FIRST PUBLISHED HERE ON SOCIAL CONCEPTS, JANUARY 21ST 2016

So you’ve setup a Facebook page for your business and you’ve invited all of your friends and family to like it.  That’s done.  Now what?  Before you start obsessing over getting more likes and the fact that no one’s commenting on your posts except for your mum, ask yourself a few questions.

What’s my objective?

Your objective might be to grow your brand, to build your own community, to convert your posts to sales (this is a tricky one), to connect with your audience as a person/team rather than just as a brand. 

Who are my audience?

If you’ve done your market research and identified your client when you first started your business, you should be able to answer this question easily.  Think about demographics; age, location, gender, income, education, marital status, etc. Some of these won’t be relevant to your business but others will. 

These days it’s equally as important to understand the psychographics of your audience as well.  This means how do they feel, what do they think, what’s of interest to them, how do they spend their time, what’s meaningful to them, what do they value, etc.

Do they even hang out on Facebook?

This seems obvious, but sometimes business owners create a page on Facebook for the sake of having one.  What happens if your targeted demographic don’t even spend much time on Facebook?  You’d be wasting your time and as business owners, time is precious.  So be sure they’re on Facebook to begin with.  Otherwise they could be avid Twitter or Instagram users or perhaps they prefer a mix of print media and social media or maybe they spend time online in other ways.  Before you go any further, go back to your research on your target market or ideal client and be sure of where they spend their time.                                                               

How am I going to speak to them and ensure they’re engaged?

There’s nothing worse than seeing a brand or a person using the language or terminology of someone they’re not purely because they think it’s cool or that it’s on trend.  (Think ‘hey babes, soz, wtf,’ etc. being used in posts for an audience who don’t speak that way. Ugh.) 

Again you’ll go back to looking at the demographics of your audience.  Their age and where and how they spend their time will determine a large part of how you speak to them.  As well as what’s meaningful to them.  For example, if my audience were women who own their own businesses, I would speak in their values.  I would use language and post content which they can relate to.  I would ensure it’s supportive, understanding, inspiring, informative and empowering.  I would ask them questions about what their struggles are and what they would like to know more about in running their own business and I would create some of my content according to their answers.  This comes back to identifying your audience’s problem or challenge and doing all that you can to solve it. 

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Facebook is no longer about how big your audience is, joining ‘like ladders’ and running comps for shares.  Since changing their algorithm, Facebook want businesses to work for their audience.  No more cheating.  Only a small percentage of those who like your page will see your posts.  Don’t be bitter; remember Facebook is a business too.  So what can you do?  Focus on having a truly engaged community.  How?

1.     Be clear on who you’re speaking to and create engaging content according to this. Which problems are you solving for your client?

2.     Be authentic – use language your audience is using and that you’re comfortable with. If you’re trying to be something or someone else, people will see right through you. Really know whom you are speaking to so you can genuinely connect.

3.     Create a Facebook community for your existing and potential customers. Use it to build your brand, answer questions and solve problems, to refer business between members (if relevant) and to support your community.

4.     Post a mix of (relevant) images and text – questions are a great way to connect with your community as well as being able to use their answers for research.  They could tell you what your next blog should be on, where they need help, they might even identify a product or service you could launch.

5.     Show your and your team’s personality.  While sharing helpful content is great, it’s good to show that you’re human as well and that there are real people behind the brand. People want to know, like and trust you.  Think about how you can let them through what you choose to post and share.

6.     Drive your audience back to your website or blog post or event page so they can continue the journey.  They might truly connect with your post but then there’s no way to learn more.  Ensure you’ve setup your Call-To-Action button too at the top of your page.  Link it to where you’d like your audience to go if they want to take the next step.

7.     Measure your performance.  It’s no good following a formula or having to flexibility in what you’re using your Facebook page for and hoping it’ll always be successful.  Facebook have their own great tools for tracking your progress, seeing when your audience is online and which posts had great exposure and engagement.  And these will change too.  So measure and tweak as you go. 

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