While recent data security concerns have hurt some people’s opinion of Facebook, it is still one of the most popular social media platforms available, with billions of active users every month. It is also one of the easiest and most comfortable social media sites to use, with several features that entrepreneurs can use to promote their business. Below are a number of tips to help enhance your Facebook profile and make your posts more engaging. And once you’ve learned how to use Facebook effectively, you can apply most of what you’ve learned to expand your influence on other social media platforms.
Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) went public with its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, 2012. Since then, many users have found it difficult to get exposure for their small business on the platform. One of the reasons why is the algorithm that Facebook uses to prioritize what gets seen by users. Facebook wants you to buy advertising, which in turn will increase how many people will see your content. Otherwise, your posts are probably only going to be seen by your followers, and even then only a fraction of them. Facebook has algorithms which limit how many people see your posts based on the level of engagement they tend to receive. So if you make a lot of posts that don’t get likes or comments, your posts could be considered a lower priority.
That said, there are a number of things you can do for free that can help increase engagement and earn more likes. There are a few traits that make for a good Facebook post.
- Timely and Relevant: posting old information can make you seem out of touch, so avoid posting news that is more than two days old, because it is likely already well circulated among your peers.
- Likely to be Shared: whatever you post, make sure it’s something that’s interesting to your users.
- Teaches People Something: life hacks, surprising facts.
- Entertains Users: cat videos, funny images.
- Makes Users Think: open-ended questions.
- Adds Value to People’s Lives: motivational stories and quotes.
- Includes Pictures, Videos, and/or a Legitimate Link: pictures are worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a million. Also, if you include a link in your post, make sure it goes where you claim it is going to. Don’t offer to sell sunglasses then take me to a page to buy a car!
The thing to note here is that none of this mentions posts that specifically promote your business. While your company page should obviously be focused on your business, your personal page needs to have variety. If you do nothing but shamelessly promote yourself, people aren’t going to follow you. Barbara Caine suggests that no more than 20% of the posts on your personal Facebook profile should talk about or promote your services.
Along with your posts, your profile itself needs to be up to snuff as well. Your profile is your face to all Facebook users, so make sure it looks good. The first step, as obvious as it may sound, is to make sure your Facebook name is your ACTUAL name. Many people like to include nicknames or aliases, but you don’t want any future customers to be confused about who you are, and Facebook has a tendency to freeze accounts if they think the user is going by an assumed name such as “Barbara (business trainer) Caine.” There is a place in the settings for your maiden name, nickname, company name, professional title, etc. Your name needs to be YOUR NAME!
Beyond that, including more detailed information which might include your job title and/or company, along with a link to your business’ fan page (more about that later). You should complete the About Me section as well, but don’t make it JUST about you. Explain why people should care or be interested in you and your services, and don’t forget to include a link to your business’ website.
You also need to have memorable profile and header images. Your profile picture should be an up-to-date photograph of yourself. It is recommended to update this at least once per year. For your header, choose pictures featuring you at events or hanging out with friends and family. The header can be changed more often than your profile picture, maybe once a month. Keep in mind that every time you change your header image, it notifies all of your followers, which keeps you on their mind, which is a great thing!
Facebook also allows you to create a fan page for your business, which stands separate from your personal page. Here you can announce upcoming events and promote your services. Just like your personal Facebook profile, there are a number of ways you can build upon and enrich your business’ fan page.
- A Unique URL: a URL that includes your business’ name gives off a sense of legitimacy.
- Page Image: this should be your company’s logo.
- Cover Image: this can give your page visual flare. If you aren’t an artist, Barbara recommends going to Fiverr to find someone who can design a cover image for you for as low as $5 most times.
- Contact Information: you should list your business’ address, phone number, and links to your website. If you are a home based business, get a P.O. Box or a Coworking membership to have a mailing address other than where your family sleeps.
- Category/Description/Products/Mission: you want to make sure that users have a clear sense of what your business is, what products and services you provide, and what your goals are. The more complete this section is, the more likely people are to find and follow you. Be thorough.
- Testimonials: talk to some of your past customers and see if they’ll give a quote you can use. Barbara recommends getting at least three testimonials for your page. The best way to go about this is to go to your reviews tab on your page and copy the URL link and send it to your friends via a Facebook private message and simply ask them to leave you a review. Including the direct link for them makes their job easier so they are more likely to act quicker.
- Tell Your Friends: Invite friends to like your page on a semi-regular basis. If you don’t want to ask everyone who follows you to like it, you can select specific users via a drop-down menu on your fan page. Post on your business page then share that post on your personal profile where the bulk of your fans already are.
The key to developing a truly strong social media following is being engaging and authentic. You need to create content that appeals to your audience and to effectively convey who you are and what you can do for your potential customers. Do that, and you’re on your way to Facebook success. And if you can make it on Facebook, you can make it anywhere, right?
But if you do want tips for how to leverage other social media platforms to promote your business, come to one of Barbara’s upcoming classes. She covers a number of different social media sites, including Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram. With her expertise and guidance, your business can grow farther than you’ve ever thought possible.