Facebook is a useful tool for promoting a business, whether you use it as a free tool, or if you pay for advertising. Like any form of online advertising though, it’s important to get it right or you could risk harming your business.
Common Facebook mistakes include:
- Disabling the wall so that customers cannot comment
- Setting up a Page and not maintaining it
- Ignoring customer questions and complaints
- Deleting complaints
The world of advertising has changed in recent years, thanks largely to social media. Whilst once it was the company that held the power in terms of customer service and attracting new business, social media has shifted this and the power is now firmly in the hands of the consumer.
This means that in order to build a successful brand, it’s vital that businesses know how to approach social. This includes set up, maintenance, voice and tone and dealing effectively with online reputation.
Setting up a Facebook Presence
The starting point to Facebook marketing is planning. A business should have an overall marketing plan which includes social, SEO, local print (if necessary) and branding. The brand persona of the company should already be fully fleshed out to include:
- House style/tone for communications
- Recognisable branding through the use of colour/design
- Know its target audience thoroughly
In order to gain the best results, it’s important that all of this is consistent across all of the marketing channels any given business uses, including social media, websites, blogs and so on.
Setting up a Facebook company page is a simple matter; you should have to hand everything you need before you begin along with a solid plan on how the page is going to be managed.
So, you should have as a minimum:
- Cover and profile images pre-prepared by a designer – logos are good for profile, so make sure that they stand out
- Photos and descriptions of products if applicable
- A prewritten company overview for the ‘About’ section (including keywords, used sparingly)
- Details such as opening hours, website, email, etc.
- Some prepared content to post such as blog posts, curated content, images to provoke reaction (funny works best) and so on
- A specific person/persons that will manage social accounts
- A style guide so that a consistent voice is maintained
This is the tricky part of course and in the first instance, ensure that you invite friends, family, all of the company employees and existing customers. You can connect the account to auto-Tweet to your Twitter account, but be slightly wary of this as too many automated posts will lose you followers if that’s your only Twitter activity.
Once you have the page set up and you’re happy with the layout, content and so on, then you can begin to follow others in your industry and who may be interested in your products. You should do this by using Facebook as the company page and not as your personal account.
To do this:
- At the top of the page is the admin panel
- Choose edit page and then ‘use Facebook as [company name]’
- Then it’s a case of seeking out your audience and liking relevant pages, leaving messages and sharing content in order to gain attention
Other business owners on Facebook tend to be friendly and although you may come across the odd company that doesn’t appreciate being connected to a business in the same industry, this isn’t really common as most people recognise the value of industry networking online. Make sure that you like the Facebook Marketing page too, for tips and tricks from Facebook employees.
Advertising on Facebook
You may decide that you want to boost your page in the beginning with Facebook Advertising; if so, then you will need to have the company marketing plan to hand which sets out your target audience and buyer persona.
Then you have to decide which kind of advert you would like to create:
Whilst everyone wants plenty of Likes, it’s more important that you gain engagement with the material that you are posting. These social signals are more valuable in the long term than just Likes as they ensure that your post gets more exposure, thus upping engagement even more.
However, with post engagement ads, you are just promoting one post, not the entire page. Bearing this in mind, make sure that you choose the post wisely. It’s tempting to put up a post that leads to your blog, but it’s also necessary to choose one that catches the eye and prompts an emotional reaction. By far the best type of post to choose to do the latter is one that makes the recipient laugh, so don’t be afraid of using industry-relevant memes.
Of course, if you’re a product-based company and have unique items that you can display as a beautiful photo, then this will also provoke interest.
Clicks to Website/Website Conversions
This type of ad allows you to track activity from Facebook on your website and you can choose Clicks or Conversions. The type of business you have will dictate this to a certain extent, as conversions are better suited to products, although you can use contact forms and so on to create conversions too.
Using Clicks, you can choose whether the ad appears in the newsfeed or to the side of the page. Newsfeed ads are especially useful for those with great images, so you can really make the most of them.
As you can see, you simply type in the company URL and Facebook will automatically pick up an image. Otherwise, you can upload images or use stock images and you’re allowed to use up to six of these for different ads.
Next, it’s time to define your audience. If you have a mailing list, either saved as a .CSV file, mobile numbers and so on, or through Mail Chimp; then you can upload these straight to Facebook so that you will also be reaching your existing audience.
Then it’s a case of having your target audience profile to hand and adjusting the ad to suit.
Choose your target audience by specifying:
- Relationship status
- Custom (games, events, family status etc.)
Don’t be tempted to choose too broad an audience, this is counterproductive and your ad won’t perform well if you don’t properly define who you want to see it.
If you choose to use conversions, then you will also need to place a tracking code on your website, much like you would when using any tracking analytics such as Google and Bing.
Setting a Budget
This should be predefined as to how much you have available to spend and is simple to use on Facebook. You can set a daily or lifetime budget, depending on the ad type and/or use CPM (cost per thousand impression) or CPC (cost per click). This means that you will only pay when people either see or click through on your ad. You can keep an eye on this at all times through Facebook Ad Manager.
You can choose any post at any time to promote quickly and easily in order to boost engagement. This is especially useful for:
- Special offers
- Content that you want to promote
Simply choose the Boost Post option at the bottom right hand corner and set your budget and what type of campaign you would like. You can choose to promote the post to your followers and existing audience, or you can specify the audience just as you do in other ads.
Ongoing Facebook Marketing
When it comes to Facebook, the audience is a demanding one and so you should be prepared and ensure that you are ready to answer questions, complaints, compliments and comments in a timely manner. I mentioned earlier that it’s a bad idea to disable your wall, as it implies that there is no transparency within your company and you have something to hide by not allowing your followers to post.
If someone wants to complain via social media, they will find a way. Whether this is by populating all of your comment boxes with frustrated messages, or by using other social channels, people will find a way. The best approach any company can take is that of transparency and a complaint can turn into a positive PR exercise, if handled corrected.
If you experience a complaint:
- Leave the comment up – do not delete
- Answer as quickly as possible and offer a phone call to discuss
- Ensure that you’re friendly, courteous and never rude
- Make the outcome of the complaint public on the post and ask the complainant to confirm this
- Ignore the person or delete the comment – this gives a message to other followers that you have something to hide, or terrible customer service
- Be rude or abusive
- Respond to trolling
I mention the latter as there is a difference between a genuine complaint and a troll. Those that are genuine will attempt to communicate with you without abuse or rude behaviour. If it is a customer and they are being abusive, explain politely that whilst you’re willing to sort out their problem, you won’t tolerate abusive behaviour or language.
When this occurs, it’s often surprising how well other followers will get behind the company and back them up with positive reviews, or by shaming the abusive person. All you have to do is remain professional at all times.
We’ve all seen social faux pas take place and it’s not damaging if you handle it properly. Amy’s bakery was one of the worst examples of this in 2013. Following a torrent of abuse aimed at complaining customers, not only did the company publically tell Gordon Ramsey to f*** off, but also abused customers and then tried to claim it wasn’t really them:
Facebook is a great marketing tool but remember, it’s called social media for a reason; the clue’s in the name. It requires companies to get social with their customers, taking on a more personal tone and service than any other form of advertising. Get it right and it can add a great new dimension to your business, get it wrong and it can be fatal.