Facebook is home to 2.85 billion monthly active users, with 1.88 billion users logging in daily. People from all walks of life and across the globe are a part of the Facebook community — whether to connect with their friends and family or discover new products and services.
Research shows that more than half of Facebook users have previously used the platform to look for products, with most of them discovering new products on feeds, Pages, and Groups. This is interesting since the average time spent on Facebook every month is 19.5 hours.
Naturally, the social media platform provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to engage with their target audience. There are 200+ million small businesses worldwide that leverage Facebook to promote their offerings.
Due to the pandemic, Facebook has become a goldmine for them. As the #SupportLocal trend took hold last year, people shifted their focus on purchasing goods and services from smaller businesses. Going local and showing support online has become the norm.
Facebook searches for local businesses, from February to May 2020, increased by 23%. Today, 2/3rd of users visit a local business Facebook Page at least once a week.
Facebook might be getting a little less positive press than it used to compared to other platforms like Instagram and TikTok, but the fact remains that it is a leading platform for small businesses to acquire more customers.
If you are currently not using Facebook to market your business, you are missing out on massive growth opportunities regardless of your niche, for it gives you several ways to promote your offerings, increase website traffic, deliver customer support and boost brand recognition.
The dos and don’ts of Facebook marketing
The following sections explore six tips you must follow to make your small business Facebook-ready and five mistakes you must avoid.
1. Make the most of your Page setup options
Setting up a Facebook business page involves just a few simple steps, and it is entirely free, although there are several things you must do to complete the setup process.
a. Write a compelling bio: Many businesses assume that customers do not read the bio on their Facebook page, which is not true. If your profile photo is like the first handshake with the customer, your bio is like your elevator pitch.
This is where you get to tell them what makes you unique as a brand in a handful of words. Do not, therefore, use your bio to list out your products and services. Appeal to the customer’s emotions and create powerful mental images that they cannot ignore, just how Setapp does.
Remember, your bio needs to be short and striking, so do not waste words. Keep the lengthy details for the separate About section of your page.
b. Add photos: Your business profile photo is just as important as the one on your personal profile. Visitors will be looking at it first to get a sense of who you are. Add a high-resolution picture of your company logo, one that also looks clear when they view it on mobile.
In addition, be sure to upload a high-quality cover photo, preferably a banner promoting what you offer and how your products or service make a difference in the market. In addition, please make sure you follow the optimum image size guidelines so that they look their best.
c. Create a username: Your username is how your customers will find you on Facebook. It should ideally be the same as your business to avoid confusion. When you create a new page, you will see “create@username” just below the page name. You can fix that by heading to Page Info under the “Settings” tab on the left-hand side.
d. Enter important information: Upload details such as company address, contact information, website, offerings, business hours on your Facebook page. This takes some time, but it is crucial to come across as a credible business.
e. Add a CTA button: This depends on your goal. If you are a marketing agency, you probably might want people to contact you or visit the website. If you run a retail shop, you would like to nudge your visitors to purchase your products or explore a range.
You can experiment with the CTA button as per your requirement. Some other options include “Shop Now,” “Call Now,” “Start Order,” and so on.
On that note, if you’re using this CTA to drive traffic to your own site, do not forget to create a landing page that is aesthetic, easy to navigate, and tells your visitors exactly what they need to do.
With vcita, for instance, small business marketers can quickly set up an auto-generated landing page with in-built booking forms and scheduling software that you can customize to match the rest of your branding. Visitors to your Facebook Business page can directly click and book — the scheduler syncs everything for you, including the platform’s built-in CRM, pre-appointment SMS reminders and automated billing system.
2. Post a variety of content
If your Facebook business page is populated only with sales promos, you will not get very far with your customers.
Facebook is about building an authentic connection with people, which means that your content (both written and visual) needs to tell stories that people want to be part of.
Therefore, share valuable tips and perspectives about your industry space, repost what happy customers have said about you, have behind-the-scenes photos of what goes into your products or services, and so on.
Follow the social media rule of thirds wherein two-third of your content shares ideas and inspiration, and one-third of content strictly promotes your business. Be sure to balance your promotional material with value.
You can download social media calendars and post templates from HubSpot and Curata to develop a streamlined content strategy and subsequent posts.
Beauty subscription service Birchbox’s Facebook content is a mix of inspiration, customer success stories, and product promotion. You can follow a similar format for your business.
But keep in mind that the more you engage your customers without asking for anything in return, the likelier they will respond positively when you put out that limited-time offer or product launch. Do not post only when you want something from your customers.
3. Write captions to engage your audience
What is it that you want from your interested audience members? Do you want them to sign up for a mailing list, or are you offering free consultations to help them pick the right product? Think about your end goal.
Try to write captions that encourage conversations and entice your audience. A one-line sentence might not be enough to prompt interaction. The best practice is to include links to your website so that visitors can explore more and not just scroll down the feed.
Check out the India-based local jewellery brand Shaya that weaves a story about the product they promote and directs the user to the product page.
Make it a sweet deal for customers by sharing posts, stories, and Ads that they cannot help but click on. A combination of catchy visuals (with your company branding palette, of course) and top-notch content with a strong call-to-action will get you the results you want.
To make your content as relevant as possible, use free tools like SocialMention for monitoring business-specific keyword mentions in real-time.
4. Use brand colors in posts and stories
Once your business page has been appropriately set up or optimized, it is essential to create a presence by posting on it an appropriate number of times.
