In the present social media era, everything is shared online, from food to pets to major life events. Facebook has revolutionized digital networking-- people log into Facebook not only to share what’s happening in their lives, but what they desire in their lives.
When Facebook boasted 1.23 billion active monthly users in 2013, businesses realized that reaching their target audience through Facebook could be a game-changer. But the question remains: is it right for your business? Would Facebook actually help you grow your brand?
Short Answer: Yes. Check out the neat infographic in the Search Engine Journal article “Every Business Should Use Facebook” or see the stats below:
- 700 million daily users
- 150 billion connections
- 25% of Facebook users checking their accounts five or more times per day
- More than 645 million views on local business Facebook pages and over 13 million comments in an average week
- 33% of millennial consumers say they're more likely to buy from a company if it has a Facebook page
Sounds like it's time to get your business on Facebook-- so let's get down to how to actually implement it.
The prospects can be overwhelming, so we’re here to walk you through the basics: creating a business page and taking steps toward getting it noticed. The first step is to create your own personal Facebook account, if you don't have one already. Keep in mind you can’t create a Facebook page if you don’t have a personal account. So, here’s how to get started!
How to Create a Facebook Page
Step 1: Go to Facebook.com
Once you're there, you’ll see a ‘Sign Up’ button on the upper left corner of the page beside the Facebook logo. Click ‘Sign Up’.
Again, you need to have a personal account in order to manage your Facebook page. You can change the privacy settings later so that no else sees your personal account if you're just looking to market your business page.
Step 2: Create a Facebook Account
After clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button, fill out the form. Once you’ve signed up and logged in to your personal account you'll be able to create your business page. Don’t worry, even though the page will be tied up with your personal account, Facebook doesn’t allow the public to see the page admin's information.
Step 3: Create a Facebook Business Page
From your desktop profile, select the Menu button in the upper-right corner. Under the "Create" column, select "Page." Enter your page's name (typically your business name), a category that best describes your business (e.g., restaurant, consulting agency, etc.), and a short bio.
Step 4: Fill Out Business Details
Now, fill out the form with the basic details of your business, read the Facebook Pages Terms and check ‘I agree’, and click the ‘Get Started’ button.
Step 5: Fill Out Additional Details
You’ll be redirected to another form where you'll provide additional details about your business. Although it has a ‘Skip’ option, it’s a good idea to fill out these details to make your business page appear more professional.
When you choose your business category, more specific subcategories will come up-- choose the one that best applies to your business. Don’t forget to fill out all the other details such as the description of your business, and your business website – if you have one.
Creating a unique Facebook address (URL) is also important! A branded URL will makes it easier for people to find your page. Remember that you can only change it once after this, so make sure to double-check. It’s a good idea to use your business name and to keep it consistent with all your online usernames (consistent branding).
For instance, our Facebook page address is www.facebook.com/startupsavant. And yes, we would love for you to ‘like’ our page!
Sure, it can take some time to fill in all this stuff, but the more specific it is, the better. Think of each little data-point as an opportunity to optimize your page so it's easier for you to use, quicker for others to find, and better for your marketing.
Step 6: Upload Logo or Business Photo
Next, upload a profile picture for your business. We highly recommend using your business logo. If you don’t already have one, check out Fiverr or 99designs.
Don’t think that this little detail is inconsequential! Don’t just throw any random picture in there. Use a high-quality image and remember it’s not something that should change too much over time-- ideally, this is your logo. You can refer to the Sizes & Dimensions page to make sure it’s properly sized.
Step 7: Beef Up Your Facebook Page
Now it’s time to beef up your page! Start by adding a cover photo. Click ‘Add a Cover’ and choose a photo that best reflects your business. Remember to use a high-quality, visually appealing photo.
Your photo must at least be 399 pixels (standard is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high). If it's any larger you’ll be able to reposition it to fit the space provided. Also, Facebook has a rule stating that your cover photo mustn’t be more than 20% text, so check it before uploading using PostPlanner.com.
Step 8: Post Your First Update (Content)
Post something like a status message, photo, video, etc., to help your page get more ‘likes’. Content is key when it comes to getting people engaged. There’s a ton of educational content on this subject, but if you’re a total beginner we recommend taking a look at the article “What Should I Post on Social Media?” by the Marketing Twins.
Don’t go nuts-- strategy is the most important thing in social media marketing. It can be hard to carve out a niche and get noticed, but if you keep your content consistently engaging, useful and targeted at specific groups, you’ll grow steadily over time.
Step 9: Ensure All Business Info Is Complete
Update your page information. You’ll see this option as you scroll up the page, on the upper right side. Updating your information builds credibility and helps your audience get better acquainted with your brand.
There are so many data points, and if you're in the initial startup phase you might actually find out some things about your business you didn't know before through this process. For instance, have you thought about your general business category? Have you ironed out simple things like hours of operation? Do you know your targeted audience? You get the idea-- be thorough!
