Wondering why your Small Business Facebook Page doesn’t seem to work for you? Or if you even need one? These are some of the most common marketing questions we answer.
This post offers 7 good reasons to have a Facebook page; the 7 critical skills you’ll need to cultivate (or outsource); the 11 management basics that apply to a Facebook Page, PLUS:
Some set-up hacks & a detailed checklist of post topic ideas for your Facebook Page!
But do you NEED a Facebook Page?
Not all businesses do (¹). However, if you fall in any of the categories listed below, you need to seriously consider setting up a Facebook Business Page.
Remember, it doesn’t matter whether YOU like Facebook or not, it matters that your target market does! As at Jan 2018, on average 1.37 billion people use Facebook actively each day (²). If you fall in a category below, you need a Facebook Business Page:
1 ~ Your business is Visually Important
If your product or service is highly visual in nature, e.g. a travel destination, food product, architecture etc – photos will transfer benefit better than a thousand words literally could.
2 ~ Your Target Market = Individuals
If you market to individuals you seriously need to consider a Facebook Business Page. Like it or not, the majority of individuals use social media to relax and connect, at the very least. If your Facebook marketing is appropriate and sensitive, your audience will be MORE receptive to what you have to offer while they are scrolling through their feed in a relaxed, open-minded manner.
If nothing else, your page will add brand awareness to your existing community and you can tightly target via cost-per-click campaigns.
Oh, and don’t forget the powerful leverage effect (e.g. the new Word of Mouth) of social media!
3 ~ You already have an Offline Audience
If you already have an offline audience, i.e. a list of clients who already support you or have enquired about your products/services, it will be easier to connect with them via Facebook.
You can even upload your database of names and e-mail addresses to Facebook and use Facebook (paid) marketing to reach your clients there.
This way, you can ensure that your brand stays top of mind for people who already know about you.
Additionally, your Facebook Business Page becomes an important communication tool to an existing audience – one more place for them to find out about specials, deadlines, awards or a change in terms.
4 ~ You ARE your Brand
If your business is primarily driven by a human individual (definitely when you are a sole proprietor or small family-run business), it is difficult to separate your brand and you as a person. In this instance, your customers are dealing with YOU, after all.
In this case, you can humanize yourself through social media and by interacting person-to-person with other individuals.
5 ~ Your business is Controversial
If your business is controversial enough to attract social media arguments already elsewhere, you CANNOT AFFORD to not draw the fight to you where you hold the higher ground!
Again, social media tends to humanize an organisation, which also makes it harder for people to blindly attack.
This point is particularly relevant if you typically market in a business-to-business (B2B) manner but where individuals are opposing you or what you are doing, e.g. where political or environmental groups or plain nasty competitors, are waging war on you via Social Media.
You have no choice but to meet your detractors where they are already arguing against you. And if this is on Facebook, well, get there… FAST.
6 ~ Competitors use Facebook effectively
Get going if it is clear that your competitors are using Facebook in an effective manner, especially if you offer a solution to something often needed by your community.
Try to figure out how and why your competitors are using it before you decide, e.g. they may be using it to get to know their target market better on a very direct and personal level or do market research on how new products or services would be received (shouldn’t you?)
7 ~ You want to improve SEO
If you have a major goal to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your website, consider Facebook as an important cog in the wheel of your integrated Digital Marketing Engine.
Facebook provides unique opportunities to drive targeted traffic through to your website.
Facebook Page set-up hacks:
Ideally, you’ll make use of an expert to set up your Facebook Business Page. If not, please consider the following shortcuts to a professional page:
- Make sure your cover photo is formatted correctly (851 x 315 pixels and with no more than 20% text) and it should be a powerful image that tells the story of what you do.
- Make use of custom tabs (e.g. Services); remove unnecessary tabs and sequence tabs logically for your audience.
- Consider a pinned post if appropriate, e.g. handling your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) or perhaps the rules of engagement if your page is likely to be controversial.
- You can use a vanity URL to make it easier for visitors to identify you
- Use highlighted posts or featured likes if appropriate.
- Use Event posts.
Skills to manage a Facebook Page:
Setting up a Small Business Facebook Business Page is NOT an insurmountable, mind-crashing event. If you cannot figure it out, a consultant should be able to do it for you in a couple days – once you have provided them with your target market, your Ideal Customer, your strategy, your Unique Selling Points, your Logo and some high quality images.
Running a Small Business Facebook Page on an ongoing basis ALSO need not be a hectic and time-consuming business. You can pre-plan and pre-post during a set time slot each week, and with limited ongoing management, engage with your audience meaningfully.
