While your prospective customers may not be on Facebook to do business, think about TV, radio, direct mail and email. Are people watching their favorite show, listening to their favorite station, walking to the mailbox or opening their inbox hoping to see your propaganda and learn about your company, products or services? Sadly, no. But just like TV, radio, direct mail and email, we know the audience is there on social media — especially Facebook — and can be targeted.
The Benefits of Facebook for Local Businesses
69% of Americans are on Facebook, with 70% of those users accessing the platform daily. – Pew Research Center (Source)
You may have heard it said that “everyone is on social media.” Maybe you’ve even thought it or mentioned it yourself. While it is a figure of speech, the statistics show that most people — 7 out of 10 in the US — do use Facebook and perhaps additional forms of social media frequently.
Facebook is ingrained in people’s daily lives. It’s also free and relatively simple to set up a company page. Doesn’t that make it an intriguing tool for marketing your local business?
If you need some more convincing, consider the other benefits of establishing a Facebook business presence. You can:
- Share basic business information
- Direct traffic to your website
- Share content — company news, photos, videos, etc.
- Build a community of page followers
- Message current and potential customers
- Compile business reviews
- Create highly targeted ads
- Boost your SEO efforts
To put it simply, every business should utilize Facebook to some degree. Chances are, some or all your competitors are using it. You should, too… and do it better than them!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a social media novice or a Facebook regular looking to take your efforts to the next level, this article can help. It will touch upon some of the key marketing features of the platform to help you not only understand what they are but also how to best use them to generate business.
The Difference Between Organic Posts, Boosted Posts & Ads
Facebook offers numerous ways to create and share content. From a mass distribution standpoint, you have three options:
- Organic Posts
- Boosted Posts
Organic posts are posts that can be created and shared for free, whereas boosted posts and ads utilize a paid distribution model. Each type of post has pros and cons.
Organic posts are created on your business page and appear on the timelines of the people who like and follow your page. Organic posts are best used to share business news and the “lighter side” of your business — day-to-day photos and videos, employee features, polls, etc.
Organic posts are not designed to be highly effective marketing and sales tools. Their reach is limited unless you have a huge, loyal following. And even if you do, Facebook’s algorithm aims to display only content that is highly relevant to individuals in their timelines. This means that even if someone likes or follows your page, your content may not be placed right in front of them and they’d have to go out of their way to visit your page if they are curious about your recent activity.
Summary of organic post pros:
- Free to use
- Good for communicating and engaging with your most loyal followers
Summary of organic post cons
- Limited reach
- Not a good option for marketing and sales
A boosted post is a feature where you pay Facebook to promote an organic post of your choice. Boosted posts can be displayed to both current page followers as well as those who don’t follow your page. They are relatively simple to set up and are good for building brand awareness and providing social proof. If your goal is to simply get a message in front of more people and get them to like, share or comment on the post, it’s a good tool.
Boosted posts are better for marketing and sales than organic posts, but they still have their limitations. Objective, placement, creative and targeting options are all less expansive than with a true ad. Think of a boosted post as Facebook’s version of “advertising lite.”
Summary of boosted post pros:
- Simple setup
- Increases post impressions and engagement
- Ability to target both page followers and individuals outside your circle
Summary of boosted post cons:
- Limited objective, creative and targeting options
- Not likely to directly generate or contribute to sales
Not all ads are created equal. Boosted posts are a light form of advertising, whereas Facebook ads provide a full gamut of tools and features to maximize your potential for success. Ads are created from scratch within Facebook’s Ads Manager and can be designed to achieve a wide range of marketing and sales objectives.
Within the ads platform, you can build a campaign based on 11 specific marketing objectives, three creative formatting styles and a plethora of targeting and custom audience-building options. Business owners should be intrigued by Facebook ads because they enable campaigns to be built that put the right content in front of the right people to get them to act. You just need to make sure you have a solid strategy in place.
Summary of ad pros:
- Extensive creative and targeting options
- Campaigns can be built to achieve specific marketing and sales goals
- Can be an essential component of a business’s sales funnel
Summary of ad cons:
- Setup is more complicated and time-consuming than other options
- Planning and a sound strategy are essential to avoid wasting money
Can You Manage Facebook Marketing Yourself?
Now that you’ve got an idea of the kinds of marketing options you have on Facebook, think about how it fits into your overall marketing plan. What are the opportunities? What are the challenges?
At some point (if it hasn’t already), the question will inevitably arise about whether or not you’ll be able to manage your company’s Facebook marketing yourself. The answer is, sure… if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Anyone can learn the platform and hone their skills if they dedicate themself to it.
