If you have seen the Social Networking film, you will know that Facebook grew out of purely social roots. Originally, Mark Zuckerberg and friends developed it as a platform for rating the attractiveness of the women on campus. It grew to become a way for Harvard and Yale alumni to keep in touch, before expanding to universities around the world.
Soon, we grown-ups joined in, seeing how useful it was to communicate with our global family, friends, suppliers and clients.
Initially, Facebook was completely against any type of advertising. In fact, they resisted doing anything to help businesses.
Then, they realised that’s where the money was and tagged on some extra functionality.
Facebook for business: The basics
It’s important to understand the difference between profiles, groups and pages.
- Profiles are for individuals
- Profiles collect friends
- Groups are for profiles rallied around a common cause. You might set up a group around your business, but the business doesn’t ‘own’ the group. It’s a place for what I call ‘bottom-up’ communication and engagement.
- Groups collect members
- Pages are for businesses. The business ‘owns’ the page, and can use it for ‘top-down’ communication and engagement.
- Pages collect likes (they used to collect fans so are still sometimes called fan pages; I predict that one day pages will collect follows, because you might like the page even though you don’t necessarily like the business)
In order to have a business page, you need to have a personal profile to act as the page admin (although you don’t have to post any updates on your profile if you don’t want to).
If you do not ‘like’ your page from your profile, no one will know you have anything to do with it.
Objectives for your Facebook page
Only a tiny percentage of people will go back to your page once they have liked it. That means they will only see your header image once. Your page has three objectives – to get people to click the like button, visit your website, or sign up for your newsletter.
Up to 20% of your header image can be text, so I recommend you use a free tool such as Canva to add these objectives as calls to action.
Remember, most people use Facebook on a mobile device. This means your avatar (the square picture that overlaps your header image) will usually be seen at only 30 pixels square, so make sure it reads clearly at that small size. If it’s your logo, add space top and bottom to make it square.
Most people will only see your updates in their timeline if they are logged on at the right time. That means you should post updates at least two or three times a day (on pages, you can schedule updates using the ‘clock’ icon under the posting area).
Your objective with each update is to get people to like, comment or share, so that their friends see your updates too. Therefore, add a question or call to action in some (not all) of your updates.
I’ve seen it quoted that videos on Facebook get shared 30% more than images or text.
Facebook no longer shows all your updates to the people who have liked your page. It might be as little as 10%. This is because they want businesses to pay for promoted updates and Facebook ads
Promoted updates are guaranteed to reach many more of the people who have liked your page, and their friends too. It can mean your page gets more likes.
Remember that people on Facebook are in social mood. They are not buying and selling. So choose wisely which updates you share. They should not be too sales-y or you risk getting a backlash.
Facebook ads can work well, to get more page likes, or to drive traffic to your website. Some of my clients have found it works out at about £1 per like.
It is all a bit of a numbers game – but the real measure of success is sales.
Be careful about running competitions on Facebook – that’s currently against the rules. Better to run the competition on your blog and link to it from Facebook.
Because of its roots, Facebook is the social end of social media. It works best for business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses, rather than business-to-business (B2B) businesses.
As a freelance copywriter, I use my personal profile to stay in touch with family, friends, and networking contacts. I try not to annoy family and friends by posting too many business updates, and am careful to protect my personal brand by not sharing social photos that will be seen by my business contacts.
I don’t post many – if any – sales messages. Even so, one of my scuba diving friends recently messaged me on Facebook to ask about a training course for her team.
Think Facebook can’t be used for business? Think again.