You will, however, need to have (or employ, or outsource) these skills:
1 ~ Keep it Simple
The KISS principle is critical in the successful breaking down of your communication strategy into simple, punchy Sound Bytes.
Connect your messages to your audience’s capacity for information and their ever-present need to know what’s in it for them.
Do a brainstorming session to determine all key communication messages your audience/s need to receive (see below for a checklist to jog your creativity). For each, try and break it down further into short, punchy Sound Bytes that will make up the theme. Each Sound Byte will be a post and will either target all or a particular sub-group of customers.
2 ~ Know your Non-Sales Goals
If someone isn’t ready to buy your product right now, can you still sell them on joining your mailing list? Or to do your visitor’s tour? Or to view your educational video?
Be clear on brand building, audience building and other intermediate goals that may ultimately bring you sales, even if not directly via Facebook.
3 ~ Post Crafting
It can be time-consuming to craft appropriate, eye-catching and strategically relevant posts.
Most of all, you need the insight to understand the touch-points between your business offering and your client needs. This helps you to pick the topics and to level them appropriately (see point on Sound Bytes above).
You may need access to a great store of photos, or a camera to take your own, plus an editing tool such as Photoshop (Elements version will work for the vast majority of small businesses).
You may need to learn how to write effective copy to accompany your photos. In general, less is more.
Finally, everything you do needs to tie in with your brand, archetype, ethos and tone.
All in all, not a natural talent for most small business owners or non-Facebook specialist employees… but a skill that can be learned with the help of a consultant, course or posts such as this one.
4 ~ Stay Calm
It is imperative that you are able to always engage with your audience in a level-headed, non-emotive manner.
Take nothing personally and never attack the person, although you have to counter a faulty point of view, factually.
5 ~ Let your Enemies help you Grow
Never fear your detractors – your enemies will follow your Page to try and stay ahead of you and in so doing, will inadvertently help you to grow your audience. For once, USE them to positive effect 😉
6 ~ Resilience and Stickability
Understand that only a small percentage of your audience will see any post, so don’t get disheartened as you grow your page.
Remember, an intermediate goal of your business is to grow your audience and it tends to pick up speed and create groundswell over time – like a seed needing to germinate through concrete or a train engine needing to build momentum, it can feel like your efforts are for nought.
Be patient and trust the process. Your posts don’t need to go viral (though a few good posts will surprise you in their reach, often relating to unexpected topics). You need to stick to posting and engaging consistently.
7 ~ The Facebook Paid Marketing Abyss
Once your page is up and running and you have taken it as far as you can with the standard (free) tools and techniques, you will know instinctively when it is time to start using Facebook paid marketing for critical posts or pages.
This is a science and not for the faint-hearted, but with knowledge, you should be able to get the best out of your marketing budget. You will need to learn this skill, or outsource this aspect to a trusted social media marketer.
You may have to use tools like the Facebook Pixel to have your Facebook page come up for people who recently visited your website, if your competitors do.
You may get extra mileage out of your newsletter subscription database by marketing your Facebook page to them and including them in your social media audience.
Please just don’t, I repeat DON’T, try to run a Facebook campaign yourself without doing a course or getting guidance first – you will be throwing money down a deep, dark hole.
Page Management Basics:
1 ~ Invite, invite, invite
Ensure you invite your friends, family, employees, suppliers and key clients to like the page (Facebook provides an easy, built-in tool where you simply click “invite” next to your friends’ names).
Also ask the key persons from the above group to ask their connections to like the page, once they’ve liked it (they will then have access to the one-click “invite” gizmo too).
Simply asking is often overlooked and can bring rapid early growth.
2 ~ Keep your Page Active
Post frequency varies between industries, though the general rule of thumb is to post at least once per business day; and more often just before your peak periods. Keep your better posts for when you know YOUR market is most active (if you market to other small businesses, mid-week posts may perform better).
Really, please don’t call us to ask us to help with your Facebook Page if you last posted on it a couple months ago!
If you are not going to keep an active page, you are better off not having one at all – else it looks like your business is dead or worse, that you are trying to hide something by not engaging – your business reputation will suffer.
3 ~ Save time with Pre-scheduling
To make you more time effective, and more likely to stay on top of your Facebook marketing, set aside a time slot each week to craft and schedule posts.
You can pre-schedule all your posts for the week, remember to follow up on likes and comments every day though.
4 ~ Link through to your Website
Have as many posts as possible link through to the appropriate web page on your website.
Not only because you want to keep your posts short and punchy and meaningful – and so provide more meat on the appropriate page on your website, but also because the website is really where all your answers should be, all the time, for anyone to find, when they want to.
