Facebook marketing tips for creative businesses

Facebook is a great marketing tool for small businesses. It is one of the most visited websites in the world and perfect for engaging with customers and attracting new ones. From ads to Facebook groups, Facebook has lots of tools that you can use.

Create a business page

A business page is a great way to communicate directly with your target audience. People follow your page because they want to…and want to see more about you and your business. Having a business page also means you get access to Facebook insights, which give useful information about your followers and how they interact with your page.

It’s important to add a profile and cover photo that reflects what your business does. Use high-quality images, as they will in some instances, be the first impression you make on your audience.

Customise your page as much as you can – include your business name, address, and contact information. You can add your website URL, business hours and details of your products. There is even the option of having a Facebook shop for your products.

Use keywords throughout that tell your followers, readers, and Facebook what your page and business is all about.

Tell your story – there’s a section where you can write more about your business, so tell your audience what makes your business unique, how your products provide solutions for them, how you got started. Keep it real and relatable.

Invite people to like your business page. Most of us do this when we first set up a business page, but it’s worth doing it again every few months. Each week I also go through the posts I’ve put up and look at who has liked each post. If someone has liked my post, but are not followers, I invite them.

Be consistent

As with any business strategy, it’s important to be consistent on your social media pages, and Facebook is no exception. Post regularly – as frequently as you can, but once a day at a minimum. If you post regularly every day, your followers will start to recognise that you’re posting every day and will engage more, as they get to know you.

Whilst it’s great to post regularly, if you post the same kind of post every day, your followers will get bored with your content. Use a mixture of posts and avoid using posts to sell your products every day. It’s good to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% engage, entertain, educate, and inspire and 20% to promote and you’re your products. You can share behind the scenes information and photos, tell a bit of your story; entertain with funny memes or ‘fill in the blanks;’ educate your audience about your products or a process you follow. For example, if you’re an artist, you could show a series of posts that show a painting from sketch stage to finished article. Or you could give hints and tips about an aspect of your creative business – a sewing tip or, if you make cakes – a ‘how-to’ video is popular. Click here to see other ideas for posts on Facebook.

Facebook’s algorithm encourages engagement, so try and post something that gets a conversation going. It’s good to remember that it is social media, and we need to be social. Don’t forget to reply to comments and to any private messages promptly.

Ask your audience

As well as asking questions or writing engaging posts that promote a conversation, you can also ask your audience to tag their friends. This can work well, particularly with inspirational quotes. When you post a meaningful post, ask your audience to tag someone who might need to hear the advice the post gives.

You could do a post that just says you are sending out a hug to anyone who needs it today – we all know that sometimes, we just do! Then say, ‘tag a friend who’d like a hug today.’

‘Small Business Saturday’ posts work well too. Ask your followers to share links to their favourite small businesses, or to tell you a bit about their small business and to put a link. Make sure that you visit every single business that comments and puts a link on this post. Click on their business link and like some of their posts and post a couple of comments too – this helps them out with the Algorithm, as well as helping your business.

Facebook Ads

Now, this is something I haven’t felt the need to use, but it does seem to work well for some businesses. If you’re having trouble reaching your target audience, you can do an ad fairly cheaply. You can then target a specific audience by location, age, gender, and interests. There’s also an analytics tool to help you understand which ads drive interest and sales.

Facebook insights

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but this is a useful tool. I check my insights once a week, usually on a Sunday afternoon when I’m scrolling through my feed. Your insights tell you how many people engage with each of your posts and how many people each post reaches. You can look at which kind of posts are the most popular, which helps you decide what to post in the following week.

If you think that posting on social media takes up too much of your time, you can use Facebook’s publishing tools to schedule your posts in advance. And you can batch-make posts. I batch-make my posts for the following week every Friday or Saturday. I don’t like to schedule my posts as I like to be able to be available to reply as quickly as possible. But I have scheduled posts when I’ve been away on holiday.

Start your own Facebook group/join one

Having your own Facebook group will help you build a community around your products or services and can help make your brand more visible. It’s a great way to connect with your customers.

It’s also invaluable to join a good networking group with your target audience or with peers. I belong to a few groups – some are specifically for marketing people where trends etc. are discussed and others are networking with other like-minded businesses. I enjoy both, but I do have my favourites! This is a great way to get your business more well-known, but again, you need to be able to give time every day to network and comment on group posts, as well as interact with other businesses. I’ve met loads of lovely people this way and have bought lots of things from some of the small businesses in those groups.

Facebook features

As well as just posting every day, try out some of the features that are regularly being rolled out.

Facebook Live

Go live to engage with your audience in real time. Your followers will get a notification that you’re ‘live’ and can tune in to watch you. Once you have finished your live, you’re given an option to save a recording of your live so followers who haven’t tuned in can watch it later. Your live video then becomes a post on your page.

Facebook Live can be up to four hours long! Now, I’m not saying do a four-hour video, but you should try and aim for at least 10 minutes. The longer you’re live, the more discoverable your stream will be.

Facebook Video

If you’re not brave enough to go live with video, you can record a video. This way you can edit out anything you don’t like or start again if you hate it! Video content really makes a difference to your figure and video tends to be much more popular that posts. The thing I’ve noticed with video is that when you post it, you get some likes and views, but then suddenly a few weeks later, your figures on that video jump up as it’s shown to people. I’m not sure why, but it’s obviously something to do with the Algorithm!

