Facebook For Business; A Comprehensive 8 Step Guide By Harper Roark

Everyone who works in marketing, new media, or eCommerce has read a thousand times how important it is to use social media to promote your business or organization online.  But if you have a new business or blog, or are new to the concept of using social media for eCommerce, figuring out which of the 100+ social media networks to use and how to best use them can be tricky.

As the largest social media network (by a lot), Facebook is both the best place to start and the most important social media network to master.  Facebook currently has more than 1.23 billion active users worldwide.  The number of active users who log onto Facebook every single day is 757 million, and more than 128 million of those daily active users are in the United States. This truly massive group of potential customers is on Facebook every day, ready and waiting for you to reach them with your great content and target them with your advertising.

But where to begin?  Many guides on using Facebook for business focus on either inbound marketing or outbound marketing strategies, with little attention to analytics.  In this article I will cover what I consider to be the most essential aspects of all three elements of marketing for Facebook.

1) Inbound Marketing for Facebook

It is vitally important to use inbound marketing strategies to make sure that the content you produce (rather than merely paid advertising) is drawing people to your website and allowing for organic growth.  This principle of inbound marketing doesn’t just apply to your company’s website, however; it also applies to how you manage your company’s Facebook page.  You want to have a Facebook page that builds trust and credibility for your brand, allowing for organic growth and an increase in sales.  Here are 5 essential steps to successfully use inbound marketing for Facebook:

1. Set Up and Manage Your Facebook Business Page Well

The way that you initially set up your business’s Facebook page matters.  If you are just starting to use Facebook for your business, make sure that you set up a new page specifically for your business.  Do not try to use your personal Facebook page as your business page or set your business Facebook page up as a group that people have to join. 

You should also thoroughly fill out the profile of your business page.  This will build trust and credibility with your target customers.  Select the images you use for your profile picture and header carefully and create images that are the specific dimensions of each image location, rather than having to stretch or crop something in to make it fit the space.  Your images should include the logo and name of your business and be bright, bold, and visually dynamic.

The last strategy for managing your profile to increase trust, loyalty, and sales is to make sure that you are posting quality content to your Facebook page at least every other day, and preferably every single day.  Frequent posting shows your potential customers that you are on top of your marketing, which will inspire confidence that you are on top of other aspects of your business (like production, shipping, and management) as well.

2. Create Reliable, Customer-Focused Content

So you know you should be posting content every day to establish trust and credibility with your potential customers.  But what kind of content should you post?

The goal with inbound marketing is to have the answer to your customer’s question already there waiting for them when they start looking.  This allows them to find their way to your business organically, without you having to interrupt something they were doing with your ad.  In keeping with this principle, you want to make sure that your content focuses on your customers and what will be interesting or relevant to them, rather than constant promotion of your company, products, or sales. 

This will require you to think carefully about exactly who your target audience is and what the best ways to grab their attention will be once they start looking for information.  You’re going to use different phrasing, images, etc. if you’re selling bed sheets than you are if you’re selling cosmetics or fishing poles or gluten-free birthday cakes.  

Posts with images are significantly more likely to be liked and shared on Facebook, so everything you post should include an image.  Better yet, your post should include a graphic that has both an image and words arranged together in a dynamic way. 

3. Effectively Promote Your Best Content

Once you have created customer-focused content that you are proud of, make sure that you are effectively promoting that content.  There are a couple of ways you can accomplish this.  

First, make sure that you call your readers to action by asking them to like, share, and comment on each post.  You don’t always have to ask for all three actions, but your content is more likely to be liked and shared if you ask people to like and share it.  Why is this important?  Because Facebook, unlike Twitter, does not automatically place your posts in the newsfeed of every person that likes your business page.  So how do they decide which posts get shown to more people?  Based on the number of likes, shares, and comments a post has.  As Facebook sees that your post is popular, it will share your post with more of your followers (and friends of any followers who like or share you post). 

The second way to increase the number of people who see your posts is by “boosting” your posts.  This is a paid promotional strategy in which you pay for Facebook to place your post in the newsfeed of more people (more of your followers, as well as friends of your followers, and other similar people) regardless of how many likes, shares, and comments your post has.  You can also designate a certain amount of money to be spent on boosting posts per month, and Facebook will automatically allot more of your budget toward the content that is performing the best.  

4. Demonstrate Your Excellent Customer Service

One of the most effective ways to increase brand trust and loyalty is to make sure you respond authentically to any critical feedback you receive on Facebook.  Be prompt in your response and make sure that you adequately make amends with the customer, whether that requires an apology, a refund, or a gift (like a coupon, discount, or replacement).  This display of good customer service will go a long way toward inspiring loyalty for your company when potential customers see how well you have addressed the concerns and complaints of other customers.

5. Use “Facebook Connect” and Promote Your Facebook Page in Other Places

Don’t forget to make sure you have “Facebook Connect” buttons on your business website that will allow people who find your website to easily “like” your business Facebook page from other sites.  If someone finds your website while looking for an answer or a product, you want them to “like” your Facebook page while they’re there. 

You can also suggest that people “like” your business on Facebook when you send emails or mailers, run ads, tweet, etc.  Every person you can get to like your business on Facebook is a person that you will be able to reach much more easily again in the future.

Outbound Marketing for Facebook

Inbound marketing is all the craze these days, but it’s important to remember that outbound marketing can be an effective use of resources too, if done well, especially for your products, services, and sales.  Here are the two most effective ways to use outbound marketing for Facebook:

6. Run Paid Ads on Facebook

Paid advertising with Facebook can be purchased at all price points, organized in different ways (including daily budgets and lifetime-of-the-ad budgets), placed in different locations (next to the newsfeed or directly in the newsfeed), and purchased on a per-1000-impressions or pay-per-click basis.  

The advantage with these types of ads, rather than just paying to boost your posts, is that you can directly promote your business website and products, rather than just your Facebook page and posts.  These sorts of ads are the better place to advertise actual products, services, and sales you are offering, because they are not also posted to your Facebook page.  That means that when someone visits your Facebook page, they are not seeing lots of business-focused outbound marketing ads, but rather your customer-focused inbound marketing posts.  This will help to preserve the trust and credibility of your brand.

7. Target Your Ads Well

Facebook conveniently offers extensive targeting options, including gender, location, relationship status, education, career, “liking” things similar to your business or products, etc. that are very quick and easy to use.  You can also target different groups of people with different ads, so that you’re reaching the right people for each individual product or message. 

Analytics for Facebook

8. Use “Facebook Insights” to Analyze Which Content is Best

Facebook business pages come automatically equipped with the Facebook analytics feature, which is called “Facebook Insights.”  This feature will tell you exactly how many people have viewed each post or ad, clicked on each post or ad, and how much money was spent on each boost or ad, so that you can easily determine which type of content is performing the best among which types of customers and potential customers.  Then you can use this valuable information to create and promote more of the right content to the right people.

If you use these 8 strategies to achieve a balance of inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and analytics, you will have a thriving Facebook business page and increased trust, brand loyalty, and sales before you know it!


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