If it’s important enough, your audience should not have to passively wait around for you to post something about it, but should be able to Google or go to your website and find the answer. So keep your website the key, important and “master” source of information and answers.
It should be self-evident that this also boosts traffic to your website and especially if people DO find the info hinted at in your post, could do a lot for your organic SEO.
5 ~ Stay Actively Engaged
Check your post engagement at least twice a day (e.g. lunch time and end of day).
People who liked your posts may not have yet liked your PAGE – then click on the “Invite” button that will come up next to their names to invite them to like your Page – if you do this SOON after they liked a post, they are more likely to like your Page too.
Like and/or respond to ALL comments made on your posts – this creates valuable conversations and also makes your posts more likely to show in news feeds.
6 ~ Monitor and Respond to Messages
Monitor Messages sent to your page – they are often valuable enquiries that you want to respond to asap.
Either way, it provides the opportunity for a valuable person-to-person conversation – the ultimate in making your brand human and accessible.
7 ~ Like your own Posts
It may feel odd to you, but a day after posting, go and like your own post – first as your page, then later in your personal name – this helps to show your posts in more news feeds (the alternative is to pay for more exposure, so why not first exhaust the free option?)
8 ~ Do What Works
Take note of the kind of posts and days that got most interest, and then apply the observed winning formula for better success in future.
If you use paid marketing you can get deep into the statistical post analytics to determine the most successful posts.
9 ~ Invite Reviews
It should be a standard step in your sales cycle after a client has used your product / service, to send an invitation to ask them to review you. You can consider phrasing it as a favour, and make it easy by providing the link on your Facebook page where they can do it.
Draw fire away from review sites, e.g. if you run a resort, wouldn’t you rather handle a complaint on your own forum rather than on Tripadvisor? If you truly listen and respond to a complaint on your own Facebook Page, you can often avert a more global PR disaster.
10 ~ Don’t crash into the Sales Wall
Facebook should not be seen as a major sales channel; it is first and foremost a community-building tool, a place to grow and engage with your digital audience.
Still. If you do have something to sell right now (from a product/service, to a subscription or tour of your facilities), be sure to use a clear call to action and sell and close as you would in any sales cycle.
11 ~ Cross Promote
Be sure to include your Facebook Page address in your e-mail signature, on your business card, on your website, on other social media channels where appropriate and in your newsletters.
What to post on my Facebook Page?
We are always surprised at how business owners get “writer’s block” when it comes to dreaming up Facebook posts. As an entrepreneur your instinct should be to constantly scan for ways to get what you offer in front of the people who will benefit from it.
You are working and multi-tasking like a demon… – and you have nothing to share about what it is you are busy with?
You are dealing with the same questions, or complaints, over and over and you wonder what to post?
This is a simple case of small business owners not seeing themselves as communicators or “PR” experts and it is a switch that can easily be flicked.
If you can hold a conversation with your significant other about the activities, breakthroughs and challenges of your workday, you ARE a natural communicator. Just take one step over the threshold into understanding that your wider audience also wants to know what you are up to, and how you can serve them.
A broad post topic idea checklist:
- The number one rule to keep in mind constantly is to consider that your audience wants to know “what’s in it for me“. Also see the topic above for how to break down messages into Sound Bytes.
- Punt a web page. Have at least one really punchy post a week to generate traffic on your website. It could be a “did you know?” style post, or a “Wanna see who you are speaking to? Meet our team here..” type post. If you have a very comprehensive or new website, you can also do little educational posts illustrating where to find what.
- Post about your Unique Selling Points and your business values that make you stand out from the crowd. A good idea is to have a series of posters designed, with a USP theme a week, where the look and feel is consistent so that viewers recognise it as a special series and look forward to the next “installment”.
- Constantly scan for topics of interest to your audience. If you see a post come across your own feed that would be appropriate and helpful to your audience, share it, or craft your own version of it.
- Teach and share insights. This is always applicable, e.g. if you are a shoulder surgeon you can only operate on so many yourself! But you can share useful rehab exercises, symptoms of the most common shoulder problems, preventative dietary and exercise advice and more. If you run a Guesthouse, you can offer a Packing Checklist, a link to the current year’s school holidays, a calendar of events and festivals in your area etc. Aim to add value to your community!
- Customer Service via a FAQ post (you may even make it the pinned post at the top of your page. Keep is short and include links to the appropriate website page for more detailed information.
- Look for special applications for your products, e.g. xmas gifts / packages; unusual uses; alternative packaging. E.g. a self-catering creating a Honeymoon Package to help sell mid-week nights.
