Facebook often brings about quite the array of questions in even the most seasoned of marketers’ minds. Once you come to the conclusion that it is a great medium to add to your social advertising mix, the big how-to question comes into play.
The truth is, the medium is changing so rapidly to create a specific, step-by-step, “how to succeed on Facebook” type of post would quickly be out of date. So rather than searching for all of the right answers specific to your unique industry and situation, take note of the following guidelines and tools to spice up your Facebook page.
1. Adapt to new trends
Facebook is infamous for making big platform changes, the latest being the introduction of the Timeline layout. While they aren’t always well received, the majority of people come around and learn to love them. The biggest reason to adapt, however, is that Facebook is not easily swayed back to old ways. When they develop their platform and features they keep moving forward – they understand that their users will grow to like the change eventually. If you are stuck in your ways you’ll miss out on the increasing effectiveness of platform upgrades.
(P.S. If you are looking for some Timeline inspiration, check out this FB Timeline round-up!)
2. Sync with other networks
One of the most overwhelming elements of social media for many businesses is the misperception of the time commitment. Yes, it does take time, but often not as much as business think. One of my favorite aspects of online marketing is the interconnectedness of all of the networks – it so easy to sync your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, and all of your other online marketing efforts. If you haven’t done this yet, check out these tools:
- Twitter – Facebook: Sign into your Twitter account and navigate to the profile options in the settings panel. Scroll down and click the button “Post Your Tweets to Facebook”. Sign into your Facebook account, follow the prompts, select the page you want to sync, and click save!
- Blog – Facebook: Because not all blogs are created exactly the same there is a little bit more variation with syncing your blog to your Facebook page. Most blogging platforms offer an option to publish to social networks, but if yours doesn’t do that there a variety of tools that will work great for this. The two I recommend the most are Hootsuite and RSSGraffiti.
- LinkedIn – Facebook: This requires a work around for now, but by simply syncing your LinkedIn account to your Twitter account and your Twitter account to your Facebook account all three networks will work together.
3. Build community
I can just about guarantee that anytime the words “social media strategy” come out of my mouth, the word “community” will shortly follow. If you get anything from this post, let it be this: community is of the utmost importance when it comes to your Facebook strategy. There are a lot of different ways you can engage, but the bottom line is that you engage and cultivate a community. If your fans don’t feel like you want them to be part of your community, they’ll leave. A Facebook page without fans won’t do much for your business.
A key point to remember when you are building community is that it’s not always about your company’s products. Sure, your fans liked your page because they like your business, but hearing about your products over and over again probably isn’t the reason they log on to Facebook. You can post about your products and ask your fans about their thoughts about your products, but include posts about your company’s personality, people, and mission. Share the latest viral video hits and incorporate the latest trends into your conversation.
5. Set up analytics
You can review an entire arsenal of online measurement tools here (link to Top 8 Tools to Monitor SEO/Online Marketing (C)). Find the one the suites you best and sign up right away. At the very least, monitor Facebook insights closely to gauge how well your campaign is going.
6. Add a share button to your blog
If you want your blog’s visitors to share a post, give them an easy way to do it.
7. Integrate social into your advertising
Simply add Facebook’s logo to your other advertising to push people to your profile. An invitation goes a long way and can encourage/remind your audience to check out your page while they are checking their profile.
8. Research your audience
Just like in any marketing effort, research is important to know the behavior or your audience. When are they most likely on the network? What type of media do they like the best? How often do you need to update to keep their attention? What keywords and topics generate the most buzz?
9. Use unique URLs
You used to be able to have a default tab for Facebook pages so you could direct your visitors to a specific promotion or game. Those days are gone, but not all is lost. Each of your Facebook page apps have a unique URL that can be used to your advantage. Any landing pages or links from your business’ website should utilize the unique URL so you can once again have some control over what part of your business page your visitors are directed to.
10. Highlight important posts
A new feature that was introduce with timelines is the ability to highlight stories. By hovering over the post you’ll notice a greyed out star in the top right corner. Simple click on it and the size of the story expands over both columns on your page’s layout – a perfect way to draw extra attention to a big event. Of course, you won’t want to do this for every story because it will lose it’s effect.
11. Take time to compose your posts
Spending a little extra time to craft a message that will incite interaction and sharing can add a big boost to your plan. Researching the reaction of your fan base will also benefit you in this area – what types of posts do your fans like? What trending phrases can you include in your posts (ex. the awkward moment when, truth is, etc.).
12. Know the sizes
Optimize the images you use by knowing what size to crop them to:
- Cover Photo: 851 x 315 pixels
- Profile Picture: 180 x 315 pixels
- Thumbnail image for apps: 111 x 74 pixels
- Highlighted & Milestone Images: 843 x 403 pixels
- Images within wall posts display as 404 x 404 pixels
13. Know the tools and apps available
Maybe you’re ready to amp up your Facebook presence, maybe not. Either way, it’s always a good idea to be looking into the future and the tools it will take you to reach your long term goals. Here are a few my favorite Facebook resources:
- Facebook Newsroom: Keep track of stats, news, products, ads, and so much more.
- Avenue Social: A great custom app developer. If you don’t have someone in-house to create an app for your page, these guys are a great option.
- North Social: Similar to Avenue, these guys do great work too.
- MediaFeedia: Manage multiple pages, schedule content, delegate work, track analytics, and distribute deals with this online system.
- BuddyMedia: This robust suite of products can help you build and maintain relationships on Facebook.
- Simply Measured: Take your analytics past Facebook Insights with this super intuitive analytics tool.
Now get over to Facebook and spend some time hanging out with your fans!