You can use video to teach your audience something – a step-by-step tutorial, or a how-to video. Again, aim for at least 10 minutes. If you’re teaching your audience something, they’ll stay for as long as your video is engaging!

Facebook Stories

When you post a story, it stays on your feed for 24 hours. Again, stories get more traction and seem to reach more people than posts, so it’s a good idea to include them in your marketing strategy.

PLEASE NOTE: Avoid using video as a sales pitch. People tune in to find out more about you and your business, not to be sold to. I’ve made this mistake – I’m sure lots of us have, but I’ve found the videos that are more popular are ones where I’m being social and ‘having a chat.’

Create a plan

As with anything, what you post on Facebook should be part of your marketing strategy or plan. I try and plan my content a month in advance, so I know what I’m going to do and when. I also make note of any special days for each quarter, so I can plan posts around that – for example, Valentine’s Day or Easter.

I hope that you have found this post useful – if you have any questions, please feel free to comment on this post or send me a message.

16 Tips to beat the Facebook algorithm

This is the most frustrating thing about being on social media – the algorithm. It seems to me that it is constantly changing and always throwing up something new to deter our audiences and our posts! But there are ways to try and beat it.

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

Very basically, the algorithm looks at decides which posts everyone sees every time they check on their newsfeed…and also the order that those posts show up.

Facebook tells us that there are several layers to the algorithm, and the machine learns how to predict which posts will be the most valuable and meaningful to individuals over the long term. Gobbledegook!

What this means in simple language with that Facebook does not present posts to you in chronological order. It looks at the posts available and then puts them out in descending order of interest for each user. We don’t know exactly how it decides what to show us, and more importantly, what NOT to show us, but this process happens every single time we log in. But we do know that its aim is to keep us scrolling so that we see more ads!

For small business brands, this means that if you want more organic reach, you need to post content that people will engage with. What you post will depend on what your business is…and what you want to achieve with your posts.

Facebook content

What are your goals for your posts? Is it to get followers to visit your website or your online shop? It might be that you want people to sign up to your email subscription. And sometimes, it might just mean you want to engage with your audience and get to know them better.

If you want people to visit your website or online shop, content needs to be valuable. Blog posts with helpful information for example, or interactive guides and video content.

To get more people to your shop, you could give them features that make their shopping experience more enjoyable. This could be in the form of vibrant images, buyer testimonials and, if you make something, a video showing you making something from start to finish. You can do the same with images – showing a step-by-step process. For example, if you are an artist, you can show your work progressing over the course of a week, with a series of photos. This is great as it encourages your audience to look for you every day to see how the work is coming along.

If you want your audience to sign up to your email or newsletter, make sure that you make the content of your email appealing and give little tasters on your Facebook post about what they can expect, which will encourage them to join you.

Start a conversation

Get your audience talking to you and to each other on your posts. Social engagement is one of the key areas that will help your posts rank higher, and so be shown to more of your followers.

Encourage conversations by asking questions. The way you interact with your followers in conversations needs to be genuine and encourage two-way interaction for a couple of replies.

You can use several strategies to start conversations. As I said, you can ask questions. You can also be funny or entertaining – talk about something current or share something that you have seen that you find amusing.

You might be someone who likes to share interesting or inspiring facts or topics – or maybe something a little bit controversial. All these posts will spark interest and get noticed by the algorithm.

Keep your audience in mind

When you are crafting your posts, always think about your target audience and write it with them in mind. What do they like to see? What topics do they engage with? What kind of images to they like?

Local content is also good – if you have something going on in your area, and you have followers locally to you, talk about an event that is happening that they might be interested in. If you’re a creative who makes things, it could be sharing a market or stall you are setting up for a weekend event. Don’t just advertise the event – make sure you take photos and post them in real time to encourage people to engage and even pop along and meet you.

Facebook insights

This leads nicely into insights. How do you know who is following you? Where are they from? What kind of posts are popular?

To help you beat the algorithm, you need to know how your content performs and who your audience is. Your insights will tell you what works best and what doesn’t work; they show you your top ranking and bottom ranking posts, what time of day is best for your engagement and where your audience are from – the demographics.

It’s well worth tracking your insights on at least a weekly basis, so you can decide how best you can beat the algorithm.

Timing is everything!

From your insights you can see what time is best for you to post – it makes sense to post your content when you target audience is online.

It’s best to post at your peak engagement times – this might not be at the same time every day…and will not be at the same time as other businesses. If you’re really not sure what time is best for you, try posting at various times of day and track your posts’ performance over a week – then you’ll be able to see on your insights when is the peak time for your business.

Banned content

This is something that I’m sure we’ve all experienced. Facebook deems that certain content is not suitable or goes against their standards. This includes fake news, anything that makes health claims or misleading information, for example, you’re guaranteed to lose weight.

Sometimes it feels like you are being targeted – I know I felt like this when I had a few posts banned and I really wasn’t sure why. I appealed and Facebook did reply to say why – it turned out it was a particular word that I used in my caption description!

Video

Facebook loves video content, so this will be pushed as a priority, so things like ‘lives’ and pre-recorded video will be shown to more of your followers. This kind of content doesn’t have to be perfect or need to use professional equipment; you can simply use your phone.

User generated content

UGC, or user generated content is as it says on the packet. It’s content which is generated by your customers – this could be in the form of a video from a customer showing how they use your product, a photo of a customer with your product, or maybe a podcast where your product is discussed. In fact, anything that your customers or followers produce for you about you or your products.