It’s appealing to save money by keeping things in-house. You just need to determine if it’s feasible to work into your existing schedule and workload. Are you confident you’ll be able to get to the point where you’re getting good ROI from Facebook without seeing a decline in other areas of your business operations?
In most cases, business owners simply can’t produce the kind of results that specialists can. There’s just so much to do and so many diverse skills required. Some of the more technical requirements for Facebook success include:
- Ability to set up Facebook pixels – A Facebook pixel is code you place on your website that collects data and helps track conversions, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future campaigns and remarket to visitors who have already taken some kind of action on your site.
- Proper setup and use of split tests — Any good marketer split tests to create campaigns that are optimized for success. On Facebook, it’s essential to split test both audiences and creative.
- Continual monitoring and optimization — You can’t just set and forget Facebook marketing campaigns. It’s a necessity to frequently analyze data and adapt to ensure effectiveness and get the most bang for your ad spend. This means accessing and understanding the data collected not only in Facebook Ads Manager but also Google Analytics.
Ready to take the plunge into Facebook marketing? The remainder of this article will help prepare you for tackling the endeavor. It includes five assignments that will help you ensure everything is in place so that you can generate business with your company page.
Each assignment includes a downloadable document that you can use as part of your process as a way to keep yourself organized.
Assignment #1: Set Up Your Accounts
To generate business using Facebook, you must first set up all the necessary accounts.
- Personal account – Required to create a business page
- Business page – The hub from which you manage your business’s presence on Facebook
- Business Manager page – A tool that helps you organize and manage your business page
Instructions for creating each asset are below. If you have already created any or all of the assets, skip ahead to the next asset or assignment.
Instructions for Setting Up Facebook Personal Account
- Go to https://www.facebook.com/r.php
- Enter your name, email or mobile phone number, password, date of birth and gender
- Click “Sign Up”
- Confirm your email or mobile phone number
Instructions for Setting Up Facebook Business Page & Ads Manager
- Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create
- Click “Get Started” under “Business or Brand”
- Fill out all required information
- Click “Continue” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete setup
Once your business page is created, your ads manager will be created automatically. This is the hub from which you can create and manage ads.
Instructions for Setting Up Facebook Business Manager Page
- Go to https://business.facebook.com/
- Click “Create Account”
- Enter your name and confirm your identity with Facebook login credentials
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete setup
Assignment #2: Optimize Your Business Page
To get the best results out of your Facebook business page, you need to completely optimize it. This means adding content to all areas of the page to inform and engage visitors.
Below is an overview of the primary areas to optimize.
Add a Profile & Cover Image
The branding of your Facebook business page begins with the profile and cover images.
The profile image, also called the avatar, is the smaller of the two and typically is the business logo. It appears not only on the business page but also next to the business name on all posts and ads.
The cover image, also called the banner image, is a rectangular image that spans the top of the business page. It can be a static photo, a slideshow or a video. You have more options with the cover image and can be a little more creative. You may choose to feature:
- Value propositions or unique selling propositions
- Your brick-and-mortar
The profile and cover images will likely be the first things a visitor will see on your page, so make sure they are attention-grabbing and a good reflection of your brand and what your company is all about. And of course, always use high-quality photos or videos.
Add a Call to Action Button
Calls to action (CTAs) are essential regardless of which marketing channel you use. Facebook has a feature that allows you to display a CTA button on your page to encourage page visitors to interact with your business.
Here are the CTA categories and button options:
- Book with you
- Book Now
- Get Quote
- Contact you
- Contact Us
- Send Message
- Call Now
- Sign Up
- Send Email
- Learn more about your business
- Watch Video
- Learn More
- Shop with you
- Shop Now
- Buy Gift Card
- See Offers
- Order Food
- Download your app or play your game
- Use App
- Play Game
Choose the CTA button that makes the most sense to help you accomplish your goals.
Fill Out Info Fields
There are numerous fields on your Facebook business page where you can provide information about your business. Filling out the fields not only makes your page look complete and professional but also shares valuable business information with current and potential new customers.
Some of the key areas to fill out are listed below.
- Custom username – This is located directly below your business name. It’s the name that begins with the @ symbol. The custom username makes it more convenient for users to find your page when searching and allows them to “tag” your page in posts. It also creates a more user-friendly and memorable URL for your page, as opposed to the default URL which will include a bunch of random numbers at the end. For example, the custom username for Adventure Marketing Solutions is @adventuremarketingsolutions and our page URL is https://www.facebook.com/adventuremarketingsolutions/
- About – The About section is an important one to complete because it contains key information about your business that page visitors will want to know. It includes items such as business overview, location, business category, business hours, contact information, product listings and more.
