Facebook Marketing: Using It to Grow Your Business

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Facebook is the #1 social media platform used by businesses. In fact, according to eMarketer, 41% of US small businesses now use Facebook as part of their online marketing strategy.

Yet, despite its widespread usage, many business owners report that their efforts aren’t as effective as they would like. In a survey of over 3,700 marketers, Social Media Examiner found that only 45% felt their efforts on Facebook were working.

This underlines the need for business owners to understand which strategies and practices are worth the effort. Especially, in terms of ROI. This article will break down the major components of Facebook marketing. Within it, you’ll receive actionable advice and best practices. Components up dor discussion are:

  • Optimizing your Facebook page for SEO and likes
  • Using Facebook groups to engage with your target market
  • Encouraging social sharing through the use of Facebook buttons and plugins
  • Getting your posts seen by more of your fans
  • When and how often to post
  • Using paid options to increase likes and reach
  • Best practices for Facebook ads

Optimizing Your Facebook Page For SEO And Likes

Your Facebook page is the starting point for all your Facebook marketing efforts. Ideally, you should be ranking well in Google and Facebook searches. This allows customers and prospects to find you easily. Once they find your page, it should be appealing enough that they’ll ‘like’ you. The following best practices will help you optimize your page for both of these purposes.

Choose a descriptive and memorable username:

Sometimes called a vanity URL, your Facebook page username is the web address for your page (e.g., www.facebook.com/yourbusiness). By default, your page will be given a random URL comprised of numbers. Your username should accurately convey the topic of your page or your full business name. This is important so that search engines and customers can find you via Google and Facebook. You must have at least 25 ‘likes’ in order to claim a vanity URL.

Use descriptive keywords in your about section:

Your about section is the primary text for your page. Accurately, describe your business and products. Use keywords customers might use in search queries. Be sure to include your website URL in your description, too. This will encourage clicks through to your site.

Ensure you’ve used the appropriate category for your business:

Too often, businesses improperly set their category. This can be a serious problem, particularly if you want to show up in Facebook Graph Search. If you’re a local business, it’s critical that you select this business type. The local business category allows people to “check in” at your business. If you don’t have walk-in traffic or a need for check-ins, choose ‘Companies & Organizations’ instead.

Optimize your page images:

Your cover and profile photos are what visitors see when arriving at your page. Your images should be of professional quality. Make sure that images accurately reflect the look and feel of your brand. Take care to see that they meet the size requirements, so they don’t appear skewed. Your cover photo should be 851×315 pixels and your profile photo should be 160×160 pixels.

Make the most of pinned posts:

Research and experience tells us that most people visit a page wall only once. They will like your page, and then continue to interact with your posts that appear in their newsfeed – but will rarely (if ever) visit your wall. For this reason, your page’s primary function is to get people to click the ‘like’ button. Facebook allows page admins to pin one post to the top of their page. The topic of this post should be interesting, unique, and contain an eye-catching image.

Using Facebook Groups To Engage With Your Target Market

When used correctly, groups act as incredible sources of traffic. Owning or participating in an active group can lead to increased engagement and credibility for your business.

By participating in other people’s industry-related groups, you’ll establish yourself as an authority in your field. Offering useful advice and tips will help you become a valued member of the group. As people grow to trust you, they’ll find out more about you (and your business).

Perhaps the most beneficial use of groups; however, is to create and participate in your own interest-related groups.

They also allow you to become a part of your target market’s day-to-day conversations. Create a group that welcomes conversations about anything related to your industry. For instance, if you’re a contractor, you could start a group where people could ask questions about or discuss home renovations or DIY building projects.

Encouraging Social Sharing Through The Use Of Facebook Buttons And Plugins

Your website and Facebook page should work together. Your marketing funnel will often work on moving traffic from your Facebook page to your website or blog. You’ll also want to make sure you give your website visitors a way to like and share your content on Facebook.