While your content plays a huge role, you also need to make sure you use a consistent color palette in all your Facebook posts and stories.
Check out how the creatives uploaded by the Bromsgrove-based coworking space:
The more you reinforce a specific type of branding, the higher your recall will be in the customer’s mind, as they will learn to associate you and your products with a particular kind of look and online branding.
It is also much more aesthetically pleasing when you have a signature palette than switching from color to color with every new story. Tools like Canva and Visme can help you create professional creatives that reflect your brand colors.
5. Use Facebook to deal with customer service
How fast you respond to customer queries speaks volumes about the efficiency of your small business. Today’s consumers expect replies within minutes, and Facebook Messenger is an ideal tool for you to take care of their issues in real-time.
As an example, let us talk about two software businesses and their response times. Both are competitors. While one replies within an hour of being contacted, the other takes a day to get back. Who would potential customers prefer if they visit two competition brands on Facebook?
Customer service is a critical aspect of business success, and you have to do your best to respond to a message or comment as quickly as you can.
Check out your Facebook page at least twice a day, if not more. It is not just about responding; it is about responding quickly.
6. Capitalize on trending tags and topics for greater visibility
Hashtags are a vital part of social media. Clicking on one shows you all of the public posts made under that hashtag.
Using relevant hashtags in your Facebook posts is an excellent way to boost your online visibility by sharing your content with people interested in the topics you post about.
A few benefits of using hashtags on social media include:
- Reach out to your target audience by using hashtags they are using.
- Brainstorm a branded hashtag to market a particular event or a new product launch.
- Encourage Facebook users to interact with your posts.
Here is an example of a branded hashtag — #PlayStationIndies — for promoting upcoming games by PS:
However, to gain visibility, many businesses use irrelevant hashtags. Check out the hashtag that an online pharmacy store included in their caption:
Even though it is posted on Valentine’s Day, using the hashtag does not reflect what the company is all about. Thankfully, there are tools like HashAtIt and RiteTag to help you identify relevant hashtags for the business.
WordStream has also listed 100+ hashtags suitable for every day of the week, in case you want to include general hashtags in your post.
1. Avoiding posting for the sake of it
Unlike Instagram and Twitter, which require you to post multiple times a day, most studies agree that posting once a day is optimal for Facebook. In fact, a HubSpot survey found out that businesses that posted more than once daily saw a drop of 50% in engagement.
Unless you are in the retail business, which requires you to promote your product range many times a day, keep it to a minimum. For instance, it would be odd for a local hair salon to post every hour. What can you possibly promote every day, hours on end?
You must ensure your content is related to the interests of your target audience. Context is everything, so even if you are more creative, remember to tie back to your business.
Use tools like Fanpage Karma to do a competitive analysis of your page against a competitor brand to see what changes you can make to your Facebook strategy.
2. Do not post at odd hours
According to a Sprout Social study, the best time to post on Facebook is between 9 AM to 1 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The worst day is Saturday. Instead of randomly posting content, make sure you follow a calendar.
In summary, stick with posting on Facebook in the middle of the week, right before engagement and activity start thinning as we head towards the weekend. Be mindful about when you post.
3. Do not delete posts and/ or comments
As per a Microsoft study, 59% of consumers worldwide have a favorable impression of brands that tackle queries on social media.
Getting the occasional snarky comment or offended response to a post is part of the territory with social media marketing. However, deleting them comes off as heavy-handed and could lead to customers viewing you as a brand that does not know how to take feedback.
Samsung once made the mistake of deleting a negative comment on their Facebook page. They received much backlash for not taking customer service seriously and focusing more on maintaining their brand image.
When that happens, respond politely to comments with an apology, a clarification, or a solution, whatever the situation calls for. Not every business gets a second chance.
Reserve deletes only for posts that you put up by mistake, such as a creative from a wrong campaign or that of a selfie of yourself, during your time off, at the beach!
4. Do not post low-quality pictures and videos
This may seem superfluous to mention, but low-quality visual content is a huge no-no. Consumer expectations are stratospheric when it comes to visuals, and there are far too many options out there for them to give you a chance if your page has grainy, unattractive pictures.
Invest in taking the best photos, videos and designing the best graphics you can — it makes a world of difference. The only context in which you might get away with lower-quality uploads is if you are streaming a live video on your phone and want to keep it natural.
Even so, use the phone with the best camera quality. Using an image formatting/creating platform (such as Canva and Adobe Spark) or allocating a few design resources could significantly improve the quality of visuals.
5. Never purchase “Likes” and “Followers”
Sure, numbers are essential. More number of Likes mean your post content reaches more Facebook users and appeals to them. If that sounds impressive to you, work on growing your Facebook reach and engaging your potential customers organically.
Do not be fooled into purchasing vanity metrics for marketing purposes. They would increase the numbers, not the engagement rate.
Today’s internet users are acutely aware that if you do not have a lot of engagement on your page but have a large number of likes, you have bought them. Moreover, this practice is harmful to your brand as you will misrepresent what your brand stands for.
Over to you
Social media is a highly competitive ecosystem, and all those billions of Facebook users will scroll past your name on their feeds if they do not like what you offer or how you come across as a business.
The good news is, with your fundamentals in place, you are already head and shoulders above many of your competitors. After that, keep sharing great content and always deliver on the promises you make to your customers. You will find that they keep coming back happily.
About the author:
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, social media marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.