty Gritty

  1. Choose a good name for your Facebook page. You want to optimise your page for maximum exposure so all the usual SEO rules apply, do not be too spammy and keep the important words to the front of your title.
  2. Create a custom page vanity URL. Once your page has got 25 likes you are able to create your own unique URL, again SEO is working here so it is vital that the URL you choose represents some part of your business.
  3. Make sure to use keywords or phrases strategically on your page throughout. Pay attention to the About section and Company Description.
  4. Do not forget to include your phone number and address, people want to get in touch, it is very frustrating trying to hunt down a contact number or address, hiding it is not a way to prevent it. It highlights problems in your business that you are trying to cut down on receiving calls. Be up front and open. Provide the information, it will help index your business for local search, remember half of the users are mobile and using local search data. Also, interestingly, Google will place higher importance on pages with specific company information, so by doing this you will increase your overall brand SEO.
  5. Backlink to your fan page on your existing channels and vice versa, establishing higher credibility.
  6. Optimise your page status updates. Try to remember to use the first 18 characters as a meta description and include direct links to your company website or supporting data is great.
  7. Add company milestones that people will want to know about you. How long have you been in business? How has your product evolved? When did you reach a new sales record? Doing this will bring your customer behind the scenes of your company giving them a way to reach out and connect with you encouraging loyalty to your brand instead of a faceless company.
  8. Make sure that your profile photo works with your cover photo. Make sure they compliment each other and do not detract. This can have a stunning appeal when you put some thought and creativity behind it.
  9. Use photos more. Try to remember when posting a status that when you include a photo (or url) you make the post shareable, otherwise it can only be liked or commented on. If your friends share it you are increasing your audience exponentially. Having images brightens up the page and makes the actual content more interesting to read, “a picture tells a thousand words”. Use your product, maybe staff shots, customers using product, or graphical images that go well with the status or theme. If you use people in the images, encourage them to tag themselves and open that audience out.
  10. Use apps for branding. You will see later that you have to use apps for competitions. Whenever an app is used it is shown upon your timeline. They can cause a buzz by opening the platform of Facebook and creating a stampede to use the app itself for it’s novelty value.
  11. Facebook pages are notorious for allowing a customer to post their public complaints on your wall, use the opportunity afforded you to reach out and connect with them and listen to what they have to say, you can improve your business if you listen, remember one mouth and two ears, make sure to use them in the appropriate proportions.
  12. Use each opportunity to reach out and connect with your customers or audience, build a database and keep current.

Why Your Page Might Be Poor

Your page might be considered poor if you engage in any of the following activity, be sure to correct it at the earliest available opportunity.

  1. No strategy for social media. What is the goal of your page? Get more likes? Increase Sales? Or increase brand awareness? You need to be clear as this will help drive how you post on your pages. Having the resources available to meet your strategy will keep you on track and not wasting time or resources unnecessarily.
  2. No current or updated status or content. If you are not current then there is no reason to visit your page. Try to post often and regularly. Regularly is my key phrase, it doesn’t matter too much what the interval is so long as you stick to it and it works for your industry.
  3. Boring content. The cardinal sin. Colour, images and imagination will get your customers responding, especially if there is a fun element involved. Ask your customers to comment or take part. Offer a video that helps your audience. Be creative, have fun. Use high quality images, not pixellated versions, try to be original.

Having done all of the above things, remember that point from the beginning “to keep it personal” there are people behind businesses, a team that get that brand up and running each day, and these are key decision makers or ways in, if you lose sight of this then you do not engage. This is the art of selling on Facebook.

Community Growth on your Page

  1. Create an offer for both free and discounted deals, most Facebook users will agree they like pages to receive coupons or offers. These offers not only increase engagement but sales as well, since the purchases might not have been made otherwise. Make sure what you offer is concurrent with your business, don’t go offering a computer if you are a cake business.
  2. Work towards a charity or cause, this will increase your engagement and bring other like minded people to your attention, this method can return a large increase in your fan base. But depends on your honest work and charitable works.
  3. Creating a fan content gate, in other words, like this to gain access to this kind of content.
  4. Standard Adverts, these are found on the right hand side of your page, their usefulness is debatable but can be effective when used with other methods.
  5. Like Adverts, similar to standard but drive traffic to increase likes which will increase your visibility.
  6. Page Post Adverts, taking your post and boosting its value by targeting specific demographics and opening your visibility to all that like you. Non fans will be encouraged to like you whilst existing fans will see a sponsored post.
  7. Sponsored Stories Adverts, can turn your interactions into advertising gold by increasing visibility.

To Round Up

Post regular engaging content, that is topical in your world or news. You can potentially newsjack current events, but be cautious that you don’t take advantage of misfortune. By doing this you can be engaging new customers and gather significant media coverage to your cause.

Make sure you use photo or graphical images to increase engagement, the statistics are too high not to. 44% of users are more likely to engage with a picture. On average engagement without an image is 10 likes and 10 comments, whereas with an image 100 likes and 43 comments.

Use expressive content to demonstrate your philosophy that shows your company in a good light. Together with clever use of target specific content. Watch for the type of content that people engage on, this is where you want to be.

When you have done the above or put them into practise you will start to see your engagement go up. This is very satisfying indeed. Remember it is far better to have 10 engaged customers than 1000 who are not interested in you at all. When you have gathered these connections, think about ways to drive them offline to establish a personal relationship that you can add to your address book. Sales made on this basis will come back for repeat business making your Facebook proposition worthwhile.

I hope this piece has been helpful and shows you why you should be doing things in a logical way. If you have particular stories of note on Facebook, then we would love to hear them. If you feel comfortable, also get some great social media tips from our Google + community called Beginners Social Media.


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