Be consistent

I often see marketers advocate the need to post every single day…or even several times a day in order to engage your audience. This is not necessarily true for all brands. You will know what works best for you and your business. I always post every morning on Facebook, but I don’t post on Instagram until late afternoon/early evening, as my analysis of my insights tell me that’s the best time. I rarely post on a Sunday, but when I do, it doesn’t make that much difference to the engagement I get, so it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, you do decide to post, ensure that you post consistently. So, if you post seven days a week at 8am, stick with that if your insights tell you that’s the best time of day. Your customers will learn what time you post and will expect to see your posts at that time.

If you decide you only post three times a week, that’s fine too…so long as you post consistently. Consistency is what wins the race!

Facebook groups

I’m sure that all of us are members of Facebook groups. I belong to several groups and post regularly on at least two of them every day. Facebook likes groups and they do push the advertising of groups.

At their 2019 F9 Conference, Facebook said that people “might see more content from groups in their newsfeed.”

This means that it is recommended that you join relevant Facebook groups. By relevant, I mean groups that are relevant to your business and your brand. It’s not usually encouraged to be all ‘salesy’ in groups, but normally the admins will have different things happening on each day of the week. So, you could be joining in with engagement and conversations on an ‘Introduce yourself Monday’ post, or a group admin might ask for posts around specific themes, such as the recent ones I’m seeing – show me something that you sell or offer beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet. You can get really creative with this and make it fit your business! There will be posts to share your blog, share a link to your shop or website. These posts not only help small businesses, but they also get conversations started, help participants meet other, like-minded people, as well as educate and solve problems.

The only thing I would really advise against is to join in with ‘follow for follow’ posts. In my opinion, these serve no purpose whatsoever. You will pick up new follows and likes, but they won’t necessarily be your target audience and if they’re not, they won’t engage with your posts and so will ultimately affect your algorithm as it will show followers that don’t engage. I avoid these at all costs.

Engagement bait

Facebook absolutely hates engagement baiting. Although it’s not advised to explicitly ask for comments, such as ‘comment below,’ you can ask for comments by using open-ended questions. This works well if you use polls.

Facebook also sees ‘follow for follow’ as engagement bait, so if you do get involved with these, your algorithm will suffer.

Keep your posts unique

Producing unique posts every single day of the week is difficult to do. It’s something I hear all the time as a marketer – ‘I’ve run out of content,’ or ‘I don’t have any more ideas for posts.’

There are lots of ways to help you with unique posts.

Repurposing content you’ve posted before or elsewhere is one of them. If you write a weekly blog for example, you can get loads of posts from that content. It could be a list of tips, a video, a podcast, or using images to illustrate a point you’ve made in your blog. You can also look at relevant quotes around the subject you’ve blogged about.

Other places to get inspiration for posts are website such as Pinterest, Ask the public, Quora, Reddit and BuzzSumo to name a few. You just log into these websites and write a question in the search box relating to your niche or business. There will be loads of ideas or questions that pop up. You can use this to write blogs, content for posts etc. You can also see commonly asked questions about your niche, and see what pain points your target audience has – use this to your advantage and answer those questions using your products or services.

Get verified on Facebook

You should aim to have around 500 followers before trying to get officially verified. Being verified just proves to your audience that you a bona fide business. There are so many fake businesses and accounts out there, this is a way to prove you are authentic. Because of this, Facebook do make you jump through a few hoops to get this status.

But when your page is verified, you’ll receive a blue checkmark or tick next to your name.

Verification is free and you’ll need to provide a cover photo, a profile photo, a name that follows Facebook’s guidelines and content posted to the account. Visitors must be allowed to follow you and you must also provide a government issued I.D, such as a driving license or passport. You’ll also be asked to provide a document with a watermark, for pages not representing a person (so representing a business). This would be a company utility bill or tax document for example. Here’s a link to the relevant Facebook article that tells you exactly what to do to get verified.

Hashtags

We all know about hashtags these days and they are used on every post on Instagram. But hashtags can also be good for your marketing success if you use them on Facebook. Using hashtags helps you to connect and reach people you haven’t reached before when they search for related topics.

Always keep your hashtags relevant to your post and relevant to your brand. Don’t overuse them – you don’t need to have them on every single post and only use a few. You can use the same hashtags that you use on Instagram or Twitter, and you can create your own hashtag that is relevant to your business if you want to.

Always reply to your audience

This is obvious, but always reply to messages. Always reply to comments made on your posts and reply to any questions asked. It’s important to let your followers know that they are being heard and that their comments are valuable.

It also shows your followers that you are genuine and that you care about what they have to say.

Paying for advertising

Facebook ads are relatively low cost and can really help you target a particular audience. I have had mixed experience with ads, and don’t tend to need to use them, but I know lots of businesses who find paid ads invaluable to getting more customers and helping them to grow their business.

Conclusion

Facebook is one of the easiest social media platforms to use and has the highest number of members. As a business, it’s crucial to establish your presence on Facebook, understand who your customers and target audience are…and how to reach them. Facebook does help you with this through insights.

Although the algorithm and its constant changes can be very frustrating, Facebook is still one of the best ways to connect with your target audience. It’s important to just try and keep on top of all the changes and adapt your posts and habits accordingly.

But the way to beat the algorithm is to be consistent, have meaningful conversations, post a variety of posts including video, and give your audience great value by being interactive and interested in what they have to say when they connect and interact with you.

