Oct 14, 2014

Facebook for Small Business in 10 Easy Steps

There are 13.5 million Facebook users in Australia, and 9.5 million of them check Facebook daily. There are a little over 2 million businesses in Australia, and 96% of those are classified as small businesses.

Some businesses are doing a really great job in talking to those 13.5 million Aussies on Facebook, but others still haven’t started.

If you’re in the second category, here’s a simple guide to implementing Facebook for your small business, including strategy, set up, content, and measuring your results.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read): If you’re a small business, you should be on Facebook.

EXAMPLE: Throughout this post, we’ll be using the fictional Sam’s Pet Care in Malvern as an example business.

1. Set up a strategy

It’s important to have a goal for using Facebook. It could be brand awareness, building online sales or driving people in-store. Make this goal measurable: have 1000 likes in six months’ time; increase sales via Facebook referrals by 5% in three months’ time; get 300 Facebook check-ins by July.

Once you have your goal, work out how to achieve it. Focus on your customer, and what they want. Look at how you’re going to make them care about your company – remember, they’re not generally on Facebook to be advertised to – they’re trying to keep up with friends.

What, and when, are you going to post? What’s important or unique to your brand? Once you’ve worked that out, keep it top of mind for every Facebook post.

TL;DR: Decide on measurable goals.

EXAMPLE: Sam’s Pet Care wants to increase online sales via Facebook by 10% in six months’ time.

2. Set up your page

Create a Facebook page, and fill in as much of the information as you can, as directed by Facebook. Add the category (so your business will show up in search results), description, website link, and choose a vanity URL (Facebook web address) for your business.

Include your profile picture (a clear logo is best), and add a cover photo (here’s a good guide to dimensions) that really showcases your business.

Like the page yourself, and share it. Invite your friends to support you by liking your page. Send out an email blast to your business contacts letting them know that you’re on Facebook.

Add the Facebook plugins to your business website – this will enable people to like your Facebook page directly from your site.

TL;DR: Create your page, and fill out all the information.


Create your Facebook page, and fill out all the information

3. Create posts

Brandon McCormick, Facebook’s communications director, says “Keeping the posts relevant to the kind of business that you have is really important.”

Research has shown that images get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click throughs than a text-only post, so find pictures that are relevant to your business, and post away.

Decide on a “voice”, and stick to it. You’re looking for a tone and a way of speaking that should be in sync with the sort of business you are – if you’re a corporate, your tone should be corporate; a one-person tradesman – be yourself. Be unique, consistent, and authentic.

When linking from particular Facebook posts, ensure the URL is going to the right page on your site – don’t just send everyone to the home page, or they won’t know what to look for and may get frustrated with your posts.

Look at how often your competitors are posting, and check out the sort of engagement they are getting from that (check out Step 9. Pages to Watch). This can give you a good idea of how often you should be posting. For now, aim for one post a day. Vary the times and types of content and see which get the most comments, likes, and reach.

When you’re talking about someone else (like another business in the area, or giving a shout-out to a customer), remember to use Facebook’s @ feature. This will then post the content to the other person’s page as well, and create a sort of backlink. And if there are any relevant hashtags that are trending as popular topics, use them.

People will often use Facebook as a customer service tool, so make sure that you respond – not replying can mean bad reviews and negative word-of-mouth. If you don’t know the answer straight away, tell the customer that you’re looking into it, and get back to them as soon as possible.

A final caveat – people aren’t on Facebook for you to sell to them 24/7. Find a way of posting information that’s relevant to your business, but isn’t pushing your products. Creating helpful articles or posting tips, testimonials, behind-the-scenes photos or videos, are all needed to engage the customer and give them a broader view of your business (and to keep you top of mind).

TL;DR: Post content that’s relevant to your business without the hard-sell.


Sam's Pet Care

4. Get local

Providing local content is a great way for an offline business to increase foot traffic or generate leads.

Make sure that your page is set up as a ‘local business’, and include your address details, phone number and trading hours – Facebook highlights all this information when people are looking at a business page.

Promote a ‘walk-in’ offer, where people who mention the Facebook page get 10% off. Connect your Facebook page with your physical location by using photos (like the cover photo) that showcase your shopfront.

If you’re using Facebook Ads, make sure that you geotarget your ads so that you’re only targeting people within the local area – you don’t want to be paying for ads served up to people in a different state.

Talk about your location – is there anything going on in your area that the locals would know of? Think local parks, farmer’s markets, town fairs, sporting grounds, school holiday programs.

TL;DR: Attract local customers with local content and offers.


Attract local customers with local content and offers

5. Tell people about your page!

Alert your ‘real-life’ customers to your Facebook page so they can ‘like’ you and take advantage of your offers and news. Put a sign on your door or window with your Facebook address; add the Facebook link to your email newsletters; include it on your business stationery, like business cards and letterheads; if you run events, include the Facebook link on physical banners.

TL;DR: Promote your page offline.


