Many of us have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It’s easy to use and it seems like everyone is on it, but it has become increasingly difficult for a business to get noticed.
Facebook has the largest and most consistent reach of any social media site, making it a must-have for any marketing campaign — so long as it’s done right. The challenge is that it’s easy for your message to get lost in the, at times, deafening noise of so many people talking at once. There are more than 50 million businesses on Facebook vying for the attention of potential consumers. That’s why it’s important the time you commit to building the platform is worthwhile. Set your store apart by learning how to make your page work for you and not the other way around.
As the largest social network (more than 20% of the world’s population is on this one site), your store can’t afford not to have a presence. How, though, do you build an audience? Let’s start with the do’s and don’ts of how to build engagement on Facebook.
Do set a tone for your page. Consider what service you are offering your followers as individuals rather than as consumers. Most people will not be in the market to make a purchase from your store every day, and for many Facebook users, it is a daily activity. Ask yourself why should they follow your store page? What will they gain from the experience? Will you be posting funny memes that make them laugh? Will you share college news that they might be interested in reading? What is the hook that will bring them back to your page time and time again? The tone you set on Facebook will be the reason people want to follow you. It really is that simple.
Facebook isn’t built for selling merchandise, it is made for making connections. Figure out your tone and how it fits into your store brand. Will it be whimsical? Will it be filled with school spirit? The choice is completely yours. Choose the tone that best suits your college store and stick with it because that becomes part of your online branding.
Do share a variety of posts. Pictures, videos, links, shared posts and status updates, all of these help make up your platform. Traditionally, pictures and videos are the most engaging content, however Facebook rewards variety. If you already have a Facebook page, you have probably noticed that only a fraction of your followers actually see what you post. That is just a reality of Facebook now (in no small part due to the 50 million businesses on the site and Facebook ads). However, variety of content does help your post engagements go up.
Don’t only post when you want something. Too many small businesses fall into the trap of only posting when they are having a sale or some special promotion in the store. You definitely should post about those things, but they shouldn’t be the only topics you post about — it will kill the engagement on your page. When the message has no variation, the message becomes part of the cacophony of businesses who want something from consumers and people will scroll right on by or unfollow.
Do targeted advertising. As much as business pages resent the fact that Facebook keeps making it harder to reach their fans, you can’t deny the tool Facebook advertising provides. With the ability to target a specific audience, not only can you get your message out, but it can reach a larger group than just the people who follow your page. There are several ways ads can target a particular audience. You can use Facebook pixels, existing email lists, regions, ages and interests. Targeted marketing campaigns ensure the money you invest in reaching customers is well spent. With such an enormous audience on Facebook this is an incredible feature.
Don’t farm in page likes so your stats look better. There are all types of companies and promotions that will promise you more Facebook page likes and they deliver — but they do more harm than good. Your posts will naturally be seen by more people with a smaller engaged audience than a large audience who consists mostly of disinterested people or fake accounts. Letting your audience build slowly and naturally is the best way to make sure your page will always reach your market. In this case, more isn’t better.
Let’s say there are two separate college bookstores. Store A has 1,000 followers on Facebook. Store B has 5,000 followers, but gained a good portion of those from campaigns designed to get more likes. Store B posts average about 250 views. That means they are engaging .4% of their audience. Now, Store A also gets about 250 views on their posts. However, they are engaging 25% of their audience. When Facebook algorithms are selecting posts that will or will not show up in a follower’s newsfeed, that engagement percentage makes a difference. This means that Facebook will select more of Store A’s followers to see their posts and less of Store B’s because Store B’s audience doesn’t appear to be interested in what they are saying.
These are the basics of starting to grow and use your Facebook account effectively (Check out the Best College Facebook Pages or Three Quick Social Media Ideas for College Stores for more ideas). Keep in mind, Facebook can eat away a lot of time. Try setting a specific time period every week to schedule a week’s worth of posts. The set aside a much smaller amount of time at the end of each day to reply to anyone who has commented on your page or asked questions.
Also, stay tuned to Foreword Online every Friday for more social media tips. Coming in the next several weeks, you will find in-depth posts about how to use Facebook Pixels, how to measure store visits and sales as a result of your Facebook page, social media time management tips, marketing with Twitter and much more to enhance your social media marketing campaigns.