- Look for ways to make your products / desirable action immediately desirable; e.g. if you sell venison, post a yummy recipe with a mouth-watering photo PLUS a link where an order can be placed right away. If you have a Small Business Success Quiz, offer a free course to anyone who completes it now.
- Do an operational scan of your business: any new equipment / processes / policies / people that may excite or be important to your audience? Even just posting a happy pic of your fire extinguishers being serviced sends so many positive messages to your clientele, all at once!
- Scan the press / internet for articles related to your industry, product or clients. E.g. if you run a high school, the latest research on helicopter parenting or dealing with teenage anxiety can really help to build a loyal followership. Look for articles in the press about the benefits / popularity of your products and services.
- Have you won a great new client? Brag about it and give your client some social media juice at the same time – win-win!
- Stay alert to any posts about your own company or service / product on social media to allow you to re-post or respond appropriately.
- Post photos of the people involved: who are the decision-makers in your business? How can you make them human and personable? What is special about the chef working in your restaurant? Who has won any industry awards or qualified in a new skill?
- Post photos of the places and processes involved: e.g. what does your desk look like where you take client calls? Where and how is the topsoil management done in your mining operation? Where are your guest breakfasts prepared? What does a room in your school’s hostel look like?
- Create posts around your supply or delivery chains. If you offer health supplements, where are the herbs grown? How are they kept cool during transport? Why do you use opaque packaging? Post pics of the bushveld farm on which your meat is sourced, and the squeaky clean plant where it’s processed. Post a thank you to a supplier that always serves you well, e.g. an IT support place.
- Consider your eco-friendly “green” footprint as clients increasingly care about this aspect: do you have rain-water tanks or solar panels at your business? Do you recycle?
- Look at other Facebook pages in your industry for inspiration.
- Post Testimonials you receive from happy customers (remember to always ask for feedback!)
- Do you have anything juicy in your or your business’ history to share? People enjoy old photos, an anecdote of how it used to work before digital photography etc.
- Post news about any products or services, e.g. A new use for Magnesium supplementation? A growth in popularity of virtual assistants?
- Post about any accolades or awards your business or staff may have won, e.g. a Tripadvisor award? 100% pass rate at your school?
- Post newsworthy events: e.g. did your company just win a legal battle? Did you just buy a new truck for your furniture removal business?
- Promote any specials you are running – yip, you guessed it, with a link through to the appropriate page on your website.
- Look at your calendar: are there festivals to promote in relation to what you offer?
- Invitations: to visit you in person; to do your mine tour; to attend a webinar on an appropriate topic you’ll offer.
- Events: if you run a course, will speak at a conference, offer an open day etc. schedule an Event post.
- VIDEO! A simple PR video can significantly affect your audience growth and followership stickiness. Live video is well disseminated by Facebook and is likely to become even more popular from 2018 onwards.
- Look for Shoulder Niches, e.g. if you sell fertisiliser, people who are keen vegetable gardeners may want to read your “tips for better cucumbers” posts. If you sell biltong, people who like rugby or who are looking for healthy snacks for a road trip may love your snack-packs. If you truly understand the significance of Shoulder Niches, you will immediately see how you cost-per-click marketing can benefit hugely while saving marketing spend 😉
- True PR requirements should immediately send you scurrying to Facebook. I remember a transformer burning out, rendering us without power, just before a holiday when my resort was fully booked. Despite aging me by a hundred years, we did not lose a single guest, nor did we attract any bad press as a result. Why? We pro-actively communicated with our guests and found a way to make it fun for them to be part of the solution. We showed each step as we were fighting tooth and nail to resolve the problem. We offered guests alternative accommodation or the ability to move their stay or be refunded – BEFORE they could complain.
In conclusion, your Facebook Business Page is your FRIEND in business.
This remains true despite Facebook’s announcement of 11 January 2018 (³) that will make it even harder for small business pages to create organic reach. Why? Because if you follow all the above advice and authentically connect to your community and learn what it takes, there will always be space for your brand on social media.
You do aim to add value after all, don’t you?
If you have any questions, please comment or chat to me directly now…
1 – https://www.adomasbaltagalvis.com/2015/10/18/7-reasons-you-should-not-create-a-facebook-business-page/
2 – https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/
3 – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/307505
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Author: Ronel Pieterse
Ronel has spent 24 years in the corporate world (finance, banking, mining, manufacturing and agriculture) and has also started 5 small businesses herself over the past 20 years. Four of these are still operational today in one form or another. Ronel's passion is to use her considerable skills in spheres of business and IT to help other small business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to the next level and to attain sustainable competitive advantage in the process. View all posts by Ronel Pieterse