Facebook is one of the world’s biggest websites. With over a billion users, if your business isn’t on Facebook, you’re missing out. Everyone is on Facebook. If they are online, chances are they are on Facebook.
1 out of every 6 internet experiences is on Facebook. And Facebook users spend an average of 20 minutes per login there! That’s a lot of eyeballs and a lot of time spent on Facebook daily. To break it down even further, 88% of all young adults, 84% of all middle aged adults, and 72 % of all older adults are on Facebook. Yeah.. the majority of adults are there. Even seniors have a significant presence, with 62% of seniors who go online having a Facebook account.
Is your business on Facebook?
So Facebook has three different types of presences that your business can have. First, you can have a personal profile. Then you can have a page. And you can have a group.
What’s the difference between a profile and a page and a group? A profile is for individual people. You have your name, location and contact info; share your personal photos and status updates; and you add other profiles as “friends” on your profile. A page is for organizations and businesses, where they have their name, contact info and links; share their pictures and status updates; and post sales and promotions. A group is for building a community – either personal or business – where both personal or business related topics can be shared.
Your business page
Facebook has some rules about how to use Facebook for your business. The most important rule is: you must not use your personal profile exclusively for your business. So if your personal profile status updates are all about your business, you’re going to run into trouble! It’s fine to share one or two things daily on your personal profile, but keep your personal profile mostly personal. Create a page for your business, and share all your business things on there.
Your business page is like a profile for your business. Like your personal profile, you want to showcase your business personality. So brand your page with your business logo, create a cover photo with your colors and fonts in a header, and include a link to your site. You can also edit the button to direct page followers to sign up for your email list, contact you, or go to your store or site.
Privacy, security and Facebook
For all that Facebook is a social media sharing site, it offers some great privacy and security tools. You’ll find them in the settings section (on a desktop, they are in the top right hand corner, with a little triangle or arrow). On your profile, you can control who sees every single post (public, friends, even specific friends rather than all of them, etc), and you can control what goes on your timeline. Obviously you can add or delete friends too. A business page offers similar controls. You can control when posts go out, and you can ban followers or people who have “liked” your page from commenting or even seeing your posts.
In a group, as the owner, you get a lot of control over your group. You can have a group that is public, meaning anyone can see it, anyone can join it without needed to be added, and anyone can post to it, once they are a member. A closed group means anyone can see the group, but they have to request to be added, and they can’t see posts until after they are added. A secret group is one that can’t be seen publicly, and new members must be added by admin, rather than requesting to join.
For closed and secret groups, admins can ask prospective members questions before accepting them into the group. This gives admins the chance to vet new members and weed out potential scammers or trolls. (A troll is someone who posts simply to cause trouble, make someone angry and even to bully someone.) As an admin, one of the best practices is to make one of those questions a request for the member’s email address, so you can add them to your email list.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook is increasingly pushing for advertising dollars. So when you publish posts on your page, you may regularly see offers from Facebook to “boost” that post. That means that Facebook will prioritize your page’s post to a wider audience, for a small fee. Boosting is simply a form of advertising, specific to a post that you’ve already created.
You can also create ads for Facebook, separate from your existing posts. Facebook’s ad manager can be overwhelming for a new entrepreneur, but that’s because they give you a lot of control over who, what and how much to spend. While detailing just how to use Facebook’s ad manager, and how to create Facebook ads is too much for this post (I recommend Lori Hardegee for help on how to use Facebook ads). Facebook advertising can be an effective, and affordable, investment for marketing.
Facebook rules for businesses
So Facebook has recently changed their rules for how businesses and organizations can use the social media platform. They are always updating to reflect their users’ wants and needs, but the changes made in the beginning of 2018 are significant.
First, Facebook has focused on making sure that personal users’ newsfeeds concentrate on friends and family rather than on pages. That means that if you want your business page to gain followers and your posts to be seen, you have to create quality, engaging content. One way to gain followers is share other pages’ quality posts, and “piggyback” on their success. This is how a post will go viral, meaning that it gets constantly shared and interacted with, in large numbers. We’re talking millions of views, and thousands of shares, likes and comments. This is one of the best ways how to use Facebook to promote your business.
Second, Facebook has tried to clamp down on spammers and trolls. For the average business owner, this means that copy-and-paste marketing techniques aren’t going to work anymore. You can’t just copy-and-paste a post and drop them into numerous groups, without being marked as “spam” automatically. In fact, simply repeating the same phrase over and over again (such as in a “share thread” in a group, marking “done” on each comment) will get marked as “spam”.
Third, Facebook has banned the use of affiliate links and promotional posts for third-party content anywhere on Facebook. That means you can’t post your affiliate link (but you can post a link to your blog post with affiliate links), and you can’t “sell” your influence on Facebook to sponsors. Know how to use Facebook to promote your own business products rather than anyone else’s.
Use of Schedulers
Facebook is a time-suck for many of us entrepreneurs. Between our personal feeds, and interacting with our own friends and family, our pages and posting what’s going on with our businesses, and then all the different groups you can be part of, we can spend hours and hours on Facebook! I’ve often said, ok, I’m just going to clear the notifications — then an hour goes by, and I’ve done nothing else but read Facebook.
So use tools to help manage your Facebook presence. Facebook has a native scheduler for your page, where you can create a series of posts, and then tell Facebook when to post them. Or you can use other online software to do this for you. You can also use a messenger “bot” to respond to messages in Facebook messenger, when you can’t be around to do it personally. And there are blockers for your browser to help you stay off Facebook when you need to focus on other things.
Facebook is an essential tool for your online business.
Your business must be on Facebook. It’s the first place many people look for reviews, credibility, contact info and information about your business — even before Google. It’s also where you can attract people to your website and email list, and then be able to sell to them. Many people start their online businesses with a Facebook page, before they have a website, and they do quite well!
If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page, you’re missing out. So go get your Facebook page set up.
And then follow me on Facebook!
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