Facebook has roughly 1.11 billion users making it a perfect neighborhood to include as part of your inbound marketing strategy to sift for new members of your target market. Using Facebook for business is not as simple as slapping up a Page and blasting out sales messages or even just friendly chatter. As with any aspect of your business, success requires planning, an understanding of the platform and a clear grasp on best practices. Those finding the most success from it in terms of actually generating more business or contributing to measurable business goals use it as part of an inbound marketing plan rather than expecting it to function this way on its own.
Set Goals And Objectives
Remember, Facebook is not about selling. It’s about engagement (with a little selling on the side). If you want to sell, sell, sell then Social Media is not the best place for you. For the most success a Facebook business Page should be part of an overall plan aimed at taking people to your website and eventually converting them to sales leads. Achieving this requires you to build relationships with your target market and generate leads to nurture into customers. The overall strategy for this synchronized effort is called inbound marketing.
Know The Jargon
EdgeRank, profile, page, negative feedback, reach... Are you stumped yet? As with any industry, Facebook has its own jargon. Understanding what each term means in the Facebook world will help you navigate your way around.
Page - Pages represent entities such as your business, a sports team, public figure or non-profit organization. Both profiles (individual people) and other Pages (other public figures, businesses, etc.) can "like" your page, but only profile likes (those coming from individual people) count towards your total likes.
Likes & Likers - Awkward wording, this used to be fans. It is people who opt to "follow" you by clicking the "like" button on your Page, inviting you to have your status updates (messages & content that you post) show up in their timeline. People can also "like" individual posts and comments on your Page. Helpful, since you can get a feel for what the people want and then generate more of it. Remember, one of the main goals of inbound marketing is to attract a target audience to your content, get them to your website and deeper into your sales funnel so you can nurture them into sales leads.
Profiles – Profiles are for individual people and should not be used to represent a business. It's actually against Facebook policy for businesses to use a profile page and it can result in the account being suspended so don't make this mistake (you have probably seen other businesses do it, maybe even right now but don't take the chance of losing all the efforts you will invest in building an audience, it's not worth it). Besides policy, profiles just don't have the type of functionality a Page has to meet business needs. Profiles can like Pages. They can also connect with other profiles by Friending them and the connection is more personal since more information is shared between the two parties.
EdgeRank – EdgeRank determines if your status updates show up in the NewsFeed of people who "like" your Page. Facebook uses an undisclosed formula to measure the value of your posts’ called EdgeRank. The formula is based on three factors: Affinity (your relationship with the potential viewer), weight (photos, videos and statuses all have different weights), and time decay (how old a post is). This scoring system determines how much exposure Facebook will give your posts in terms of presenting it in your audiences' feed. Something that gets a lot of interaction (comments, likes and shares) is more likely to have a higher EdgeRank so that more people have an opportunity to see the post. The purpose is to help elevate the more appealing and engaging content - which gives incentive to put some thought and creativity into your posting strategy.
Reach – Reach indicates the number of people who actually see your Facebook posts. This number can be found on the Page’s dashboard in the Insights section. Think of it as being similar to Google analytics, it helps you see how you're doing in terms of generating content that people enjoy. If these figures are growing, you're on the right track, if they are declining or staying low you need to analyze what you're sharing and make some changes. Inbound marketing involves a lot of trial and error and this is one aspect of it.
Engage Your Audience
Value First – Make sure you are providing valuable, relevant content to your target audience. 80/20 is the best rule of thumb. 80 percent value-add content and 20 percent promotional content. This represents a place where some businesses struggle to overcome the past, offline marketing habit of constantly touting their sales pitches.
Comment Responses – The goal is to start a conversation and engage a target market (also grow and create one). When someone comments on your page, they are reaching out to you. It demonstrates some interest in what you have to share. What’s better for a profit margin than a target market that reaches out to the business? This is an important part of inbound marketing success.
Use Your Real Estate
Quality Cover Photo – Your cover photo is your prime Facebook real estate. Do not let it go to waste. Use an engaging Facebook cover photo that clearly communicates what valuable product or service your business provides. These days it is now possible to include links so it is perfect for inbound marketing strategy which involves the use of calls to action that take people further into your sales funnel. You can treat it like a landing page including a strong call to action!
About - fill out this section completely, making sure your website link is in the early portion so it will appear just under your cover photo. Filling out these sections can be tedious but don't waste the opportunity to inform someone about your business. Someone who takes the trouble to click into this field to read all of it is likely very interested in what you have to offer.
Keep Up With The Latest Trends
Facebook, like the rest of Social Media, is constantly changing. Today’s current best practices may not even be available tomorrow. To maximize your business Page’s effectiveness and get the best ROI on your investment, stay up to date with the latest Facebook trends. Consider following Facebook’s business pages such as Facebook for Business and the Facebook Blog.
Here are instructions for creating your Facebook page. Download our guide for more tips on social media for business!