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Facebook & What It Can Do For Your Business – Part 4
Getting the most out of your online business presence – How To Manage Your Company’s Facebook Page.
So, you’ve created your business page on Facebook. Every box is checked, each form is filled out. You’ve even gotten your feet wet creating a few posts. Customers (and soon-to-be customers) are interacting with your brand. You’ve probably even seen an uptick in your physical foot traffic. Things are picking up steam.
Now’s the perfect time to really dial in. Because once you start to round out a few basic principles, you’ll truly be able to maximize your results.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can start doing that will really grab user attention.
A Feast For The Eyes — Think about it: when you’re scrolling through your own Facebook page, What grabs your attention the most? Were I to venture a guess, I’d say big, bright colors, and beautiful pictures. 85% of businesses that market on Facebook make strategic use of eye-catching photos in order to slow the scroll. Several studies have clearly shown that visual imagery in a Facebook ad grabs attention better than text alone by several orders of measure.
But what if you’re not a professional photographer? Not to worry. Most people who post Facebook photos aren’t. But if you have a smartphone, you have a camera. A camera you can use to take photos, and post them directly to your business page.
Keep your eyes open. Is the morning sun really making the chrome pickups on your guitar wall shine? Just bought up a particularly nice collection of jewelry? Hey, even if all you did was change the letters on the sign out in front, a picture is worth a thousand words. Snap a shot of whatever catches YOUR eye, and chances are, it’ll grab some customer attention, as well. From there, a quick headline and a sentence or two of copy, and you’ve got content.
Still, even if all you have to post is a sale announcement, updated weekend hours, or a holiday buying event, Facebook has some nice post tools that will let you throw a colorful background behind your text to keep it from lying flat on the page. Take advantage of those eyeball-grabbers, and you’ll definitely increase your engagement.
Take a Ride on the Carousel — Facebook’s “Carousel” ads are a fairly recent innovation. These ads allow small businesses to post a single ad that features several photos in horizontal succession. Users can scroll through them, and see a variety of photos all geared toward gathering interest.
Not only do these ads allow you to post several images for a fraction of the cost of running multiple single-photo ads, but Facebook users love them. A recent Facebook case study showed that these multi-photo ads showed engagement rates of nearly three-and-a-half times their static counterparts.
Sure, they cost a little more. But if you’ve recently done a big buy on one particular category of item, or you have a given segment you’re looking to close out of, Carousel ads can be a great, economical way to let customers know you have a deep and varied range of merchandise on offer.
Get Moving — Moving pictures, that is. Because as much as photos increase engagement, videos ramp it up even more.
Making use of video ads can really set your business apart. Currently, video posts only make up about 3% of Facebook ads, but enjoy greater engagement numbers than photos alone. A little movement will really make your content pop. And, again…If you’re not an Oscar-worthy filmmaker, it doesn’t really matter. The same camera you use to take pictures on your phone can also be used to shoot high-quality HD video that will look great on laptop and smartphone screens. Just point, shoot, and upload.
Video content can be anything, as long as it’s fun and interesting. Say you just bought a drum set. Chances are, you or someone you know can keep a beat. So have a seat, and give it a go. Many potential customers are wary of buying secondhand tools, so why not take that router out back, and offer folks a demo? A diamond shot against a black velvet jewelry pad is a nice image, but giving the stone a spin in the right lighting conditions can really show of the sparkle and shine.
Of course, you’re not limited to just product videos. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can also shoot what are called “explainer” videos. These are short, 1-3 minute clips wherein someone who’s an expert on a given subject breaks something down for people who may be new to it. Maybe you have potential customers in your area who aren’t aware of how the pawn business works. I’m sure they’d be reassured by a quick 90-second overview of what the buying process is. Or a friendly face telling them that all merchandise sold at your stores is guaranteed for a given period. Or pick a subject from your website’s FAQ, and make a video about it.
If none of that is your style, then just get silly, and have fun with it. Shoot a video of a staff member riding an on-sale 10-speed around the parking lot singing your jingle. Put an ad out for a local band to come and play a song using your in-store instruments. Film a time-lapse of the staff putting together a crazy holiday display, or even a slow-mo video of a paintball fight. You could even shoot a TV-style 30-second commercial spot. Shoot the kind of video you’d want to see — one that really shows off the personality and character of your business — and the odds are far better than fair that your customers will want to see it, too.
Some of the most viral videos in existence are just enjoyable and entertaining, so if you don’t want to take yourself too seriously, then don’t. Your only limit is your imagination.
Delegate and Diversify — Once you’ve figured out the kinds of ads you want to create (and established a base standard for quality), then it’s time to share the reins.
Chances are, you don’t want to be stuck creating all the content yourself. Taking a photo or a video only takes a few minutes, and posting only a few seconds, but even so. That time can add up, especially if you’re posting several times a day (which is recommended, but more on that in a bit). In any case, you have a business to run.
So, depending on your needs and budget, you can delegate the actual creation of the content to someone else. Maybe it’s a trusted employee who’d be happy to take on a little more responsibility. Or, you may want to hire a full-time social media coordinator. There are even third-party companies who can handle your post creation on a professional level for a sliding fee scale depending on how much you’re able to spend on promotion and marketing.