I really hope this has helped you understand the algorithm a bit more. Which tip is your favourite? And what’s the one thing you’ll take away from this blog post?

Hints and tips for Facebook Messenger

Messenger has changed drastically since it was first launched and there are lots of things you can do with it now, that you couldn’t at the start. For example, did you know that, although Facebook messenger is attached to Facebook, you don’t actually have to have a Facebook account to download and use it?

I’ve been looking at the different ways we can use messenger for our small businesses. Although I knew about most of the features, there are some that are new to me! Here are a few hints and tips…

Stay under the radar whilst working

Facebook must be one of the most common distractions to your daily work routine, especially if you work from home. But did you know that you don’t need to have Facebook open to access your messages via messenger?

Go to the website, messenger.com, sign in and there you have it! A phone-like messenger without the distractions of Facebook posts!

Reminders

If you tap the four dots next to the typing field when you’re in a conversation, and then tap ‘reminders,’ you can schedule a time, activity, and location…and send a reminder to anyone you want to include.

Share your location

You can share where you are – your location – in a conversation. Whilst in a conversation, tap the four dots, then tap ‘location’ and hit ‘share live location.’ This is great if you’re meeting the person you’re talking to, and they don’t know the part of town you’re in.

You will need to let messenger have constant access to your location to do this, but you can switch it off at a later stage.

Mute notifications

You can also mute notifications. So, if you’re part of a group chat and the constant ‘pinging’ of new messages gets too much for you, but you don’t want to leave the group entirely, you can just mute the group for certain periods of time…or indefinitely if it is really getting to you!

From your main chat screen, swipe left on the thread and tap the ‘bell’ icon. From here, you can mute notifications for set periods, such as 15 minutes, an hour, 24 hours or indefinitely.

Mark as unread

If you are the kind of person that can easily forget to reply to messages after you’ve read them, then the ‘mark as unread’ feature is just the thing.

Swipe from the right on a message and tap the three little lines, then tap the ‘mark as unread’ option. The thread will then show in bold, just like new messages that you haven’t yet read! It will also show a little blue blob as a reminder!

Leave a group

This is a good one – we all get copied into group messages by friends or family, which might be as simple as an invitation to a party. Then you have to suffer your phone ‘pinging’ for days, if not weeks afterwards, with various people having conversations about it.

Once you’ve replied to the message and finished with it, you can leave the group. Simply tap on the group name at the top of the conversation, scroll to the bottom and select ‘leave group.’ The group will be notified that you’ve left, but you can always put a message before you leave to say that you are going to!

Delete old threads

You can delete old conversations once you’ve finished with them, if you like things kept nice and tidy. Just swipe to the left on the message you want to delete and tap the ‘trash’ icon. All done!

Reply to a particular message in group chat

This is one that is really useful. I belong to several group chats for business and often someone posts a message and, by the time I’ve thought of an answer and go to reply, there’s a whole list of other people chatting and very often they’ve gone right off the original message.

If you use the ‘quote and reply’ function, this solves the problem. Simply press and hold the relevant message you want to reply to, then tap the little arrow to reply. The quoted message will then appear above your own reply, making it absolutely clear who and what you’re talking about!

Unsend a message

It can happen that you send a message to the wrong person. But, if you know what to do and act quickly, you can rectify the error before it’s seen. Press and hold the mistaken message, and so long as it was sent less than 10 minutes ago, you will be able to remove it. Trash it for everyone, click confirm and it will be gone. There will be a message to say ‘you removed a message’ but your recipient won’t be able to see what it was. BUT it must be done within 10 minutes, or you can’t change it.

Chat to other businesses

Messenger is great to message any business that has a Facebook presence. You don’t have to pick up the phone to make a hairdressing appointment and risk getting into long conversations. Simply search for the person or business you want and send a message.

You’ll be able to see when they’ve seen it and see when they reply. This saves so much time…and you don’t have to speak to anyone!

Find filtered messages

Messenger has a filter, so if a message comes in that isn’t from one of your contacts, or if a message looks a bit dodgy to Facebook, the messages get filtered into an ‘other’ inbox. This used to be really irritating as it was difficult to find, but now it’s much easier.

Hit the ‘people’ tab at the bottom of the messenger app, and tap on the ‘requests’ icon, which is a speech bubble with three dots in the top right corner. This will show messages you’ve received from random people – for me, usually men in the military, or someone trying to get me to sign up to a dating app (!) But, it does also sometimes put people who are legitimately trying to contact you into that box too, so it’s worth checking.

Pick a colour

This is one I didn’t know about! You have the option to pick a different colour for every conversation you have. Hit the conversation name to go into settings, then tap ‘colour.’ You’ll be able to pick from a range of colours for your chat, which will be seen by both you and whoever you are messaging.

Emoji branding

As well as picking colours, you can also assign an emoji to your chat too. This will change the default ‘thumbs-up’ like button to the emoji you’ve picked.

Sync contacts

If you want to manage your communications efficiently and have all your acquaintances in messenger, you can turn on ‘sync contacts.’ This is a way to find people who aren’t on Facebook, or who aren’t your friend, but use messenger with their phone number.

Hit the icon with your profile picture, then tap ‘people.’ Go to ‘upload contacts’ and click it ‘on.’ Messenger will then continuously scan your contacts list for new numbers and people to message.

Edit photos

Another one I didn’t know I could do in messenger! Yes, you can edit photos…just open an image that has been sent to you in a chat. Hit the pencil icon – then you can type word overlays, add emojis – have a look and give it a go.

