We’ve been exploring social media and what it means for small businesses and community organizations over the past several weeks. After starting with why social media is important, we examined some of the top platforms for small businesses who want to make a strategic choice about where to devote their social media resources. Now, we’re delving into the how-tos and sharing some succinct steps to be a social media success, starting with the granddaddy of social media – Facebook.
1.) Create a page.
If you’re a business you need a page, not a group, and not a personal profile that you use for work. It’s free to create a page and you make it easy for fans and clients to find you, share your content, and engage. You also gain access to additional tools that can help make your Facebook page effective – tools like stats and the option to advertise.
2.) Grab your name.
Don’t let a rival snap up your name. Set up your page now and claim your rightful place on the internet.
3.) It’s all about curb appeal.
Facebook gives you a large cover photo spot in the header, a profile picture, and the option to add photo albums. You should be using all of these options to give visitors to your page a great look at what you have to offer. These can be simple – but take care to make sure that image quality is sufficient to meet Facebook’s standards. A pixelated, blurry image does you no favors. Likewise, remember that while your cover photo is only visible to fans who view your page, your profile picture is your calling card and will appear alongside any comments you share on other pages.
4.) Keep it short and sweet.
“Your fans’ News Feeds contain a lot of information. And they have limited time to read it. Keep your posts short whenever possible: posts between 100 and 250 characters (less than 3 lines of text) see about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters.” (Source)
5.) Engage with photos and videos.
People love pictures and videos. It’s that simple. Posts that contain images or videos generate significantly higher engagement (comments, clicks, etc.) than posts that are just words. Yes, they are more work to create. But there’s a reason that a single image is worth 1000 words.
6.) Make it regular.
This is one of the cardinal rules of internet engagement. Post regularly. Even if this means that you have to ignore Tip 5. Get online and make posting to your facebook page a habit. Start with once a week if it’s a struggle to find time and move up from there.
7.) Make posts relevant.
Why should someone “like” your page and tune in to your updates? Give fans a reason to follow you. Every audience is different, but fans should get something out of your facebook page. Helpful information, special deals, early product launches, fun, entertainment. Figure out what’s meaningful to your fans (or the people who you want to be your fans) and do more of it.
Social media is a two-way street. That’s one of its greatest strengths. Facebook is not a platform for you to shout your marketing strategy to the masses. It can be — but it’s also a place to listen. To answer questions. To ask questions. To participate on other pages. There has to be a benefit to both parties – the business and the fan – for your page to grow.
9.) Timing is of the essence.
Whether it’s creating timely content that coincides with trends, holidays, and events or simply being aware of when people are reading your posts, time is a huge factor in social media success. From which day of the week to post on to what time of day is best for a specific industry, stats abound to help you guide your strategy. Start with common sense, and add statistics as you grow into a social media pro. Scheduling programs can help you make the most of the clock.
10.) Do it well.
Spelling. Grammar. Respect. Remember the lessons your mama taught you and be sure that what you’re putting out there on the internet is reflective of your company or group and of your own standards. It’s easy to feel like something is here today, gone tomorrow on the internet – but your content never dies and it’s harder than ever to track what or how someone perceives you and your organization, so don’t let silly mistakes or thoughtless remarks taint your online reputation.
What do you think? Are you ready to dive in to Facebook? Get started!