Facebook, like it or lump it, is an increadibly powerful tool, whether you use it for business, to keep track of friends or simply to stalk your ex boyfriends. Most businesses, particularly those of the small-to-medium variety, have a Facebook page that they use to interact with their consumers in a very informal sense.
However, that doesn’t mean that starting, running and maintaining a Facebook page is easy, nor is it the same as running a personal Facebook profile. Here are the Top 10 things that I have learnt in my own expeditions managing a number of different Facebook pages for my clients.
1.The first 100 likes are the hardest
This isn’t even a joke, and its remained true even after the crackdown on engagement that we have seen with Facebook recently. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be out there targeting new customers. Every Facebook page starts the same way – as a small business owner, you begin by sharing the page with your personal contacts, and ask them to “help you out” by sharing your page with their own contacts, and try to spread your business message that way. And that’s a great start. Where it stalls, is getting over that 100 people mark.
As a general rule, once you get over 100 likes, and if you are producing content that has relevance to the kind of audience that you are speaking to, there are enough eyes on your brand that other interested parties see the information that you are producing, and will become aware of your brand. The problem you run into, is keeping your likes growing and creating more awareness about your page and your brand. That’s where the next learning comes into play.
- You should be liking and commenting as your business.
The biggest lesson in digital marketing to learn is that the whole of social media is a conversation. Its not a lecture, where you speak and everyone listens; you need to be creating dialogue. The easiest and best way to do that is to encourage others to comment on your posts, and to create conversation by commenting on other’s posts.
There are a number of ettiquettes to this. You should be contributing something a little more meaningful than “great post”. Yes, you can say “OO I wrote something similar on my own blog, check it out” – but try and include a point about whatever information it was that was missing from the original posters piece if you can. So if theres a top trick they’ve missed, include it. The whole point of this is to create a conversation that someone who DOESN’T Know about your brand might see – and see that your contributions to that conversation are valid, and thus they start to follow your page. For more on this, visit my post “How does Social Media grow my Small Business”.
Don’t spend all your time refreshing and checking your facebook feed looking for something to comment on – not only is it a time waster for you, but it might end up in you doing the below.
- Don’t comment too much.
“ But Emma, you just told us we should be commenting. What the hell?!”. Yep I hear you. I did tell you to comment – but don’t be that guy. Everyone knows the guy at a party that just uses EVERYTHING you say to turn it into a conversation (read: bragging session) about himself. So don’t be that guy. Give information and advice away for free without pushing to your own content or page. Don’t comment on the same persons posts all the time – they might take it a little personally and think that you are trying to pull their Facebook followers away from them, even if that’s not your intention. Instead of hijacking someone elses post with your pages long comment, turn it into a status update of your own or a blog post. Just don’t be that guy at the party.
- Don’t post too often.
More often than not the issue with small businesses is that they completely forget about their Facebook page at one stage or another – which completely defeats the purpose of having one. But the other cardinal sin of the Facebook page is posting too often. If you think of social media as a conversation again, if you keep talking and talking and talking about yourself, do any of your messages have any impact? Or are you just making noise? It’s the same with Facebook posts. What I have discovered as the sweet spot for posts is 1 post every 1-2 days. Vary the time of day that you post, and try and tailor it to what you’re saying. If you’re talking about dinner, then post about 4pm when people are thinking what to have. If its inspirational, aim for an early 8am or 9am post, when people are getting ready for their day. But remember your ratios…
5. The 1/3 Rule.
My favourite rule of thumb with social media is this. 1/3 of your posts should be about you. 1/3 should be about your industry. And 1/3 should be mixed content – whether that’s reposts, pop culture references, supplier posts, sponsored content etc. This is also referred to as content curation, where you are specifically tailoring posts, articles, images etc. to the kind of audience and community that you have created. The whole point of curation is that its not about your product or your business anymore – you are showing your community that you understand their lifestyle, and that your brand is aligned to similar values to those they hold. By adopting this method, you keep your posts fresh and interesting to those who are reading them, you stay on brand and you don’t become that guy at the party who is always talking about himself.
So thats Part 1 of my top lessons learn from Facebook as a small business owner and social media manager. Stay tuned for next week, when I reveal Part 2. To make sure you don’t miss any blog posts, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or hit the follow button at the top of your page. If theres anything that you have experienced that contradicts what Ive spoken about here, I would love to hear about it! Either comment on the bottom of this post, or post your comment on my Facebook page.