Facebook has more than 1 billion users. So it stands to reason that you might want to think about setting up a Facebook business page – think how many potential customers are on that one website, checking it every few minutes to see what is happening in the world.
Although Facebook began as a way for people to keep in touch with their friends, it has now evolved into advertising, games and business. In fact Facebook has more than 30 million small businesses1 registered.
Now of course, registering with Facebook is easy – it’s gaining fans2, keeping them and turning them into customers that’s the tricky part. But it doesn’t have to be and being a strong advocate of both content and social media, I’ve listed five simple ways to plan your Facebook business page’s content strategy and build your audience.
Know your audience
When you first set up your Facebook page you probably invited your own friends and several of your existing customers to like your page. If you’re lucky, they may have invited their own friends and family to like your business. That’s a great start, as it encourages others to like your page because you look credible, but do you know who else has liked your page?
Obviously if your page has thousands of fans it can be difficult to know everyone personally, but when you’re just starting taking the time to see who is interested in your business can really help with content strategy.
Who are your fans and what do they like? See how they react to your posts and if there are any particular types of post that seem popular, take note and use that format more often. You can also use your Facebook page insights to see how many people each post reached and how many interacted with it (e.g. the number of likes and shares it received).
Interact with your fans
Remember that these people are customers and potential customers, so you need to treat them as such, even on social media. Check your notifications regularly to see all activity on the page and interact with as many people as you can. If someone has shared one of your posts, make sure that you like it; if someone has commented on a post, respond; if someone has asked you a question, make sure you answer it.
Give your fans a say in your business, by speaking directly to them in your posts and asking them what they think; the Facebook Questions feature lets you ask your customers questions to see how you could improve your business. Depending on your customers and your tone of voice you can be really creative with how you get them involved.
Dare to be different
If you use Facebook you know how much information and content comes up in your newsfeed, especially if you have a lot of friends and follow a lot of businesses and brands. You want people to see your posts and your content so you need to make sure it doesn’t get lost amongst everything else. I don’t necessarily mean you need to start posting cat pictures or photos of your lunch, but when you’re trawling through hundreds of posts it is the photos and videos that stand out. Try several different types of post and see what works best for your business.
Relevant and on trend
Going back to the cat photos, I do love them but if you’re a mechanic it’s a little bit too random. Vets and pets shops, however – carry on! If you are going down the humour route at least try to tie it into your business – we all love a good laugh but I do expect a business to stay on brand when they post on Facebook, otherwise I might as well just follow Buzzfeed. If you want to post quotes – be they inspirational or amusing – use key figures in your industry or related jokes.
However, when a key date comes around, make the most of it! Florists can have a field day with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and I would expect plenty of eggcelent jokes from most businesses around Easter time. Don’t be too tenuous, but if it’s appropriate for your business, audience and time of year then go for it – be as creative as you can.
Post regularly, but not too regularly
This is a tricky one. There’s no definitive answer – it really comes down to trial and error. When you’re just starting out on Facebook you probably won’t need to post more than once or twice a week, but as you gain momentum and fans you can increase it. If a post is doing particularly well, you can boost it so that friends of anyone who’s interacted with the post will see it in their newsfeed as well.
Don’t bombard people with too much information though as they’ll just lose interest. It’s much better to post decent content once a week, then something pretty pointless every day. When you have something to say you want everyone to know so experiment with days and timings to see when the best interaction is. It’s again important to think about your fans and what they’re up to day to day. Are they at work, home, even school? Facebook now lets you schedule your posts so you could even try a few at the weekend or in the evenings (or schedule the whole week’s posts on a Monday).
It takes time to build up a proper fan base and learn what makes them tick (or hit the like button), but make the most of the available statistics and insights on your business page so you can see what works and what doesn’t. And of course – feel free to share this post on Facebook!
2 For the purpose of this article, I am going to say fans instead of customers, but they are basically the same thing.