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Get Social: Growing Business Fans on Facebook

April 28, 2016  - Tips for Small Business
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For the fourth post of our Get Social series for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs), we'll explore how you can use Facebook to put a "face" to your business, gain fans and have friends help spread your message.

Facebook is one of the earliest and most widely used social network platforms. Today, Facebook has 1.6 billion users globally, more than the population of China, 167 million daily users in the U.S. and Canada. While you may already have a personal Facebook account, you can also set up a business Facebook page. Establishing a business page is an important element of your overall social strategy as you have a built in network to help kick it off and spread your business page virally with Likes and Shares. And, why not be where people check in and spend on average 27 hours a month (as much as 40-50 minutes a day)?

Let's look at how you can expand your business social reach and engagement with Facebook:

Perform some research. Before you start setting your business up on Facebook, it's important to do a little research to get a sense of how you want to move forward.
  • Look at other business pages and competitors' pages to get ideas for how a page can look and what kinds of things you like.
  • Be sure to search on Facebook to see if other companies have pages similar to your brand name and, if so, think about how you'll set yours apart.
  • Gather the content you'll need to set up your own page. You'll need a profile photo, cover photo and content to complete the About Us section. It should be easy to repurpose content from your website, LinkedIn and/or Twitter accounts.
Create a business page. You'll want a consistent, branded message, including imagery and text. Setting up your page is relatively quick, especially if you already have the content gathered.
  • Choose page type: You'll be prompted to pick from 6 page types, and then you'll also choose your business category (or industry) from a drop-down list.
  • Name your page: You'll immediately be asked for an official business name for your page (usually your company name). You'll be asked in the next step to choose your friendly URL (ex. www.facebook.com/ascentiumcapital). Select your name and URL carefully—Facebook only allows you to change these once.
  • Select a profile and cover photo: Imagery is very powerful, and you want to make good use of it. Your profile photo should be your logo (provided it's readable at that size) or other recognizable branded image, as this is what shows up in newsfeeds. Your cover photo should be eye catching and showcase your business. You can use free banner creators such as Canva or Pagemodo to ensure you have the right sizes.
  • Completely fill out the About section: You want your readers and fans to quickly understand your company. Plus, the more information you provide, the more easily your page will be found in search results (both on and off Facebook).
  • Select your target audience: If you only sell in a specific geographic area you can specify this here. Keep in mind, this will limit who Facebook shows your page to so it might be better to leave this broad. Otherwise, Facebook may require people to login before they can view your page.
  • Review your created page: Once you've gone through the creation steps, look at your page with a critical eye and add anything that is missing. Do you have a business-focused YouTube account that would be helpful for Facebook visitors? Add it. Would certain apps like reviews, blogs, or Twitter feed make your page more interactive or add useful information? Now is the time to set these up on your page. 

Start engaging. Now that your page is built, you need "fans", or people who click the Like button to follow your company. This can be done in several ways:

  • Start your fan base: Starting from scratch, the best way to get fans is to as your friends for help. Post about your business on your personal account or "invite friends" through your page, and ask them to Like and Share. If your business has employees, ask them to Like and Share the company page with their friends as well.
  • Add your Facebook social button: Add the social icon to your website and other social networks so customers can find you on Facebook and become fans. An announcement to your email subscribers about your new page can be powerful as well.
  • Make your posts memorable: With news streams full of posts, pictures, videos and what-were-you-in-a-past-life tests, business pages have taken a back seat. The more people interact with your page the more your posts will actually show up. Post stunning pictures, ask for engagement through questions, feedback, surveys or fun contests like Fan of the Week, or offer coupons. Be sure to include links to your website in your posts, too.
  • Boost your post: Facebook allows for targeting by location and audience demographics to boost the visibility of your posts for a set budget and duration. This can be an inexpensive way to expand your reach.
See what works and do more of it. Facebook, and marketing in general, is always evolving. It's important to look at the results of what you've been doing and try to replicate winning strategies or test new things.
  • Review your insights: Business pages offer analytical insights to track engagement, measure your post reach, and see what outside sources are driving Facebook traffic. Having a good handle on what works, and what doesn't, will help you to hone in on a Facebook marketing plan that works best.
  • Post when your customers are online: Get a sense of when people are interacting with your page. Every business is a little different, but Facebook analytics show the most active time for adult users is 1:00pm to 3:00pm, for 20+ minutes, and they are most active on Thursdays and Fridays. Test engagement for your business.
You're ready to start gathering Fans and Likes. Next time we'll explore how photography can really show off your business, and the opportunities Instagram provides.

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Ascentium Capital offers a wide variety of business financing programs, including leasing and short-term loan options for anything from new computers or software to equipment that can help you with your move to social.

Contact us today to learn more about how we help businesses like yours.
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