By Brian Lindamood, Manta
There’s no doubt that every small business needs a healthy presence on Facebook. With 68 percent of all US adults using the social media platform, according to Pew Research Center, Facebook is your digital front door for many customers.
Your Facebook business page is often one of the top search results on Google for your business name – and it's displayed along with an average star rating of Facebook reviews. This is where prospects frequently start their search before making purchase decisions or picking local service providers.
Yet many small-business owners are missing out. According to a recent Manta poll, only 50 percent of small-business owners believe they get a positive return on investment from their Facebook marketing efforts. But that doesn’t make sense! If Facebook is such a great opportunity, why is the ROI so disappointing?
The answer is that many of these business owners simply aren't putting in enough time or effort. The same Manta poll found that 58 percent of business owners spend less than one hour a week on Facebook, and most of them post new content just a few times a month. Facebook marketing doesn't have to be especially time consuming or expensive, but it's not free. You do have to put something into it if you want to get something out of it.
Where to begin? By following these three tips, you can supercharge your Facebook business page to get a much better return for just a little extra effort.
1. Keep Your Content Fresh
The average Facebook user spends nearly an hour every day on the social platform, according to the New York Times. With constant mobile connections and push notifications on our smartphones, it's no longer a matter of "checking" Facebook a few times a day. It's always on.
So, what do your followers see throughout the day? They should see fresh content on your business page.
Most small businesses should post new Facebook content at least once every day. If you have enough relevant content, you can post two or three times a day, but don’t share weak content just for the sake of posting – you don’t want to turn off followers by filling their feeds with content they’re not interested in.
Don’t have something to say about your business every day? That’s even better! Most of your social media content should not be about your business – it should be about your customers. Look for content that would interest them, from community news and events to support of your favorite local sports teams. You can also share the love with posts about other small businesses, such as shop-local messages to promote your chamber of commerce or neighborhood business association.
2. Say It with Pictures
Like most social sites, Facebook is a visual platform. To get the most engagement with followers – a.k.a. lots of likes and shares – every post should be accompanied by an attractive, eye-catching photo.
The first step is to use high-quality photos. Make sure every shot is well lit, in focus, and thoughtfully composed with a clear focal point. Busy, out-of-focus snapshots may be OK for your personal Facebook page, but on your business page you want to reinforce a professional image with professional-quality photos (even if you take them yourself).
You can boost the impact of your images by adding text or graphical elements. One option is to use Canva, a surprisingly powerful and easy design tool that’s tailor-made to create shareable social images. The free version of Canva will cover the needs of most small business users, but you can also buy additional templates, fonts, and stock photos.
An appealing presentation is also important for your overall Facebook business page. This starts with your cover photo, the large banner image that stretches across the top of your page. If your Facebook business page is your front door to the social media world, then your cover photo is the big sign hanging over that door – the first thing visitors see, and your best opportunity to attract their interest and keep them on the page. Make sure it’s attractive, up-to-date, and relevant to your business.
3. Boost Your Proven Winners
Too many business owners still think that social media marketing is free. While digital platforms are relatively affordable, you should expect to spend some money to get your content in front of potential customers. On Facebook, "boosting" a post with a promotional budget is the only way to cut through the clutter of your followers’ newsfeeds and make sure it’s seen by as many eyeballs as possible.
Fortunately, you have complete control over how much you spend. To get the most bang for your buck, start small – allocate just $5 to boost a post you think will be popular. If you’re disappointed with the results, cut your losses and move on to the next post. But if the engagement exceeds your expectations – garnering lots of likes and shares – you can add to the budget, boosting it with another $20 (or more). This way, you’ll minimize the amount of promotional money you waste on duds and spend more of your budget on proven winners.
Facebook can’t be ignored. Most of your customers use the social network to get info about local businesses, and the success of your business page will go a long way toward determining your reputation on Facebook. By following these tips and devoting just a little more time and money to the social site, you will start seeing a real return for your Facebook marketing efforts.
About the Author
Brian Lindamood, content director for Manta, is passionate about great marketing and management advice. Manta helps small business owners succeed on their own terms with educational resources and digital marketing tools that are simple and effective.