Fifteen years since its founding, and 2.45 billion monthly active users strong, Facebook remains the dominant marketing channel in social media. Yet many small businesses don’t take full advantage of everything it has to offer. In fact, a study from May 2017 showed that only 24 percent of small businesses saw a positive ROI from Facebook.
So how do you take all the likes, comments, and shares and turn them into ROI? Start with a solid strategy to optimize your Facebook page. Here are seven recommendations to get you started.
1. Fill in Your Page Details
It can feel time-consuming when you have a dozen other boiling pots on your business’s proverbial stove, but the details of your Facebook page matter. They allow your company to put its best foot forward and show what you and your team really value.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Profile picture. This is the single visual icon that will set the stage for your Facebook presence. It brands everything you do on the site.
- Cover photo. This can be a great way to promote something special or to mark the change in seasons. And it doesn’t even need to be just a photo—try adding a 60-second video or slideshow for an extra visual pop.
- Custom username. This is a key branding tool to help people remember you and help with page ranking.
- Description. It’s only 250 characters, but it’s your audience’s first opportunity to learn about your business. It also helps increase your page ranking.
- Company website. The sooner you can connect users to your own site, the better. A link from your Facebook page back to your site boosts its rank for your business name, keeping you in control of your company’s online reputation.
- Your business story. Here’s where you can dive a little deeper into who you are and what you do. What is your founder’s story? Why did they start the company? What sets your product or service apart?
2. Set up User Reviews
For many users, their Facebook circle consists of family, friends, and close colleagues. As such, nearly all of them check user reviews and ratings when deciding where to shop. Reviews on Facebook often trend positive compared to other sites, so it is in your best interest to give patrons a platform to express themselves.
3. Keep Your Operating Hours up to Date
This may sound obvious, but accurate hours of operation are an essential piece of information that your visitors need. Facebook’s options for this are more limited than, say, Google My Business, which lets you customize for special events or holidays. But that opens up a marketing opportunity—take out an ad or write a post that highlights your change in schedule. Pin these newsworthy posts to the top of your page, so they’re the first thing your visitors see.
4. Stay Engaged
No matter how optimized your Facebook page may be, you still need to remain active, making frequent updates and engaging with your audience at every opportunity. Here are some quick tips:
- Curate content that’s customized to your audience. Tools such as HootSuite and DrumUp can streamline this process.
- Ask questions that will get your followers talking (and be sure to have answers if they raise any customer service issues). Prompt replies build trust among your followers and look good on your page stats.
- Upgrade your images. In addition to standard photos, try quotes and collages.
- Embrace video. Keep it short and well-annotated, and don’t forget to stream your live events.
5. Hunt down Unofficial Pages
Have you searched for your company name and found pages in addition to your own that carry your name, contact info, location, and ratings? Facebook automatically puts up these pages, which are meant to be temporary until an official page (yours) goes live.
Though these unofficial pages are intended to help customers find your business and leave reviews, they can create confusion and don’t allow you to fully control your online presence. Be sure to claim them and then delete or merge them. These pages will likely continue to pop up over time, so incorporate unofficial page sleuthing into your regular routine.
6. Research the Competition
Consider tools such as Serpstat and BuzzSumo to get the inside scoop on what your competitors are up to on Facebook. They let you see how your fellow businesses rank in keywords; compare numbers of likes, shares, and comments; and drill down to specific areas, such as how they run discussions or troubleshoot complaints.
7. Be Ready for Their Business
Although there are many social media platforms competing for your audience’s eyeballs, Facebook is still a powerful, popular way to find, connect with, and grow your customer base.
Facebook is a great way to lead potential customers to your business, but it doesn’t add up to much if you don’t have a connected POS like Poynt waiting at the other end to provide a seamless payment experience.