Facebook is not only a social networking website, it is also a platform. While the main action takes place on the Facebook website or mobile app, the driver for much of that action is the network of millions of other websites that have Facebook plugins embedded, such as like and share buttons, comment boxes and content feeds. One article cannot cover the whole phenomenon comprehensively, so with this article I am focusing on business pages. How can you grow a business page that helps to drive traffic and, more importantly, sales?
The difference between Facebook pages and profiles
Many businesses have created Facebook profiles, which is against the rules. The reason they have done this is, usually, because they want to create a separation between work content and personal content. While that’s understandable, there is a better way to do it. A profile is for real people – not brands and not pets, and certainly not fake personas. A page is for brands, clubs, interests, whatever.
To create a page on Facebook you must have a Facebook personal profile, but you don’t need to be public. You can have privacy settings on your own profile – any posts you make on your page appear as being from the page and the general public don’t get to see who the admins are. A page can have multiple administrators, which makes it a great way for several people from one company to contribute to the page.
Building your Facebook page following
The hardest work with a Facebook page is getting it going and growing your audience. You’ve created a nice header image, a nice thumbnail and you have added some photos, but you don’t have many people liking your page. What can you do? Here are some ideas.
- Send an email to your mailing list promoting your page and asking people to go and like it.
- Make sure the page is promoted on your website, using a Facebook logo or plugin.
- Embed a Facebook social plugin somewhere on your site.
- Ask for shares – if you publish a promo or something worthy of being shared, ask your audience to share it. Sometimes the prompts makes a difference.
Take a look at Red Rocket Media’s Facebook Marketing packages.
Content that gets more followers
The content that gets the best visibility is content that gets people liking, sharing and commenting. Post a link to a news story that’s on your website and you may find the best that brings you is a few clicks through to your website. If you want to drive conversation, think outside the box. Prize draws and offers are popular incentives but also it’s useful to find fun things to share from YouTube or other websites. Give your audience content they will enjoy and that they are likely to want to share.
Respond to your audience when they post comments. Each new comment means you get more visibility in front of the friends of the person commenting, so there is value in trying to drive the conversation to encourage more comments.
Running a competition or special offer exclusively on your Facebook page is a good way to increase your fans. Facebook rules state that you must not use “like this” or “share this” as an entry mechanism (despite what you may see lots of websites doing). What you can do is ask people to like your page to gain access to your draw. To give you an idea of how effective this can be, earlier this year I ran a prize draw on a Facebook page and the number of likes for the page increased 1,000%.
Convert your page fans into leads
One of the big marketing challenges on Facebook is that you cannot see the details of the people who are liking a page. What you should do is introduce a mechanism that converts these anonymous people into an email address. Again, a prize draw is a way to do this, but you could use a download offer or another special offer. You can create a page tab in your page where you serve a registration form which allows you to capture email addresses, then you can build a relationship with those people through email. There are app companies like Involver and North Social that can help with plug and play apps, but you can also create your own.
There are also some useful Facebook shop apps (some free) that enable you to create a shop within your Facebook page, so you can sell direct from there.