Facebook online marketing strategies for small businesses

25.06.2014

Do you have an online marketing strategy? Don’t get lost in the jungle, plan your Facebook posts!

In 2012 it was announced Facebook was the world’s “third largest country” in terms of size, with one billion active users engaging with the social networking website. As of December 2013 Facebook was still the world’s most popular social networking site, with 1.15 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs), nudging out YouTube with 1 billion MAUs.

Facebook enjoyed its 10th anniversary on February 4 this year. In a statement on the day, Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

“It’s been amazing to see how all of you have used our tools to build a real community. You’ve shared the happy moments and the painful ones. You’ve started new families, and kept spread out families connected. You’ve created new services and built small businesses. You’ve helped each other in so many ways.”

Facebook is about helping, sharing and connecting. Therefore, if you are a small business owner using Facebook to promote your products and services, are you helping, sharing and connecting or just sell, sell, selling?

As Zuckerberg aptly stated, Facebook is a tool for building a community. And building a community takes time, persistence and planning.

With well over one billion MAUs on Facebook, it’s not enough just to be there. As a small business owner, you face the daily and weekly task of being present in a way that targets your audience, engages them and encourages them to stay and share your content.

Throughout the month of June, on our own GOOP Facebook business page, we have been posting tips about how small businesses can use Facebook effectively.

We urge you to plan your Facebook posts as part of an online marketing strategy (which should include blogging on your website and other potential tools such as eNewsletters). Here is a summary of our top tips for using Facebook to market your small business:

Ensure your Facebook Page is set up correctly.

Online marketing strategies, Geelong

There are (currently) six types of Facebook Pages available to choose from when you set up a new Facebook Page. You can choose from local business or place, company, organisation or institution, brand or product, artist, band or public figure, entertainment, cause or community. It’s SO important you set up your Page within the correct category so you can properly target your audience and allow them to use the applicable features (i.e. checking in if your business is primarily a place). If you think you have your Page set up incorrectly, you can edit your category in your Page’s settings.

Once your Page is set up correctly, start with a strategy and plan your Facebook posts.

If you want more interaction, you need direction. We recommend devising a simple yet clear online marketing strategy which includes a calendar of topics for your blog, eNewsletter and social media platforms. Trust us, it will help. If it doesn’t, we can help you.

Always make sure you RESPOND to followers.

Respond in a timely manner to anyone who comments on your posts or sends you an inbox message. If you manage a business Page you should check your notifications and messages at least once a day. If a client walked into your shop and asked you a question, would you ignore them? (We hope not!) So don’t ignore them online! If you need further encouragement, the more interaction your Page gets (comments) the further the reach will be. If you get a curly question you’d prefer not to answer where all can see, simply provide your businesses phone number or email address and ask them to call for more information. So long as you respond in a professional and timely manner, most people should understand not everything can be answered/organised/purchased via your Facebook Page!

Make sure you are posting relevant content!

While posting a variety of topics is great, make sure you don’t stray too far from the essence of your business. For example, if you are an electrician, it doesn’t make sense to post tips about fitness. Similarly, if you are a fitness coach it doesn’t make sense to post marketing tips for small businesses. Yet we see this type of things on business Pages all the time! Think before you post – is it relevant to your audience who are following you because of what YOU do? It all comes back to having a strategy and planning your posts.

Remember to link back to your website from time to time.

Your website is your asset and you own it – you want to drive traffic there when the opportunity presents (note: YOU are the opportunity-creator…). Depending on how active you are on your website with blogging, posting a link back to your website once a week is acceptable and once a month is ideal. Post a link to your blog or another relevant page on your website on your Facebook Page with a short description about it!

Use Facebook’s Power Editor to create call-to-action posts.

Power Editor is great for those occasional posts which really are designed to sell or promote something externally (i.e. on your website). Create a post with a specific call-to-action button, including “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Book Now”, “Download” to encourage users to take a desired action.

If you are a not-for-profit, take advantage of Facebook’s donation button app.

Online marketing strategies, Geelong
Online marketing strategies, Geelong

This is an app you have to install on your Facebook charity page, which you can customise and move into prime position. It allows users to click on the button and donate money to your cause. This can be a powerful tool if it is managed well (like anything).

Update your cover image and profile image.

Don’t let them become stale! Your profile image should be your logo, so users can easily identify your Page. Your cover image can be used for marketing purposes and can be interchangeable. We update our Facebook cover image on a monthly basis in line with our 12-month marketing strategy. However, you may want to update your cover image quarterly. Your profile image should really be your logo, so you only need to update this when you update your logo.

Make the most of branding opportunities.

Online marketing strategies, Geelong  While custom tabs such as Twitter, Instagram, Portfolio, etc. have recently moved to the left-hand side of your timeline and are less than prominent than their previous home at the top of your Page, they still present a valuable branding opportunity. Have a graphic designer design thumbnail images for your custom tabs which ties in with the rest of your branding. Make sure the designer checks the current pixel dimensions allowed by Facebook for the custom tabs, as the parameters are strict.

We specialise in helping small business owners tackle Facebook and other online marketing platforms with clear and simple strategies. Contact us to book an online marketing workshop for your small business in Geelong.