Step 10: Invite Friends and Family
Now that you have some posts up on your page, you can begin building your audience by emailing your contacts and asking them to ‘like’ it. Keep in mind that people go to business pages for content, so your page needs to be informative and visually appealing before you invite people to it.
Facebook will also ask if you want to pay to promote your page to get some more ‘likes’. You may want to wait until you have a better grasp on Facebook, and maybe a social media marketing strategy, before you spend any money on advertising. We suggest holding off on an ad campaign for now.
Congratulations! You’ve officially set up a Facebook page for your business!
Maintaining Your Facebook Business Page
Before we even dip our toes into the subject of social media management, you should understand that managing a serious Facebook page can become a full-time job. It requires a good publishing strategy, consistent updating, and monitoring and engaging with relevant content. That’s why so many companies outsource and hire social media managers.
Dig a little deeper and understand some of the terms and differences between your personal account and your business Facebook page.
Your Facebook page needs an administrator. The admin is the one responsible for posting content, engaging your audience, and creating the buzz needed for your page. Whoever creates the page is an admin by default, but you can add as many as you need, and assign them various roles.
Remember to be cautious here-- don’t hand administrative control to just anyone. Think about the horrific possibilities… What if you give admin to someone you end up firing, and they go on Facebook and begin raising hell? What if someone sends the wrong content to the wrong people?
A thousand things can go wrong, many of which could reflect negatively on your brand. Make sure you keep tabs on your admins and maintain control of what they can/cannot do. That said, here’s an outline of the roles you can assign on your business page:
- Manager: Can manage admin roles, send messages and create posts on the page, see which admin created a post or comment, create ads, and view insights.
- Content Creator: Can edit the page, send messages and create posts on the page, see which admin created a post or comment, create ads, and view insights. The content creator cannot manage admin roles.
- Moderator: Can respond to and delete comments on the page, send messages from the page, see which admin created a post or comment, create ads, and view insights.
- Advertiser: Can see which admin created a post or comment, create ads and view insights.
- Insights Analyst: Can see which admin created a post or comment and view insights.
Facebook Insights is a collection of statistics about your page’s performance over time. It allows page admins to measure the effectiveness of the page and posts-- in other words, whether or not people like what you’re posting. It’ll also provide data about your audience: who likes the page, their gender, their age, where they’re from, the language they speak, etc.
This data is important for your marketing strategy so you know when to change it up if something isn’t working. Your ‘page likes’ show how many people liked and un-liked your page, your ‘post reach’ shows the number of people who saw your posts, and your ‘engagement’ shows the actions that help you reach more people.
If you want to get more likes and engage with more people, you can promote your page to your target audience. Facebook allows you to budget your page promotions and choose how many days you’d like to run your advertisements (or if you want them running continuously).
Now that we know the why and the what, it’s time to answer the how. How will you use Facebook to market your business? Again, strategy is critical-- you can’t just put anything and everything on your company's Facebook page. It has to deliver effective, engaging content to your audience.
Facebook Marketing Tips
1. Identify Your Audience
By now you should know who your market is-- but if you’re a new business that doesn’t yet, this should be the first item on your list. To start diving into the subject, we recommend reading the Inc.com article “How to Define Your Target Market.”
Once you have your market in mind, get an estimation of their digital shopping habits and other online behavior. How often do they log in to Facebook? What time of the day do they usually get online? Once you know this information, you’ll have a better idea of what and when to post on your Facebook page.
2. Set Specific Goals
The only reliable way to measure success is by setting clear, quantifiable goals. How many new likes do you want to have by the end of each month?
What level of audience engagement do you want to see? What kinds of conversions are you after? Would you prefer your content to get likes, shares, comments, or all three? After setting your goals, use Insights to track and tweak your strategy.
3. Create Content Plan and Calendar
Remember, your page needs to be updated often. You should be posting content at least once per day, preferably more. Your audience liked your page to see updates from your business-- it’s your responsibility to let them know what your business is up to.
The best way to stay on top of this is to create a content calendar where you can keep track of what kind of posts you’re focusing on and when. And remember, always make sure that your content is in line with your marketing strategy!
Note: When Facebook shows people your content, they’re less likely to continue seeing it if they don’t engage initially. Engagement is key. If your audience fails to engage through likes, comments or shares, they might not see it again unless you’re paying for it through targeted ad campaigns!
4. Engage Your Audience
Talk to them! Ultimately, it’s your audience that will get your business page the attention it needs. Every like, comment, message, post, and share will help you reach more people. So, talk to them directly—keep them engaged.
5. Set Tone and Voicing
How will you talk to your audience? What is the tone and voice of your business? Is it funny, witty, serious, or friendly? What would your business sound like if it could talk?
6. Strategize, Strategize, Strategize!
Some people jump right into doing without planning and strategizing. Don’t be lazy-- think of your strategy before taking any action. As Yogi Berra famously put it, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Make sure you can answer this question before diving in: what’s your marketing strategy?