Dark mode

This is really handy and protects your eyes. It reduces the glare from your screen when you’re typing in a low light. The settings change the background from bright colours to black and grey, whilst the pictures, messages and any buttons are still in full colour.

How do you do it? Tap your profile pic in the top left corner and access the settings menu. Then toggle the Dark Mode slider. Simple!

Messenger stickers

You can add stickers to your text – I love this and use it a lot. There are loads to choose from and you can download many different types of stickers and graphics. Just click on the smiley icon next to the text box and, under the stickers tab, hit the plus button at the bottom. Then you can choose which stickers you want to download and use.

Polls

You can create a poll in a chat, giving people multiple choice answers to your question. This is quite a new addition, so another one I hadn’t come across before! Just click on the dots symbol and select ‘polls.’ Then you can create your poll and create custom options.

Encrypt chat

It is possible to encrypt a chat. It’s not an automatic option because it disables some of the other chat options.

To encrypt a chat, tap the name of your chat partner at the top of the screen and scroll down to ‘secret conversation.’ Tap ‘ok’ and your conversation will become encrypted from start to finish. You can also set a time limit so that those encrypted messages disappear after a certain amount of time.

Make calls via Wi-Fi

This is the one I use the most. Messenger has a built-in video and voice calling ability. So long as you are connected to Wi-Fi, you get free messenger-to-messenger calls. It also doesn’t matter if one of you uses IOS and the other uses Android. This has been a godsend for me during lockdown to stay connected with my family…and all free of charge.

Voice note

Not everyone likes to talk directly to their contacts, so there is also voice note. This means that you can leave a short voice message instead. It limits you to 1 minute, but you can send as many as you like! Tap on the plus symbol, select ‘voice,’ and hit the red ‘record’ button. Then record your message and send

Messenger has games!

When you do fancy a break, you can access games from messenger. If you’re chatting to someone and both want a little bit of light relief, just hit the plus symbol in the bottom left when you’re in a conversation and tap the ‘games’ icon. There are loads of them…from Snake to PAC-MAN to Tomb Runner…and all without having to leave the app. You can also get involved with group chats too and you can have a competition!

I really hope that you have found this useful and learned something new – I know I did when doing my research! Happy messaging!

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Using Facebook to grow your email list

Growing your email list is one of the best ways to grow your business. I know that most of us use social media, and that is one of the ways to promote your email list. In this blog, I’m going to talk specifically about growing your email list on Facebook.

Before you start

Before you begin to promote your email list, I would suggest that you create an engaging incentive. Most of us spend a large percentage of our time every day reading and answering our emails, so people don’t want to be sent an email, just for the sake of it. They want to be sent an email for a reason. One of the best reasons you can give is to have an exciting and engaging lead magnet that provides tons of value and therefore will encourage people to join your email list.

Incentives could be:

  • A discount code
  • An e-book
  • A workbook
  • A free course
  • A quiz

Whatever you choose, it will help you get more subscribers than if you just asked them to sign up for your newsletter. Everyone loves a freebie, and if that freebie delivers value, then even better.   

Once you have your lead magnet sorted you are ready to promote your email list. Facebook is a great place to do this, so here are a few ideas to help that promotion along.

Create a new Facebook page cover

This sounds obvious, but so many people don’t do this. If you have a lead magnet to promote, create a Facebook cover image to promote it. I use Canva, which is a fabulous site which gives free templates for this kind of thing and it’s super easy to use…best of all, the templates look very professional.

Once you have your new cover created and on your page, make sure you update the button on your page to link through to your lead magnet landing page. This just makes it easier for your visitors to navigate and they don’t have to go searching for the relevant link.   

Create a post

You can also create posts in Canva, so spend a bit of time creating a promotional post or graphic to promote your lead magnet. In fact, it’s a good idea to make several, with different captions – make sure that the captions talk about the pain point or problem that your lead magnet will solve. For example, my lead magnet now is a free marketing workbook, which takes people through setting up their marketing plan, step by step. It’s something I know that some small businesses struggle with, and as I help people with their marketing, it made sense to create this to help them out.

Once you start posting your promotional posts, you will soon see which caption works best and you could use it for future ad campaigns.

As well as a promotional post, you can also create posts that simply invites people to join your email list. Don’t forget to tell your visitors how your newsletter or emails will help them – what benefits you provide and the value they will get from it.  

Use your About section

Your Facebook page has an About section, so ensure that you are using this to its best advantage. Once you have your lead magnet, you can include it in your About section, telling visitors what it is and how it helps them, with a CTA (call to action) to invite people to join your email list.

Join Facebook groups

You will know who your target market is and, if you have a business page, probably already belong to groups where they are members. If not, search for groups where they are likely to be and join. It can be tempting to join Facebook groups that are full of people who do similar things to you, and as these groups and networking in them, can take quite a bit of time, I wouldn’t advise being in too many of them!

The only way you’ll know if a group is right for you is to join and network. Join in tasks and fun competitions or silly posts. Engage in all the business posts and keep your eyes peeled for questions members might ask that you can answer and show that you are helpful and knowledgeable about your subject. Obviously, you give this information away for free! People are more likely to respect and build trust with you if they can see that you give value and are genuine … not just doing a sales pitch.

If you have a business page, you will also have a personal profile on Facebook. So, make sure that you have your work information on there, so people can click through and follow you, or have your website address link, so people can check out what you do…and have another opportunity to join your email list.

