How to use a Facebook page to promote my business?
I recently opened a Facebook fan page for my business. Now I'm wondering what content should I post and how often.
Would love to learn from the community about this subject.
First, in my opinion a a Facebook page is essential for our kind of business but you should know that maintaining it is time consuming. It requires work. But don’t worry, with time you learn and grow better at it.
Remember, when you just start out you may feel a bit hopeless since you have no followers and no experience creating content. Also, you have almost no way to measure if what you’re doing is working and measuring is one of the most important parts of online marketing. You can overcome this hindrance quickly.
So let’s get to it then. I suggest a way that will take a couple of hours per week.
Let’s divide the subject into four parts:
1. Find and post content on your page.
2. Promote this content without spending money (I don’t say ‘for free’ because it requires work).
3. Create your own content.
4. Paid campaigns.
1. Find and post content on your page:
Most marketing people say that the best practice for operating a fan page is to post about once or twice per week. And that the content should comprise of 70% your own original content, 20% content from other sources and 10% promotional content.
In my opinion following this advice to the letter will not get you very far. I prefer to start by finding who my audience is and what content they respond to. Only after you can answer these two questions can you really start creating your own content, otherwise you’ll invest time and money in original that is irrelevant.
Start by defining your domain – Who are the people you want to attract, what do they do, where do they hangout, what would they find interesting etc. Unless you have a very specific niche, try not to limit yourself, rather be more general. Remember, at this point you’re just assuming. This is just a preliminary step so don’t spend too much time on it. The picture will become clearer with time and so will your domain and audience definition.
Once you’ve defined your domain, start running fast and cheap experiments in order to test your assumptions and get some feedback from the market. An easy way to do it is to search content on Facebook or google and share it on your page. In most cases, especially if you’re not an experienced content writer and if you don’t already have a community of followers yet, this will be a much faster and easier way than to write your own content. You can post twice or three times per day. Use the ‘Schedule’ feature when posting so that your posts are not all shared at the same moment.
So, this is the first part. It’ll help you get some content out there, but don’t expect engagement (likes, comments and shares) yet, just posting content, no matter how good, is not enough. The main challenge, when building a community is to distribute your content so that it reaches your target audience. This brings us to the second part.
2. Promote your content without spending money:
I think this step is crucial, if you complete it successfully you’re good to go. There are a few ways to bootstrap your page, normally they take some some time and effort so don’t give up!
It’s important for me to explain why I never start paid campaigns right off the bat – In my experience, if you start spending money on ads and promotions before you have some organic traction that you can measure and learn from, then your campaign results will almost certainly be negative. It simply takes time to learn who your audience is, how to target it and what value proposition will make relevant people click on your ads. That’s why I say that you should start out using techniques that don’t cost money, unless you have a lot of extra money to burn or if you’re bound on making Facebook/Google a richer…
The obvious first step to take, once you start posting on your page, is to invite friends and colleagues to like your page. You can also ask them to comment on your posts, like and share them. If you’re not a privacy freak you should consider adding relevant people from your industry as friends. Once you have more friends from your industry you can invite them to like your page. Inviting friends to like your page is a built in feature on Facebook, so people will forgive you for using it. There are more intrusive features on Facebook you know…
The second step is to find for pages that cover similar subjects as yours and offer them to cross promote posts. You can look up relevant businesses in your space, similar in size to yours.
The third step is using Facebook groups to reach your audience. Now, if you take this step, you should take it slow and be respectful. Each group is a community with admins that, in some cases, work hard to build and maintain the community. If you post spam you’ll probably be blocked. Anything you post should add value to the group. In groups you’ll be able to see how people react to your content, chat with them about it and even create new connections.
The fourth step is to write in other social media sites such as Quora, reddit or any other forum that is pertinent to your domain. You can answer questions and add links to your Facebook page and website. Here also, if you spam your posts will be deleted and you’ll be blocked.
The last step in this part is to create your own community. This can be a business goal by itself and I will write another post about it. Still, I do think that community building can and should work hand in hand with managing running a business in general and managing a Facebook page in particular. And facebook support it of course – You can open and manage groups on Facebook, interacting as your page. Some groups grow quickly and other take time, depending on the domain and the first members. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and if you nail it you will have an amazing asset for your business.
This process of finding interesting content to post on your page and then share it in relevant places will actually teach you a lot about your audience, value proposition and content creation. Many successful businesses and online communities started this way and as I mentioned before, be persistent, master this part and you’ll achieve your goal.
3. Create your own content:
If you went through the first two parts you should have a Facebook page, probably without many followers yet, but with an initial traction and an established idea of who your customers are and what they’re interested in. This means you have the most important ingredients needed to start creating content. It doesn’t matter if the content isn’t perfect or super professional. The important thing is to appeal to what people find interesting and informative.
There’s much more to writing content than what I’ve mentioned, I’ll go more into details in a future post.
4. Paid campaigns:
Ads, promotions and other forms of paid marketing campaigns are a channel that many people tend to use before they’re ready for it. Online marketing is a very competitive space where more businesses lose money rather than make money. So if you decide to give this channel a shot, I recommend to go into it slowly and with open eyes.
The easiest way to start promoting your page on Facebook is using the ‘Boost post’ feature. Facebook’s Ads Manager is a complicated product with many different options. Boosting posts is an entry level marketing option for page admins. Facebook has an algorithm that recommends which posts from your page you should post based on their engagement. If a post has more organic engagement than the average post on your page, Facebook will recommend to boost it in order to reach more people.
Before you boost a post or create any other kind of campaign, you should know what your goals are and how you are planning to measure them. It has to be quantifiable. For example, you may have a goal to get more potential customers sign up for your news letter or a goal to increase the number of people who sign up for your service. Then, the content you share on your Facebook page should support this goal and the post itself should have a call to action. Your campaign will be measured by how much money you spent divided into how many people have signed up. This may be referred to as Cost per acquisition (CPA).
If you spent $50 on your campaign and 5 people have signed up, then your CPA is $10.
Finding a profitable campaign – where you earn more money than you spend – requires persistency and time. So starting with a very small budget is the way to go. Learn how to target your audience, what days and hours work best and so on. Then, if a post or an ad perform well, you can increase the budget. For example, if your CPA is $10 and an average customer who signs up for your service pays $20 then you have a positive ROI (Return on investment).
You have to choose your goals according to your business’ situation. If you have a positive ROI, well then it’s a no brainer, you earn more than you spend. But what if your ROI is zero? You may want to keep that campaign to grow your customer base although you’re not turning a profit. Also, in certain situations some businesses decide to even take a loss.
The important thing is that you know what you want to achieve and have a quantifiable objective to reach. Don’t just go for ‘more page likes’, it has no meaning and will not help your business grow.
There’s a lot more to cover about online campaigns and there are a lot of pit falls. You may want to consider using the services of a marketing professional or agency. Again, this is a subject for a whole new post, but I’d say in short that, if you choose this path, then you must make sure the professional you work with gets paid only after providing quantifiable results. In most cases, unfortunately, marketing agencies pocket their customers’ money without actually moving the needle.