This week we are continuing our month long look at products and services that Facebook offers with our Facebook Feature of the Week series. Our topic for this week is Facebook for Business, a service that gives tips and advice about making marketing impact within the social network.
Facebook for Business
It is well-known that Facebook is no longer the university and student social networking site it was initially created as. It's not only a place for people to connect with friends and family, but for many businesses is a way to engage with customers to improve a brand's presence and company revenue. With that ideal in mind, Facebook created Facebook for Business, a guide that helps companies create engaging and successful fan pages that promote interaction through recommendations and shares.
According to Facebook for Business there are steps a business has to take in order to get those coveted recommendations and content shares: Build your Page, Connect with People through adverts, Engage Your Audience with quality content and Influence Friends of Fans.
Build Your Page
At this initial stage it's all about creation, as a business can make its brand as unique as possible through a logo, cover photo and custom web address. Through an administration panel users are able to monitor and edit the page and view insights data.
The Build Your Page section also provides tips and suggestions on how businesses can attract fans. For example posts should be short (between 100 and 250 characters), have a visual component like a video or photo and make sure posted content follows consumer trends.
Connect With People
While the Build Your Business step suggests that as a start, a business should invite its contacts and friends to like their page it needs to build a customer base beyond that, which is wear ads come in. An ad not only promotes a business, but can also attract customers and fans who in turn will share content they like with friends.
In this step a business will learn how to create an advertisement, how to test adverts and measure their performance.
For example, within the Test Multiple Adverts sub topic, Facebook suggests that users should test multiple, differently designed adverts at once to see which one gets the best response, although any design changes should be done one at a time and then tested again after each change to assure that customer reaction data is measured properly. Similar adverts can be created using the “Create a Similar Advert” button.
Engaging Your Audience
In order to keep fans visiting a page, a business has to be talking with them via post threads and constantly sharing new and engaging content, but it also has to be checking analytics to see which of its posted content is most popular.
One of the key pieces of advice in this section is that a business should try to promote its content through a Promoted Post. In doing so this will make sure that a post reaches a larger audience and will improve the likelihood that a potential or current fan will see, comment on or like what is posted.
Influence Friends of Fans
This section focuses on how a business can encourage interactions, run sponsored stories, measure results and what it should do after it has completed these steps.
Making a page attractive and posting engaging content aren't the only ways that a business can lure in new fans and customers. It can utilize its current fans as part of the marketing strategy by targeting their friends.
In encouraging interaction, Facebook recognizes that word of mouth is still the strongest form of advertising and when a fan interacts with a page this creates a story, creating a digital 'word of mouth' format. Therefore, Facebook suggests that a business should encourage fans to “check-in” when visiting its store or office, create and promote events, ask questions and encourage responses and post information that users may want to share with their friends, such as a coupon or daily deal.
Worth a Try?
As a whole Facebook for Business provides a business with relevant tips on how the social network can be used to better its marketing and campaign results through customer engagement. Despite a less than stellar launch in 2011 according to Chelsi Nakano, their method of using a step-by-step guides, with detailed instructions has grown into a well-liked education platform.
There are a number of great guides designed to walk business owners through the process of building their Facebook page, connecting with people, advice on the types of posts to create to spur engagement and how to expand influence on the site,” said Lisa Barone of Small Business Trends. “Digging into any of these categories will also provide links to additional information, allowing you to hone in even further and find exactly what you need.”
Dan O’Halloran of Sprout Social also liked how the service was designed to help marketers.
Facebook is making it easier than ever to use their social-based services to reach new customers,” he said.
As part of these pages, Facebook also offers “best practice tips,” An example with the Connect with People page is that when a company runs multiple adverts in a campaign, Facebook automatically puts more of the budget into higher performing adverts, so the social network recommends that a company put their adverts into different campaigns when testing consumer responses.
Facebook for Business also offers users with updates on products they might find useful, such as the Graph Search and Nearby, a mobile discovery experience for businesses and resources such as Facebook’s Marketing page and Facebook Studio which provides information for brands and agencies.