7. Monitor Success
Once you’ve planned, strategized, and implemented your strategy, it’s time to monitor your results. Are you reaching your intended goals? Do you need a new strategy or should you continue with what you’ve been doing?
It’s important to know whether or not you’ve been successful in your marketing. Otherwise, you may waste time, energy, and money without even knowing it.
Are Facebook Ads Right for You?
There’s so much hype around Facebook advertising– and equally as much debate. Some love it and others hate it, which might leave you wondering if it’s worth it or if you should focus your digital marketing resources elsewhere.
From a small-business point of view, there are a couple of not-so-great things about Facebook.
First of all, there appears to be a trend among social networks-- as they expand, they improve their algorithms to give users a better experience. Facebook did it. Instagram did it. Twitter did it.
Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm shows users the content they’re more likely to be interested in based on their previous behavior and interests. Unfortunately, this appears to cut down on organic reach-- setting up a fan page and sharing your content for free won’t give you as much juice as in the past. Check out Facebook’s article “Organic Reach is Decreasing” for more info on this.
Here are a few things you should consider when deciding whether or not to use Facebook for marketing your business:
- You’ll have access to tons of users, so if you have a decent following you can potentially reach a LOT of prospects compared to other platforms.
- Most of your content will be fed to your hardcore fans, which isn’t so useful if you’re a small startup without many followers.
- Facebook has a pretty aggressive strategy for acquiring new users, which you’re able to leverage.
- Facebook “closed-membership-groups” are becoming increasingly popular as the organic reach is going down for fan pages. However, this type of group isn’t worth much unless you’re leading the way regarding contribution and quality.
- Standard: Helps you research and target your audience based on their interests, demographics, and behavior.
- Look-a-like: Let's you import your current audience and find similar people.
- Retargeting: This allows you to import your current customers and show them ads/content.
As you may have gathered, Facebook is a great tool if you want to scale your current user-base, particularly if you already have a following. That said, there may be better options out there for startups/new businesses. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the early stages of a business and you can find better ways to spend your limited budget— there are plenty of free growth hacks out there.
While it’s easy and cheap to get going (you can start with as little as $5), it takes some experimentation to figure out how to acquire leads at a cost that’s profitable. During that phase, it’ll probably seem expensive, which is why it’s so important to have a clear strategy.
If you feel confident and ready to get into Facebook advertising, there’s amazing potential in extremely targeted audiences. You can really personalize your message based on a deep knowledge of your target audience’s Facebook habits. The great thing about this approach is it will feel to them like a personalized message, but to you, it’s something that can be easily scaled.
If you do it right, you’ll see amazing results and learn a lot about your customers that you can use in other aspects of your business!
- If you want followers without paying for ads, a smaller social network is probably a better option for you.
- Facebook will work better for your business if you already have a following.
- Facebook ads are a great tool for acquiring new customers, but scaling your business is likely a better strategy than getting your first customers there.
- The best approach to using Facebook ads is to set aside a budget, develop a strategy and execute it patiently.
Facebook Ads 101
If you decide to invest time and money in Facebook advertising but find it challenging to connect with your target audience, there are quite a few things you can do to address the problem.
1: Ad Images
The images you select for your Facebook ads should represent your business, your product/service, and your target audience. You may want to choose a photo of a friendly face—perhaps yourself or your team. This type of photo allows your prospects to get a feel for your business on an emotional level. After all, people like buying from people.
2: Ad Image Text?
It’s preferable to keep your Facebook ad image text-free. Even if you follow the 20% rule, the text you do include won’t be legible due to the font size.
Text is also a bad idea because it takes away attention from the image, which is supposed to generate an emotional response from the viewer (your prospects/fans).
3: Ad Copy
Keep your ad copy short and appealing. Draft two or three different types, keeping in mind your target audience’s pain points and how your new business relieves them.
Without testing you can’t know for certain which ad copy is the best at grabbing your audience’s attention. Facebook suggests including a timeframe and price if applicable.
4: Ad Headline and Text
Facebook ad copy is made up of two parts: the headline and the text.
The headline is clickable from the news feed and appears under the photo you use for your ad. If your ad is in the sidebar, the headline will be visible before the text copy. You want the text to be short to avoid the ‘See More’ button, which requires viewers to perform another action before they’re able to read the entire message.
The fewer steps someone has to take to get the information, the more likely it is that they’ll get through it entirely. As a business owner, you’ve probably worked on an elevator pitch and know about business idea validation—Facebook ads could really help you refine your pitch and come up with creative new ways to state it for variability!
Now that you know why you should have a business Facebook page, what it is, and how to use it to market your business, do you think you’re ready to dive into Facebook marketing?
We think it’s time for you to take the first steps! Don’t be scared of new technology and new media. Facebook is just like the real-world marketplace — you just need the right attitude and the right skills to succeed.
This definitive guide to Facebook marketing was a collaboration between Maria Florio and Aske Christiansen, Facebook experts.