Let’s get real people: to be effective with internet marketing today, you need more than just a website. Stats from my last blog “Can Social Media Grow My Business?” prove social media is an indispensable part of today’s internet marketing mix that can direct traffic to your website and generate new leads.
With so many social networking sites out there, it may seem impossible to choose the best social networking site(s) to maintain a presence. Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites (based on number of users) and for most companies (not all) creating a Facebook page is a good place to start.
Not so fast
Before your company makes its Facebook debut, be prepared to do some in-depth research and planning…we certainly do. Act like a PR pro and start your Facebook journey by performing a social media audit, which includes:
1.) Questioning whether or not Facebook is the best social networking site to reach your audience.
2.) Reviewing competitors’ pages and taking inventory of what worked and what didn’t.
3.) Analyzing existing content that can be repurposed and reused, and brainstorming future content ideas and topics that will effectively engage your audience.
4.) Determining what company members will monitor and maintain the page.
Social media is an indispensable part of today’s internet marketing mix that can direct traffic to your website and generate new leads.
Keep the content coming
So you’ve created a Facebook page, now what? To network your business on Facebook (or any other social media site), always remember that “Content is King.” If you’re not committed to consistently creating unique content that will enhance fan engagement, then you’re wasting your time. You should make it a top priority to stock your page full of creative, educational materials and offers that will entice Facebookers to revisit your page time and time again. Creating a monthly editorial calendar is a good way to strategically plan and organize the content you want to promote on your page.
On average, you should expect to spend at least four hours a week or more nurturing your company’s Facebook page. Not sure how to spend your time on Facebook? Take a look at some of my Facebook best practices below to learn how to increase your business using Facebook.
Facebook Best Practice #1: Think of your company’s Facebook page as an online newspaper. Like any online publication, keep it current and post regularly (at least 3-5 times per week). Create posts that matter to customers and keep them involved like:
- Commenting on the latest news articles in the industry and asking for feedback. Did you like Sunday’s story that a local reporter covered about your industry? Give a short description on why you liked the story, link to the article, tag the publication (give credit where it’s due), and ask your audience what they think.
- ALWAYS using photos. We are visually drawn beings who often prefer to look rather read. For example: if you’re opening a new store, create a photo album that chronicles all the moving parts of how your store got its start.
- Giving exclusives or sneak peeks at company news or products. If you’re unveiling a new product, menu item or renovating your store, let your inner circle of Facebook fans know about it first. Customers love being in the know, so make them feel like they heard it on Facebook first.
- Creating deals, discounts and business contests for customers who interact with your page. Customers are naturally what’s-in-it-for-me driven. If they know you’ll be hosting monthly trivia contests or featuring a new discounted menu item each week, they’re likely to return to your page.
- Getting fan feedback through surveys and questions. Customers like to know that their opinion matters. Give them a chance to be heard and show them you’re listening through surveys and questions on which they can weigh in.
Note: just because you publish a wall post, doesn’t necessarily mean it will show up in your fans’ news feeds. Read the four factors that Facebook uses to determine what shows up.
Facebook Best Practice #2: Create a captivating cover photo and consider changing the photo every quarter to show new products, initiatives, incentives, etc. Facebook has an updated cover photo policy that you should read before you create your page photo.
Facebook Best Practice #3: Explore and take advantage of free Facebook apps. Cross promote content from your other social media and review sites with free apps like YouTube, Twitter, Yelp and more. Other free apps we’ve used and enjoy using for clients:
- Menutab allows restaurants to upload entire menus.
- Contact Me for lead generation or contest submissions.
- Causes for promoting awareness or supporting a company cause.
- Pagemodo to spruce up your cover photo and welcome page, and create custom tabs for your page.
- Social RSS to add your blog/favorite RSS feeds to your wall and more.
Facebook Best Practice #4: Display social media buttons in the header or footer of your website. Encourage website visitors to navigate to your Facebook page and other social network sites by making your company’s social media buttons visible on every page of your site.
Facebook Best Practice #5: Use free social media dashboards, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to curate and schedule social media content across multiple platforms.
Facebook Best Practice #6: Measure engagement not likes. So, what if you have 2,500 followers…how many times have you liked a page and NEVER gone back to it? Focus on the number below your cover photo, known as the number of people ‘talking about’ your page. Monitor this number and the Facebook Insight page to get a good idea of how well your content is performing. Click here to learn more about Facebook Insight.
#InsideNEWS: Facebook is working to incorporate the hashtag as a way to group conversations much like Twitter. It hasn’t launched yet, but if you’re using a social media dashboard, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to curate content across multiple platforms, start using hashtags for Facebook.
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t fret (worrying causes wrinkles). Although, the Bradford Group knows a thing or two about anti-aging treatments (client shout out to Nashville Centre for Laser and Facial Surgery), we know even more about how to increase your business by creating and maintaining killer social media campaigns.
So, stop aging prematurely, and let us do the social media driving. This list is by no means all inclusive (I could talk all day about best practices for Facebook). And if you want to learn more about social media, download our FREE social media guide by clicking the button on the right hand column or give me a call to talk about the ridiculously awesome social media work our team could be doing for your company.
Stay tuned for my next blog that will give you tips and best practices for creating buzz on Twitter.