When you decide what your most advisable strategy is, you’ll have a better idea of how best to plan your content creation. Once you do, hop on over to Facebook’s Business Manager Page, and start delegating roles to your chosen representatives. Once there, you’ll have the ability to assign different page roles to other people within your business, or whomever you choose. The process is simple; Facebook will explain the varying levels of responsibility, and walk you through how to break out the assignments. And you can always add or revoke personnel duties from within the admin panel if things change later.
Once you’ve completed a few basic steps, you’ll be able to link your business page and ad account with the manager tools, and everything will sync automatically. Easy-peasy, posting’s breezy.
Community Wrangling — This is a sticky one. It’s not always pleasant to talk about, but it’s a necessary step to consider.
In an ideal world, everyone we engage with on our business page is a fan, friend, and/or satisfied customer. But sadly, that’s not always the case. The internet is full of trolls, griefers, and other assorted ne’er-do-wells that seemingly delight in being angry, and/or inappropriate. And they must be dealt with rationally.
Perhaps a customer felt you low-balled them on an item they were trying to sell. Or they assumed the price on something they wanted to buy was too high. Maybe they got an item home, it didn’t perform to their expectations, and now they’re irritated. Worst-case scenario, you dealt with someone who just got up on the wrong side of the bed, and nothing you could’ve done was going to make them happy that day. It happens.
Years ago, people would just word-of-mouth bash you to their friends. But the internet has given every disgruntled customer a platform, and a digital megaphone from which to shout their grievances from the digital rooftops. When they do it on places like Yelp or Google Reviews, there’s not a lot you can do but grit your teeth and offer a rebuttal. But when customers decide to unload their dissatisfaction on your Facebook business page, then you have a few more options.
Obviously, annoyed customers spewing vitriol all over your page can negatively impact your business. And the knee-jerk response is always to dismiss them, delete them, or even fight back. But remember: if their griping is public, then so is your response. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Even though it can be tough to keep a cool head in a combative situation, it definitely behooves you to remain professional.
It helps to imagine the customer is complaining to your face in front of a store full of customers trying to make purchasing decisions. If you got into a shouting match in that scenario, people might get uncomfortable, put items back, and leave the store. But when the same thing happens in a virtual setting, the audience is even larger. And since you can’t see people backing away, you have no idea how much you’re costing yourself.
So…be courteous. Even though the complaint may be irrational, unfounded, or incorrect, do your best to understand and assuage customer concern just as you would if it were happening face-to-face. Acknowledge their issue, offer a reasonable solution, and then back away. The customer can choose to be rational at that point, or continue kicking and screaming. Either way, you’ve done what you need to, and your hands are clean. Because if you get dragged into an argument, it will only end up looking bad for you. You know what they say about mud- wrestling with a pig: You just get dirty. The pig enjoys it.
Of course, if the customer continues to be belligerent or inappropriate even after you do your best to reasonably defuse things, then you can always just delete their posts, and/or block them from being able to post on your page. As always, it’s up to you. Just try to adapt the same tactics you’ve always used to mitigate customer issues in-store to work in a digital setting, and chances are, you’ll be fine.
Post Early, Post Often — The last and most important piece of advice for successful business page management is often the one that’s most overlooked. Specifically, create content, and create a lot of it.
The more posts you put up on your Facebook page, the greater the chance that the all-powerful, inscrutable algorithm will serve it to your followers and customers. This in turn gives your followers more opportunities to interact with, and share your content.
A good base level to shoot for is a classic “Morning/Noon/Night” 3-post schedule; i.e., a post when you open, a post at lunch, and one a few hours before you close for the day. You can either log in at these points and create the posts in real time, or set aside a bit of your day to write the posts out ahead of time. You can then use the built-in scheduling feature to automatically publish the posts at designated times.
Ideally, you’ll want to shoot for somewhere in the neighborhood of eight posts per day. That sounds like a lot, and it kind of is. But remember: Facebook won’t show every piece of your content to every follower every time. So if you up your posting schedule a bit above the bare minimum, you’ll increase your chances of getting seen.
Of course, posting TOO much can come off as intrusive. So, resist the temptation to create dozens of posts in a day. Not only with this invert the algorithm (which has a tendency to de-prioritize overkill, and actually serve FEWER posts if you overdo it), but you’ll also run the risk of crossing the line from informative to intrusive. Use your best judgment.
As for the types of posts, definitely mix it up. Emphasize variety. If you’re only in for three posts, then pick the three things you’d most like people to know on any given day. Maybe one is an announcement of an upcoming or current sale or promo, two is a featured item of the day, and three is a reminder that you’re looking to buy high-quality items in your preferred merchandise niche. If you’re upping your post count, then you can do all of these, and maybe double up on one or two; e.g., two featured items, or a specific call for people to bring in guns or guitars for loan or sale. And it’s always a good idea to deep-six the hard sell for a post or two, as well. Ask a fun poll question, or talk casually about a current event in your area.
As with most things, this is hardly a comprehensive guide, or hard-wired set of rules. But here’s hoping that you’re getting a better idea of how to create Facebook content that encourages interaction. Because the more someone engages with you and your business, the more they know you’re a great place to drop in, and drop some cash.
Have fun, and happy posting!