Run and ad campaign on Facebook

You can also run an ad campaign to grow your email list. The benefits of an ad campaign are that you can directly target your ideal customer, so you know you are reaching the right people.

There are two types of ad campaign…a conversions campaign or a leads campaign. If you choose a conversions campaign, you can measure how your ad is performing, and if you have the Facebook Pixel on your website, you can measure which of your ads ends up with people signing up to your email list.  

A leads campaign will simply collect email addresses on a landing page on Facebook. You will most likely generate more volume with a leads campaign, but you’ll get a higher quality of lead with a conversion campaign. You won’t know what works best for you until you try both.

Promote your blog

If you have a blog, then Facebook is the ideal place to promote your blog articles. Make sure that your blog post has a call to action to sign up to your email list or newsletter.

  • You can simply post a link to your blog in a Facebook post.
  • You can put a link to your blog post in a Facebook group, if you’re answering a question about something you’ve written about.
  • You can also create a promotional graphic, which includes your blog title on it and include a link in the caption.

If you produce evergreen blog content, re-share some of your older content every couple of months as you will pick up new followers from them too.

Run a contest

Running a contest on Facebook can really boost your engagement rate and can also help you with new followers. You give away a simple prize that is related to whatever you do. There are loads of different types of contests, such as:

  • Like a post to win
  • Comment on a post to win
  • Like and comment to win
  • Caption competition
  • Fill in the blank competition
  • Photo contest

The list is endless, so you can be creative here. The prize can be given by either doing a draw – you put all the names of the people who have liked, comments etc., into a draw to win. Then you do the draw ‘live’ on Facebook and can create some hype and a real buzz around it.

You could also give everyone a prize. For example, if you’re a service-based business, you could pull together a valuable checklist that helps do a particular thing. Everyone who enters, gets the PDF with a link to subscribe to your email list.

It’s up to you how you host your contest.

If you have a website…

If you have a website with a subscribe button, when someone signs up for your email list, redirect them to a thank you page with social media share buttons. Invite your new subscribers to share the valuable lead magnet they’ve received with their friends and family.  

Finally…

Don’t forget…

…to track the traffic that comes from your Facebook page to your website or to your email list. Then you will know what works and what doesn’t. If you use Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see what traffic is coming from Facebook. This is so valuable as you can see what kind of posts are the most popular and what drives people to sign up to your email list.

Good luck and if you need help setting up a lead magnet and email sequences, get in touch and I can help.

And, if you would like to join my email list and have monthly marketing tips delivered to your inbox, click on the link below. You will also receive a free workbook, which guides you the marketing strategy process from identifying your target market to a marketing action plan.   

Marketing Tips Newsletter 

How to use Facebook for business

Facebook is a great place to showcase and market your small business. It is totally free to set up a business Facebook account – you just have to have a personal account first, in order to be able to set it up.

I’m not going to go into the setting up of the actual page in this post, but if you need help with this, there is a great, step by step tutorial by Facebook that is really useful.

If you want your business to really blossom on social media, then Facebook is an excellent place to do just that. It’s a great place to market your business and, according to Facebook,”creating a Facebook page allows more than 2 billion people on Facebook to discover your business – think of your page as a digital shopfront.”

What do I post about?

With Facebook, you can create many different types of posts. Each different type of post has its benefits and can engage your audience in different ways. I always suggest that people use the 80/20 rule. That is to say, 80% posts that are engaging, entertaining, educate or inspire your audience, and 20% sales. Your audience don’t want to just be sold to all the time – they want to engage with you and your business and this also helps your brand. Your social media strategy should include all of these types of posts. Let’s look a bit deeper…

Facebook Text Post

A text post is exactly what it says on the tin – just straight forward text only…just words, no photos, no videos, and no links.

Although this type of post is direct, I wouldn’t say this was great for business – especially if your strategy is to drive traffic to your website or directly speak to your audience to get them to buy or engage with you and your brand. But text posts can be good to share opening hours or availability, but be aware that the Facebook algorithm doesn’t really like text only, so your reach may not be good.

Photo post

Generally, photo posts see a higher engagement than text posts. You can use photos, illustrations or infographics to catch your customers’ eye, so you need to think about the images you use. There are lots of free image sites out there where you can source photos – PLEASE don’t use google images and just copy and paste. Most of the images on google are not royalty free and you could get into trouble with copyright issues.  I use pixabay.com or unsplash.com – these are free sites and when you pick an image, it tells you that the image is free for commercial use, which means you can use it for social media or on your website. Of course, you can choose to also take your own photos – especially good if you sell products.

Photo posts are great for product-based businesses, as you can really show off your products and you can show behind the scenes shots – anything really that will engage your audience.

Video post

Videos have even higher engagement rates than photo posts. You can do short and sweet video announcements or you can do longer videos to explain something, or to do a ‘how to’ post.

Video automatically plays in your feed, so you’re guaranteed to catch your audience’s attention.   

Facebook Live

Facebook Live video is, as the name suggests, a video that you stream in real-time or ‘live’. This is really popular and a great way to show your authentic self and a fabulous way to connect with your audience. Some ideas you could use would be an introduction video so your audience get to know you better; you could do a Q&A post to let people know more about what you do or your products; you can do behind the scenes video or product demos…in fact anything you can think of.  