Promote your page offline

6. Ratings and Reviews

Adding ratings and reviews to your page creates a great channel for customers to get in touch with you, and it also means that potential customers can see the great work that you’ve done for people in the past. It creates an element of trustworthiness, and particularly if your reviewers are within the same community, it is similar to word-of-mouth referrals.

When customers write reviews, this is also added to their timeline, meaning that their friends can see what they’ve written, giving your business exposure.

This will also allow people to check-in to your place of business. If someone checks in, it will appear in their friends' news feeds, alerting them to the fact that your customer (their friend) is there. This is basically a free form of promotion.

You can incentivise check-ins by offering products or discounts in-store – for example, a café may offer free Wi-Fi on check in, or a gym may offer a free bottle of water with check-in.

TL;DR: Set your page up for reviews, ratings, and check-ins.


Set your page up for reviews, ratings, and check-ins

7. Facebook offers

Once your page is a bit more established, and you have 50 likes, you can create Facebook Offers. These are posts that come up on people’s news feeds with a Get Offer button. People can then claim it by clicking the button. You’ll be able to keep track of how successful the offer is by the number of claims, and using Facebook Insights.

Once your offer is set up, you can also promote it (like an ad) so it reaches people that do not currently like your page. You can set a budget for the offer that increases its reach.

The offer needs to be good – the better the discount or deal, the higher the take-up rate. You could promote discounts or even free offers (such as ebooks or whitepapers).

Some research has suggested that offering highly-exclusive deals (e.g. two free meals for two) at random times (but always once a month) will entice customers to keep an eye on your page. Keep the terms and conditions to a minimum, set an expiry date to create a sense of urgency, and remember that images have a better engagement rate.

TL;DR: Facebook Offers are a great way to build your page and promote your products.


Facebook Offers are a great way to build your page and promote your products

8. Facebook Insights

Once 30 people have liked your page, you can start looking at your analytics. Facebook Insights is a tool you can use to analyse how your page is performing.

To access it, go to your page, then click Insights from the top. You’ll see metrics on your page’s performance such as likes, comments, and reach, and you can see when your audience is on Facebook (so you’ll know when you’re likely to reach more people).

If you don’t want to dive down too deeply into the statistics, just watch the Overview page – this shows you Page Likes, Post Reach, and Engagement. Likes is the number of people who like your Page, and New Page Likes show the number of people who liked your page over the last seven days, compared with the previous period.

Reach is the people who have seen your page’s content – this is your customers, and if they’ve engaged with your posts, then the number of their friends who have seen your content as well. If you’re advertising, it will also include the number of people who have seen your ads.

You can also see your five most recent posts and get an idea of which ones have created the most engagement (likes/comments/shares). This can give you suggestions on what you should be doing more of. Lastly, you’ll see the Pages to Watch section, where you can add competitors’ pages (see Step 9).

TL;DR: Use Facebook Insights to monitor your Page’s performance.


Use Facebook Insights to monitor your Page's performance

9. Pages to Watch

You can set up Pages to Watch in Insights if 100 people like your page. This is a great way to get a feel for what your competitors are doing. You can see the number of people that like their page, the number of times the Page posted, its engagement, and the percentage increase or decrease of total likes.

In doing this, you can see your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses; when they’re posting, and what sort of engagement they’re getting from those times; as well as the types of posts that are most successful (is it images? Links to news articles? Their blog posts?). You can also get a feel for what isn’t working at all. In measuring all of these, it can inform your own posting.

One way to get a view on who Google thinks your competitors are is to search "related:www.yourbusinessname.com.au". The results will be websites related to yours (according to the search engine). You’ll be able to find their Facebook pages from their websites.

TL;DR: Add competitors as Pages to Watch in Insights.


Add competitors as Pages to Watch in Insights

10. Negative Posts

At some point, it’s likely there will be negative feedback on your Facebook page. Here are some best practice tips for dealing with them.

1. Monitor your page. You need to have an eye on it every day, even if it’s just to check it from a customer service standpoint. You run the risk of a negative review being front-and-centre (and unanswered) for however long you’re not listening to your customers.

2. Reply to the message. People often think that no one is listening to their complaints, so acknowledging that you’ve seen what they’re saying is a great start. Then begin the process of improving the way they view your company by engaging with them to resolve their complaint.

3. If you feel that you can’t resolve it on Facebook, ask the customer to private message their number through and call them. Sometimes it’s best (particularly if it’s technical or a private issue) to take it offline.

4. If you’re in the wrong, apologise. If they need a replacement or a refund, deal with it on the spot. Use your general company policies on this to help you decide how to handle the issues.

5. Some people will simply be ‘trolling’, or making trouble for their own amusement. If you’re sure that someone is trolling, good policy is to (just once) respond that their message is untruthful and incorrect (so that others can see that you’ve seen it and responded), then ignore the person from then on.

TL;DR: Acknowledge, apologise, and resolve.


Acknowledge, apologise, and resolve if you receive negative feedback

If you need help with your social strategy, or anything else related to your business online, bwired can help. Contact us for solutions.

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