Facebook is nothing new, but when it comes to using the platform for professional purposes, many business owners are at a loss. Building a community takes time and effort but it’s not hard when the right approach is taken. If you’re struggling to grow an audience and can’t seem to engage users on your company’s profile page, follow these guidelines for improving your overall Facebook strategy.
According to a 2012 survey by ROI Research, 44% of respondents reported that they were more likely to engage with brands if messages contained pictures. More so than video or plain text, photos draw users in quickly and make them curious about the content. A financial education company, Online Trading Academy, found that posting photos of traders at their workstations dramatically increased engagement with the Facebook page. Those traders who were featured were eager to share the pictures with friends and the campaign drew numerous comments, “likes”, and shares from followers.
Questions are a great way to increase the number of comments on your home page and also generate a higher edge rank score for certain posts. If you ask a question that receives several replies, that activity will appear in more newsfeeds. The more visibility a post has, the more comments and likes it can earn. It’s a cycle of engagement where the more interaction there is on the page, the more interaction there will be. Asking questions is also a great way to informally survey customers and adjust your business model to better satisfy them.
Update Cover Picture
This is a great trick for increasing brand exposure and boosting edgerank. When a major update occurs on a profile page – things like updating the cover picture or changing a relationship status – the Facebook algorithm ranks it more highly than other activity and bumps it up higher in more friends’ newsfeeds. This exposure will generate higher engagement with the page and will often lead to new likes and followers. It’s a good idea to update the cover photo to something relevant and eye catching. Some companies opt to change theirs with the seasons; others update it to reflect industry news or events.
You can direct traffic to specific links or pages with Facebook’s promoted posts. This increases post exposure and lasts longer in newsfeeds than an ordinary status update. For example, if your business receives press or other positive reviews, you can point your customers towards the article by posting a link on the Facebook page. Then, for a small fee (usually between $5 and $15) you can pay to promote the post for the next several days and target either friends of the business or an extended network. Promoting posts means that people who might never have heard of your company are exposed to it and become familiar with the brand. Eventually, these folks who engage with your Facebook page are likely to become real-life, paying customers.
Ultimately, using social media for small business is what you make of it. If you don’t put in much effort, you won’t get a lot out. But by regularly interacting with your followers, asking questions, posting pictures, and staying engaged, you can boost community involvement with the page and see your efforts rewarded.
By Brian Patterson. Follow him on Google +.