Facebook can be a powerful marketing and customer service tool for businesses. Learning to use Facebook more efficiently is a welcome skill for anyone, but especially for the small business owner whose wearing many hats. Here are 8 tips to get you started.
1. Let Facebook Fit Into Your Natural Routine.
You don’t have to be sitting at a computer for long periods working on Facebook. Set aside a half hour, even 15 minutes once or twice a day if you can to log onto Facebook from your desktop when you’d normally be doing other things on the computer. Use that Facebook time to focus on your page’s newsfeed since you can’t get that on your phone. Scan your newsfeed for things to like and share and comment on. Your goal with this time is to get your name seen by other pages and their followers and to engage in conversation. It’s also a great time to spread goodwill. Tell that business down the street you love their window display, comment on a photo, congratulate on an award. Doing so makes those businesses much more likely to reciprocate.
Use your the Facebook pages app on your phone to check in periodically with your page. It takes 20 seconds (if that) to open up the app and look for the red notification that tells you if you’ve had engagement since you last logged on. Take 2 more minutes to ‘like’ someone’s comment or respond to a question or post.
It takes just a minute or two to snap a photo with your phone. How about a dish you’re about to deliver to a table, or a flower arrangement about to be sold, or the window display you spent hours creating, or the adorable little kid in your store (with their parents permission). All these things make for great Facebook photos. You can then post a photo to your page immediately or even schedule the photo to go live at a later time. In 10 minutes you could easily schedule 4 photos you took in your store, restaurant or business….all from your phone.
2. Create Quick And Effective Visuals (Without Knowing Anything About design)
Images rule on Facebook (and Pinterest and Twitter), but you don’t have to have a degree in design to create great visuals. You just need the right tools to make you look good! Here are two that I use and wholeheartedly recommend:
PicMonkey – Free and paid versions available. I started with the free and moved to the yearly (just $33) after using it for awhile. It’s very simple to use, just upload a photo and overlay text or embellishments, or start with one of their templates.
Canva – I love Canva because it keeps all the images you create in your account so you can easily go back and alter them for additional use. It also has a large selection of stock photography. You pay just $1 per paid image and they have some pretty great templates in there.
Canva provides some extra design options and additional layering. If you’re a true newbie to this and need the bare bones version, I’d try PicMonkey first.
3. Create a Content Calendar
I know, I know, this seems like more work. It’ll save you time in the long run though, honest! Just take a half hour each month and/or week to think through all the items you can, and should be talking about. Upcoming events, products you need to push, company news….put it down on paper so you don’t forget in the throws of running your business. If you have the time, schedule a few posts now while it’s fresh. I have at least 2-3 posts a week I can schedule ahead for my clients. As far as the calendar itself….I have clients that I use a simple spreadsheet with (Contact me for a copy of it), and others I share a Google Calendar with. The Google calendar can be updated on the fly from any device and you can color code the items you place there by type of post or product/service. Both are very easy to maintain.
4. Use the Facebook scheduling tool
There’s definitely value gained from engaging on Facebook in real time. A lot of my clients hire me because I’m on Facebook so much and can be that role for them so I definitely believe it’s a good thing to check in as often as you can. However….there’s no reason you can’t schedule a healthy amount of content in advance. Use the Facebook scheduling tool to your advantage. It’s quick and easy to use. Your content calendar should include 2-3 or more posts a week that can be scheduled in advance. If you need help navigating it, let us know!
5. Post content when people are more likely to see it
There are a plethora of infographics on the web telling you the best times to post content on Facebook. Ignore those. Use your Facebook insights to see when your fans are most often online. You’ll probably be surprised to know you should be posting more content at night!
6. Be strategic about posting
Using your Facebook insights you’ll be able to see over time which types of posts generate the most user engagement. You may well find that those posts have little to do with your business. Sometimes the cute kid posts, or the posts about a local event, or your dog hogging the blankets will generate far more attention then your latest product or service. That’s OK. What people often forget is that engagement is engagement, it still boosts your page. The next time you have a post you really think is going to generate a lot of attention (say your cat knocked over the Christmas tree) be sure to come up with a powerful post about your business and post that one shortly after the cat post. Your engagement is already high and Facebook is more likely to show your content to a larger audience. Use those silly, yet engaging posts, to your benefit!
7. Save Or Screenshot Now, Reference Later
I’m amazed more people don’t do this. I live by it. This is more of a general tip but whenever I’m out and about and see something interesting, I photograph it with my phone. A blog post idea, a sign I like, instructions I’ll never remember, a marketing campaign that’s interesting, a sticker price of a product. Don’t try to write everything down, just take a photo with your phone and put it into a ‘work’ album on your phone. Facebook itself has a great tool now where you can save articles, images, links, events and more to reference later. You have to be using Facebook as yourself (not the pages app) but it’s a great way to save time and access articles without searching through your whole newsfeed. Just click the down arrow at the top right of piece of content in your newsfeed and select save. On my computer I use Skitch to screenshot and save everything. Skitch is a tool in Evernote and I can’t recommend it enough. Go get it, you’ll thank me.
8. Use Facebook Graph Search
Using Facebook as yourself (not your business), go to the search bar and use the Graph Search to learn more about your customers or target market. Here are a few ideas of searches that might help you:
- Favorite pages of people who like XYZ Business
- Pages liked by people who like XYZ Business
- Photos of XYZ Business
- People who like XYZ (think interest or product or activity) and work in (insert city)
You can see how you can get pretty granular here. You could easily swap out say ‘work’ for ‘live’ and get a whole different set of data. So now you’re wondering what to do with it. Well think in terms of content. This graph search data can help you create blog posts, or find topics to use as posts on your page. Hopefully you’re sharing other pages’ content to your page now and then (it’s not all about you!). Graph search is a great way to find other local pages to follow. When trying to decide what content you should share to your page, start with those that come up frequently in the graph search.
So there you have it. 8 tips to help businesses use Facebook more efficiently. I hope these are helpful to you. Please feel free to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or go ahead and comment with your own tips. As always, I’m here to help!