- Services – The Services section enables you to list individual services your business offers with descriptive text and a photo. You can include additional details such as price and appointment duration if desired and applicable.
- Reviews – An important aspect of your online reputation is getting and responding to customer reviews and comments. The Reviews section is where reviews of your business are listed. Make it a point to encourage customers to review your business. Use the feedback for continual improvement.
People often use Facebook as a way to gauge whether or not they want to consider buying from a business. They like to see an active page, meaning a page that is up to date and frequently posts content. Make sure the information on your page is accurate at all times and make it a point to create posts and share photos and videos on a regular basis.
The type of content you post can vary. Maybe it’s informative or salesy. Maybe it’s industry news. Or perhaps it’s more fun and lighthearted like birthday wishes to an employee, acknowledgment of a holiday or support for fellow community businesses and events. Keep tabs on the performance of the content you post and the response it garners. This will give you an idea of which kind of content you should post more frequently and which kind you should post less often.
Assignment #3: Determine Your Ad Goal/Objective
Once you have your Facebook account set up and optimized, you can turn your attention to generating business with ads. The first step in that process is determining what the goal/objective is. What do you hope to achieve with your ad — foot traffic, phone calls, leads, general awareness?
The Facebook platform allows you to be very specific with your ad objective, which increases your chances of getting the results you’re looking for.
Below is a list of the ad objectives from which you can choose.
- Brand awareness – Increase people’s awareness of your business, brand or service
- Reach – Show your ad to as many people as possible in your target audience
- Traffic – Send people from Facebook to any URL you choose, such as your website
- Engagement – Reach people more likely to engage with your post
- App installs – Send people to the store where they can download your business’s app
- Video views – Share videos of your business with people on Facebook most likely to watch it
- Lead generation – Collect leads for your business
- Messages – Connect with people on Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp
- Conversions – Encourage people to take a specific action on your business’s site
- Catalog sales – Show products from your e-commerce store’s catalog to generate sales
- Store traffic – Promote your brick-and-mortar business location to people that are nearby
Assignment #4: Identify Your Ideal Customer
Facebook ad spend is maximized when your ads are targeted to people who are most profitable for your business and most likely to buy. These are known as your ideal customers.
If you need assistance dialing in your ideal customers, we offer an IDeal™ Customer Discovery service. If you already have a good idea of who you want to target, you can document the attributes of that audience so you have the details readily available when it’s time to set up your ad.
Here are some of the common audience options you have in Facebook:
- Location – Display your ad in one or more global regions, countries, states/regions, cities, postal codes, addresses, etc.
- Age – The minimum and maximum age of the people who will find your ad relevant
- Gender – Show your ad to men, women or both
- Demographics, Interests & Behaviors – Refine your audience with these more detailed targeting options
In addition, you can create custom audiences of people who took certain actions on your website when you use Facebook’s pixel. For example, if someone buys something on your website, the pixel is triggered and reports that action. That way, you’ll know they acted as a result of seeing your Facebook ad.
That customer can then be reached again by using a custom audience to which they’ll be added. As more and more actions occur on your website, Facebook will get better at delivering your ads to people who are more likely to take similar actions. This is called conversion optimization.
If you have access to your website’s code, you can add the pixel yourself. Just place the pixel base code (what you see when you create your pixel) on all pages of your website. Then, add standard events to the pixel code on the special pages of your website, such as your add-to-cart page or your purchase page. For complete instructions on implementing the pixel, click here.
Many people need the help of a developer to complete pixel setup. If that’s the case, email your Facebook pixel code to them and they’ll be able to easily add it to your site.
Assignment #5: Provide Insights & Access to Your Agency Partner
You may decide — as many business owners do — that it’s the best option for your business to partner with an agency to assist with Facebook marketing. If this is the route you choose, there is quite a bit of information you’ll need to provide. It includes both general information about your business as well as Facebook account information. This information enables the agency to develop and optimize ads for maximum effectiveness.
Below is a list of insights and access you’ll need to provide.
- Top services & products
- Services & products to avoid
- Average sale amount
- What makes your business unique from competitors?
- Website links to main competitors
- Facebook ad account ID – To find it, go to your ads manager and click the account dropdown menu above the search and filter bar
- Website access – Credentials (URL, username & password) to site
- Ad spend budget
Ready to Boost Your Business Using Facebook?
There you have it. This article provided an overview of Facebook’s value as a sales and marketing tool and ways you can use the platform to generate business from new and existing customers.
Ready to get started? Set up your accounts and complete the assignments provided and you’ll be on your way.
Have additional questions about Facebook or want to learn even more? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.