Do You Need a Facebook Page?
The first thing you need to consider is whether your business needs to be on Facebook. Yes, we're always being told that businesses should be using social media but if you jump on the bandwagon to 'have an online presence' but never check the Page to engage with customers then this might not be for you. What Facebook does offer is the chance to spread the word about your business quite quickly as like-minded people can share your information with a simple click.
Page Not Profile
An individual has a Facebook Profile and a business needs a Facebook Page. To set up a Page you need to have a personal Profile first but that will not be seen by anyone who 'Likes' the Page. It's simply so Facebook knows someone who is responsible for the Page. You can have more than one person responsible for the Page and they are called 'Admins'.
The cover image and the profile image need to say something about your business and make it recognisably 'you'. A photo of you/your shop or one of your best-selling products is a good place to start but you can change your cover image as often as you like.
Cover image size:
851 px by 315 px. Here's a handy Facebook Cover Image Template.
Profile image size:
Upload images 180 px by180 px (appears at 160 px by 160 px).
Under your Profile image is the About section and around 155 characters will be displayed. This explains what your business is all about and yes, that's not much space so include your website address there too, if possible.
Invite People to Your Page
Just as with any new online presence there's no point being there if no-one knows about you so tell people. Add your FB Page link to your website and the full URL to business documents. Use the fact you have your own personal network of Facebook 'Friends' who will probably support you so invite Friends to Like your Page.
Create a Vanity URL
Once your Page has 25 Likes you can change the Page URL. This is good for SEO and for customers as it's easier to remember your company name than a series of numbers.
- Log in to Facebook with your Personal account that manages the Page.
- Go to: https://www.facebook.com/username/
- Select the Page you want to work on and then type your preferred username. A username can include capital letters which is worth considering if there are a few words in your company name.
- Click on 'Check Availability' and if your choice is not already used you can claim it by clicking on 'Confirm'.
- The username sets your Facebook URL so if you choose 'WibdyDobdyDoo' as your username your Page URL will be www.facebook.com/WibdyDobdyDoo.
Call to Action
No-one wants lots of status updates coming at them with no offer to engage. Asking a question is the best way to start a conversation. If you have more information on your website then share a link to that but the conversation needs to take place on Facebook as that's where you asked the question. The reader is already logged in there and doesn't want to set up an account to chat on your site or Forum as well.
We all like a great image so include them and not just text. And remember you're not limited to a character count as you are on twitter so write full, grammatically correct sentences. Everyone appreciates that.
If you are trying to drive traffic to your website it's still important to not only provide links to your website. This is not just another place to sell your product. Your Facebook Page is the right place to share other content you think is good with customers who will also appreciate it so don't resist posting a link or photo to another company's content.
Don't believe that each 'Like' on a Facebook post means a click through to your website and therefore more website traffic (even when you do provide the link). Many will like a FB post without clicking through as the post is what they like.
Yes, this is your professional shop front but don't be an autotron and remember Facebook users like to be entertained. When all else fails a photo of a cute kitten will always bring a Like. Don't be disheartened; it's a competitive marketplace in the average FB user's timeline and your posts are appearing amongst lots of other appealing information such as invitations to parties and new baby photos.
I've often enjoyed a 'virtual cuppa' with my online network so if you think it's time to chat offer to 'put the kettle on' and take the pretend drink orders. It's just an excuse to shoot the breeze and get to know each other.
Highlighting a post is a great way to bring awareness to an important status update but as so many of your customers will see your posts in their timeline and will not actually come to your page I'm not totally convinced of its value. It does spread the post across the two columns so for those who do come to your Page it will get noticed. Remember to change these regularly as people are lazy and may not scroll below and see what else you've been posting.
You'll read reports that say 5pm on a Thursday is the best time to run a competition or those that engage first thing in the morning get the best results but every business is different and every time zone so simply know that popping in to chat on your FB Page a few times a day is best, if possible. If you don't engage with the FB users who Like your Page then why should they continue to be there? Simply adding a Like to a nice comment from a user can be a good way to show you've read it and appreciate it.
Drip Feed Content
You can schedule posts to appear at a later time or date so as you find something you'd like to share consider setting some posts to appear later to use your time more efficiently. Space out your posts so you don't overwhelm and annoy customers by filling their Timeline at once.
As your Page grows there are many more ways to read your analytics (Facebook Insights) and to promote your Page with Facebook Ads to a targeted audience on FB by gender, age, status, location, etc. But all of the tips here are free and sound advice to get you started. There's more good advice on socialmediatoday.com.