Link posts

A link post is exactly that – a post that shares a link (or URL) with your audience. This is great to share your website or blog site. You just copy and paste the URL of your website/blog post and paste it into a Facebook post. The link automatically shows your audience a preview of the site with an image from that site.

You can also share links to other sites – interesting articles or links to events that you might want to share. Just make sure that you add some of your own wording before you click ‘publish’, so it’s personal to you and speaks directly to your target audience.

Stories

If you’re on Instagram, you’ll know that you can publish stories on that platform. But Facebook stories are also a great way to get the attention of your followers. Just like Instagram, Facebook stories are photo based, or short video posts. The photos appear for five seconds and videos can be up to 20 seconds long. Like Instagram, they disappear after 24 hours. It’s a good way to give a quick sneaky peek at something you’re about to launch, or use it for intrigue for a competition or contest.

Pinned post

You can ‘pin’ any regular post – pinning a post means that it will always stay at the top of your page feed, so it will always be the first thing that people see when they visit your page.

Once you have created the post, simply click on the three dots to the right of your post – you’ll see the option to ‘pin post’. Once pinned, the post will say ‘pinned post’ above it. You can change it whenever you like. It’s good for giving important information or instructions to your audience…or as a temporary announcement.

Facebook Watch Party

You can use this feature to screen a public video on Facebook in real time, so you and your followers can experience it together. It’s a great way to create a buzz for a new product launch – and this is often used to launch a music video.

You can promote your watch party by creating an event.

Create event

If you do events, for example if you are a musician and you’re playing in a local bar, you can set up an event to advertise it. Not only a great way to advertise, you can also invite people to your event, you can add photos and information so people know exactly where and when the event is…and what they will get.

Other options

You can also post job listings, special offers and you can even use the option to raise money for a charity.

Marketing your business on Facebook

Now you know how you can post on Facebook and the different ways to post, how do you actually market your business? I talked earlier about the 80/20 rule; 80% engaging, entertaining, educating or inspiring your audience and 20% selling your products.

It’s best to plan your content strategy, so you know what you are going to post and when. There are loads of different types of posts that will do all these things.

Engagement – you can engage with your audience by asking questions, or you could give them information about your products/services without doing the hard sell. Talk about the features or benefits of your products/services – what’s in it for your potential customers? What does your product or service do for them? How can it help solve their problems?

Entertaining – these posts could be something funny or interesting to share.

Education – ‘How to’ posts or teaching your audience something about your business or products/services.

Inspiring – this could be in the form of inspirational quotes, or you could include a link to an inspirational article that you like – or one linked to your particular type of business.

The final type of course, is selling – this would include images of your products, advertising what you sell or what your services are.

In a previous blog, I talk about the different types of posts you could incorporate into your content strategy – click here to find out more.   

How do potential customers find your page?

This is all about you engaging with your target market. You need to know who your ideal client is and what they like. Join groups on Facebook, via your personal page – there are several that are set up for Facebook to specifically help you engage with like-minded businesses and your target audience. For example, Hike Those Likes Market Place is a friendly group where you can meet other small businesses. They have regular, daily engagement sessions that you can join and leave a link to your business. Other people follow you if they like your business. Once they follow you, every time you post, it will appear on their timeline – and so everyone who has liked their page will also see your post.

You can use the search bar to search for your target audience and engage with their pages. Once you have followed them, you will see their posts. Comment on their posts – a pointer here is to be totally genuine – don’t just comment for the sake of it, but only if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Facebook ads

You can also create an advertisement for your business on Facebook. This is all about getting your message in front of your target audience – those that are most likely to want what you sell or provide. There are different types of Facebook ads and targeting options. To find out more about ads, Hootsuite have a great guide.  

And finally, measurement

How do you measure whether or not your posts are successful? You can find this out by using Facebook analytics or Insights.

Facebook Insights will let you know which types of posts work best for your business. It measures things such as:

  • likes/follows
  • reach – how many people saw your post
  • engagement – how many people liked, clicked, shared or commented on your posts

It also tells you which posts result in people who ‘unlike’ your page.

Conclusion

Facebook is a great platform for small businesses and if you put in some time to understand how it works…and more importantly, what works best in terms of post type and frequency etc., you really can take your business to the next level.

If you need help with your Facebook business page, please feel free to contact me.

cindymobey@outlook.com

Did you start your New Year with a bang?

Happy New Year everyone, if a little belated! Did you start your New Year with a bang…
or was it more of a sigh?

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January and February are notoriously hard for the small business as things are generally chimpanzee-978809_640quiet after the Christmas period and January seems to go on forever…or is that just me? It’s a time when we feel lethargic and I always think January feels like a bit of a let-down after the festivities of Christmas and New Year…..a bit like my Chimp friend here on the right!

Whether you’re busy or not, this is an ideal time to kick-start your business, tell people about what you do, show your products or services and get that business rolling in.

Lots of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but less than 10% will achieve that resolution…in fact by now (end of January) most people will have given up on their resolutions…or at least be finding them hard to keep. So, try and tap into what your customers make resolutions about. If you’re a health and fitness business, for example, some of your customers may want to lose weight and get healthy this year. Ask your customers what their resolutions were and see if you can help them achieve that resolution with your products or services.

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Social Media Marketing Ideas

Social Media is a very popular place to advertise your business – you can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other many sites. I’m going to look at Facebook and the Facebook business page.  If you have a business Facebook page, contrary to what you might think, people don’t follow you to solely buy your products or services. They like to see a wide variety of posts to keep their interest, so it’s a great idea to have a plan of the kind of things you will be posting month on month.

