hall of fame
Kim Jordan

Likes, comments and shares—oh, my!

Facebook—many businesses use it, but most don’t understand its full potential. This online networking service is a powerful small business tool, enabling companies to market services and interact with both current and potential customers.

Facebook has established itself as one of the most effective marketing tools for small businesses.

Businesses, both big and small, are using social media to make a name for themselves. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat—the list goes on. Compared with its competitors, though, Facebook has established itself as one of the most effective marketing tools for small businesses. With the ability to interact with consumers directly and the opportunity to share fresh, relevant content every day, small business brands simply cannot afford to not be a part of the conversation.

Setting up a Facebook page is just the first step in growing a small business’ marketing efforts. In order to effectively engage new customers and hone a dynamic brand ethos on Facebook, companies need to implement a strategy and continually engage with consumers.

But, where do you begin? Here are some simple ways that small businesses can successfully attract and engage with their target audiences on Facebook:

Embrace linked posts.

Instead of simply embedding links directly into status updates, make sure to include a link-preview in each post. This pulls a large image from the page that is being linked to, making the post appear as both a photo and a linked post. Including a link-preview post provides a more visual and compelling experience for audience members. Even more, users are more apt to like, comment on or share a post when it’s visually appealing and contains useful information.

Utilize the cover photo space.

A recent eye-tracking study noted that consumers pay far more attention to the cover photo than any other content on a Facebook timeline.

A cover photo is the first piece of digital real estate that users view when they visit a Facebook page. A recent eye-tracking study noted that consumers pay far more attention to the cover photo than any other content on a Facebook timeline. This means that a small business has the ability to shine in this space. So, include a high-resolution photograph of branded merchandise, promote a special that’s running, or simply show off a photo of a few team members to humanize the brand. For maximum readability, be sure that the color scheme of your cover photo creates contrast with the Page Name and Category Listings that overlay it.

Highlight the best posts.

Draw attention to top posts by highlighting them or pinning them to the top of the Facebook timeline. This will keep the post at the very top of a business’ page, giving the audience easy access to it when they arrive on the page. Running a special for a limited time or trying to promote an eBook that was just created? Pin the post and draw attention to it in no time.

Interact with the audience.

Social media users love to hear back from brands. A great way to humanize a small business brand on Facebook is to interact with the audience. When a visitor comments on a post, a business can respond to provide them with additional information or to simply say, “Hello!”

Ignoring a negative comment or, even worse, deleting it from the timeline, will only attract more negative attention to a brand.

The same principle applies when a user leaves a negative comment about a brand. Whether the user had a bad experience with a company’s customer service or was dissatisfied with a product purchase, each and every comment should be addressed individually and appropriately. Ignoring a negative comment or, even worse, deleting it from the timeline, will only attract more negative attention to a brand.

Start a contest.

Deep down, everyone has a competitive side and consumers love to win free things—whether it’s a branded t-shirt or a free vacation. Run a uniquely engineered contest on Facebook to engage the audience. Intertwine a service discount or giveaway that’s compelling. Make it as easy as possible for participants to get involved. And remember, don’t forget to collect some information from them in the process.

Boost posts and create a Facebook ad (or two).

Paying to promote posts or a business page will bring in a higher number of fans. Content that is boosted or included in a Facebook ad can reach double the amount of people compared to content that is not promoted. However, paying to promote posts or pages can get pricey if not executed properly, so keep an eye on how much is being spent,  how many customers are being reached, and their engagement levels.

Pay close attention to analytics.

Facebook does a lot of work for its business users—especially when it comes to tracking audiences and posts. Facebook analytics allows small businesses to see whom they’re talking to and who’s listening. Make sure to check analytics at least three times per week, and make appropriate changes to any posts that aren’t getting enough engagement or those that are not reaching the desired audience.

The more engaging and compelling the content is, the more often it will be liked, commented on, and shared.

A certain degree of trial and error is necessary to truly win at Facebook marketing. Make it a point to get started, and continually engage with your community and your target consumers. They’re the ones who allow small businesses to succeed, so go the extra mile and do something special for them via social media. The more engaging and compelling the content is, the more often it will be liked, commented on, and shared—launching your small business’ content and brand onto more and more Facebook newsfeeds.

Interested in learning more? Check out our post on how social media strategy and development can help businesses, both big and small.

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