Ensure each piece of content on your site has a like and share button. You can add these manually, or you can use a third party service like Add This. There are plenty of plugins to help you customize and add buttons easily.

To give your website visitors the chance to like and interact with your page, install the page plugin in the sidebar of your site. When setting up the plugin, you’ll be given options regarding how you want it to look.

Getting Your Posts Seen By More Of Your Fans

A common complaint among page owners is that many of their fans don’t actually see their posts. Facebook has addressed this concern, stating that falling reach is the result of two main factors:

  1. The results hinge on the sheer amount of content being shared each day. There is simply not enough room in users’ news feeds to show every single post. This makes the competition for placement in users’ feeds fierce. Additionally, it creates a decrease in exposure for organic posts.
  2. Facebook’s algorithm is designed to show the most relevant content to users. Relevancy is determined by thousands of factors. Think about how a person has interacted with your posts in the past (likes, comments, shares). What types of posts are being shared (image, video, link, etc.)? The more popular your posts are, the more often they’ll be shown in users’ feeds.

To give yourself the best chance of making it into your fans’ feeds, use the following strategies for your organic posts:

Use videos as part of your posting strategy.

According to research, videos now lead in terms of organic reach. Between October 2014 and February 2015, videos received organic reach of 8.71%, compared to a reach of 5.77% for text-only status.

Regularly consult your page Insights to see what types of content are resonating with your audience.

Your page insights contain a wealth of data on what types of content are getting engagement with your audience. See which post formats are getting the most traction (photos, videos, links, text-only posts), as well as which topics excite your audience. Also, pay attention to which days and times, as well as posting frequency, seem to work best with your fans.

When posting promotional content, be sure to include a relevant and engaging backstory for optimal reach.

In late 2014, Facebook announced that they would be limiting the reach of posts they found “too promotional.” These are posts that push people to buy a product or enter a contest. It also includes reused content from ads.

To give your promotional posts the best chance of being seen, make sure you provide engaging content – not just a plea to buy your product or visit your website. Ask yourself, “Will my fans find this post interesting enough to read it, even if they don’t want to buy my product?”

When And How Often To Post

Some business owners may get hung up on posting at the perfect time, on the perfect day. The truth is:  there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Research has been conducted on optimal posting time and frequency, but these findings are best used as a starting point for your own research. Consult your Facebook Insights to see whether these best practices hold true for your audience.

Some research has suggested that posting on Thursdays and Fridays may result in higher engagement. Optimal posting times seem to vary considerably, however 1pm and 3pm seem to be good places to start your testing.

Some businesses have success posting 5-10 times per day. For others, once per day (or even 3x/week) is more appropriate. Social Bakers found that 5-10 posts per week is ideal: “Typically, posting fewer than 2 posts a week will not engage your audience enough to maintain a social connection. You will lose engagement. If you post more than 2 times per day (as a brand), you may also lose engagement. This means that the ideal number is between 5 – 10 posts per week as a brand. If you’re a media company, the numbers are 4 – 10 times higher, as news [is] information people engage with all day long.”

Using Paid Options To Increase Likes And Reach

While it is possible to experience decent reach for your posts using free strategies, supplementing with paid options isn’t a bad idea. Facebook currently offers two ways to expand the reach of your posts.

Post boosts:

Boosting a post will increase its visibility in users’ newsfeeds. Have your post shown to your fans, friends of your fans, or others you select through targeting. Targeting options for your posts include interests, age, gender, and location. To boost a post, simply click on ‘Boost’ when creating a new post. This setting is on old posts, too, if you want to boost a post that’s already been published.

Boosting posts is a quick, easy way to extend the reach of your posts.

Promoted posts:

Promote posts via your Facebook Ads Manager. To begin, go to Facebook’s Ad Creator and click on ‘Boost’ your posts. Note:  while this is still called ‘Boosting’, you have more targeting and budgeting options than you would using ‘Boost’ from your page.