  • Interesting or entertaining content…this can be fun or factual, but all in a light-hearted way – maybe use memes, jokes, contests, puzzles or just a fun inspired image.
  • Content that inspires your audience – there are loads of inspirational quotations out there – you could google a particular theme and run with that for a month, posting something inspirational once or twice a week. Inspirational posts can also be image based – a breath-taking image, something that makes your audience say ‘Wow!’
  • Educational posts – can you teach your audience something? It could be a ‘how to….’ post; how to crochet a hat; how to make a particular tasty dish – a new exercise to combat belly fat or in my case…how to market your small business. These posts help to set you up as an expert in your field and inspires confidence in what you do.
  • Dialogue/chatty posts – these kind of posts are encouraging your followers to interact with you. Ask a question, and be genuinely interested in the answers you get; run a poll to find out your followers’ opinion on a particular subject; publish a post of something that interests you, maybe your favourite holiday destination, with a caption that says why you like your favourite destination – then ask what your followers’ favourite destination is and why.
  • Personal posts – I’ve read that it’s not a good idea to share too much from our personal lives. However, there is a time and place to engage with your audience on a personal level, to connect with your audience and show them you are a real person! You could share photos of your pet or an event you’ve been to; a place you love to visit and why or maybe what you’d like to do if you won the lottery! This makes you a real person that your customers can relate to, but worth noting to limit these to a couple times a month.
  • Promotional posts for your business… YES, there is space for this too! Share new products or services and how they can help your customers; a discount; buy one, get one free; recommend a friend. Also share customer referrals and testimonials

These are just a few ideas on how you can keep the attention of your customers and attract new ones on Facebook. The important thing is to make a plan with a good variety of posts to keep your customers’ interest and make them want to come back for more. Make it your February resolution to plan your business page on Facebook!

Get more likes on your Facebook page

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stuart-milesOne of the first things I did when I started my own business, after building a website, was to set up a business Facebook page. However, like many people, I then didn’t do much with it as I was busy concentrating on getting my business up and running….not realising that I was actually missing a trick! With an estimated 42 million active accounts on Facebook, there is plenty of competition, so how can you make your Facebook page stand out and get you more ‘likes’?

Info pages

Make sure that all the information is filled in – ensure you have added a contact email address and telephone number….and a website address if you have one.

It’s important that the profile picture is of you, not your dog or cat! People can feel more engaged if they know what you look like and it makes you appear more approachable. Also have a cover image – this could be a brand photo or maybe some of your products.

Finally, complete the description…tell people what you do, make it chatty and inviting but to the point …don’t waffle.

Link to your Facebook page

id-100290665Linking to your Facebook page gets your business in front of potential customers. If you have a website or blog, put a link to your Facebook page, with a ‘like’ button.

Join Facebook groups that are relevant to what you do and add a link to your Facebook page there.

Put your Facebook address on your business card or on flyers and on any promotional literature that you send out.

Put a link from all other Social Media sites you are on, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest etc.

If you put an ad in a local paper or magazine, ensure you put your Facebook address there too.

Invite people to like you

Invite your friends and family that are on Facebook to like your business page and ask them to tell their friends about you and what you do.

Look at your email contact list… you probably have lots of contacts that you wouldn’t think to invite – all you need to do is compose an email and send to all your contacts. Make sure that you send the emails as BCC so you don’t breach any data protection rules.  You just need to send a short note with a link to your Facebook page. If you can’t think of wording, click on my FREE PDF, which gives you some suggested wording.

Post regularly

id-100147382Some say you should post once a day and others say three times a week is enough. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent…this is easy to say and I know I’ve fallen by the wayside a few times, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it, however the more times you post, the more engagement you will get. Images seem to help with engagement, so always use a quality image – if you can, use your own from photos etc. If you use images from the internet, make sure you don’t breach copyright.

Use different kinds of posts: information about your products; new product launches; photos or video of someone using your product or service; inspirational or funny quotes; photos of your work station or how you make what you do; hints and tips; ask a question or post a photo and ask people to post a caption.

I hope that this brief article will help you with your Facebook engagement – if you have any other ideas, please let me know.

Call to Action

Ensure that you include a link to your Facebook page in all publications you write and on all your marketing materials, including newsletters, flyers, brochures etc. If you don’t ask people to go on your page and like you, they won’t necessarily think about doing it themselves.

If you write a blog, put a Call to Action on the bottom of the page.

Tags in photos

id-100380979Do you run events? Whether you do them regularly or as a one-off, make sure you take plenty of photos of the people attending and enjoying themselves. After the event, post the photos on your FB page and tag as many people as you know in the photos. Then post, inviting others to tag themselves in your photos …and to post photos of the event that they’ve taken themselves. This will not only upload to your page, but will also upload to their wall and their friends will see it.

Newsletter promotion  

master-isolated-imagesIf you send out a regular newsletter about your business, talk about the fact that you have a business FB page and include a link so recipients of your newsletter can go and like your page.

These are just a few simple, totally do-able ideas that you can start to implement right now. Most importantly, you need to have fabulous posts, awesome photos and make your readers feel that you are speaking to them personally. They will then recommend your page to others.

Good luck Facebookers and let me know if you have a brilliant idea to get more ‘likes’  that I’ve missed!

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles, stockimages, Stuart Miles, surasakiStock  and Master Isolated Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net