Today's post will be the first our new Social Media 101 series! We will go through the basics of the most popular social media platforms and give an overview, reasons why you should (or should not!) be using it for your business, and best practices for using it successfully for your business. First up today is the most popular social media platform in the WORLD, Facebook!
- Facebook has 2.01 billion active monthly users
- 50 million businesses are on Facebook
- 75% of men and 83% of women are on Facebook
- 83% of Facebook users worldwide are under 45
- 79% of ALL AMERICANS use Facebook. The next closest is Instagram with 32%
- Over half of US users check Facebook "several times a day" (with an average being 8 times a day)
- 83% of millennials are on Facebook
- 84% of Generation X-ers are on Facebook
- Number of active users in every age bracket continues to increase on Facebook every year
- Facebook ended the second quarter of 2017 with over 20,000 employees, up 43% year over year
WHO SHOULD BE USING FACEBOOK FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND WHY:
Every business should have a presence on Facebook. Period. Facebook is like the modern day Yellow Pages, and just like everyone had a copy of the Yellow Pages in their kitchen junk drawer when I was growing up, everyone has access to, and is on, Facebook today. For instance, if your target market is women, ages 30-45, 83% OF THEM are on Facebook! They are already there, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to access them right there. It would be like a big room of 100 people, and 83 of them are your target market. Without a Facebook business page, you walk through that room silently, and nobody knows who you are, what you do, or that you even exist! With even just the most basic Facebook business page, you are holding up a sign in that big room, with your business name, what you do, and your contact information. You still don't have to make a sound, but women who are looking for something just like you offer will come up to you and ask you about it. You have just reached your target market with very little effort! And that's just the bare minimum! But without that business page, they may never know you or your company exisits. You have the opportunity to reach them, to learn about them, to engage them right there on Facebook, and potentially win their business. And maybe more importantly, they have the opportunity to reach YOU. If a potential customer searches for your business on Facebook and you don't have a presence, they wonder WHY. It delegitimatizes your business and allows the customer to pass right by you and onto a competitor. But when you have a business page on Facebook, and hopefully in conjunction with a website, you have the beginnings of a digital presence for your brand. You're establishing rapport and a foundation for your brand that is an absolute necessity in this digital age. The bottom line is, you and everyone else should use Facebook because it's there. It's easy. It's not going anywhere. And your customers are there. And if they're not there yet, they will be soon.
HOW TO USE FACEBOOK SUCCESSFULLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS
This could be an entire blog series in and of itself. But in sticking with the basics, there are four major things you need to do to use Facebook successfully for your business.
1. Create and establish a complete Facebook Business Page
Very basic, but very important! We will get into Facebook pages vs. Facebook Groups in another blog post, but first and foremost, you want to establish your Facebook Business Page. This is a fantastic and very thorough article on exactly how to do it, step by step. You want to add your logo and a dynamic cover photo. You want to add basic information about your business, including company description and contact information (SO IMPORTANT!). You want to begin inviting your family and friends to like you page. Don't be shy! You want to make sure that your page is full of updated and relevant information so that customers can find you and find plenty of information about your business very easily.
Active Facebook accounts are successful Facebook accounts. And your page is not going to pop into people's feeds or generate interest if it's sitting quietly and not sharing any information. Share quality content for your followers and potential customers. Promote your business of course, but share pertinent articles that your customers might like to read that correspond with your industry. Share user generated content (a photo that a customer posted to your page of her in the pair of jeans you sell! And PS- user generated content generates 6.9 times MORE engagement than brand generated content!), share events, images, and other types of information that will create VALUE in your followers feeds. You can post manually or use a tool to schedule and automate your posting for you to make it a bit easier and more manageable. A few stats for successful posting:
- Posts with photos get 39% more engagement than those without
- Be concise! Posts with 250 characters or less have 60% more engagement than posts with more, and posts with 80 characters or less get 66% more engagement than those posts with more.
- Use emoticons! Posts with emojis get 33% more comments, get shared 33% more often, and are liked 57% more than those without them.
- Posts with questions get 100% more comments!
- 1-3 pm on Thursdays and Fridays are typically the best times to post
3. Engage with Your Followers
So you've established your page, you have some followers, you're posting regularly, and now you need to engage with your customers. Respond to their comments! Ask them questions! Create giveaways or contests (35% of page followers participate in contests!), or poll them for feedback on what they want to see and/or their reaction to your brand. Engagement will build rapport between you and your customers. And when 57% of consumers say that social media influences their shopping, led by 44% on Facebook, having a strong, positive relationship with your Facebook followers can convert followers into customers through sales and purchases.
4. Consider Facebook Advertising
As Facebook algorithms put friend and family connections first again, businesses have to fight more than ever to remain present in our followers newsfeeds. Sadly, Facebook page posts only average 2.6% organic reach, which means that only 2.6% of your followers see your posts if you are not boosting them or creating Facebook ad campaigns. So there are two things you can do to stay relevant. You can choose not to utilize Facebook ads, and strive to create really high quality content with the hopes that it will go viral or be shared enough that it boosts engagement and pops up in the feeds of your followers. Or, you can choose to pay to play, and advertise of Facebook. The second option is not nearly as bad as you would think, and is actually very affordable. Facebook advertising is highly targeted, and can be worked into nearly every business budget. It is all but guaranteed that your post reach will increase with ads, and your business will be exposed to Facebook users in your demographic that may not have seen you otherwise. 93% of all social media advertisers use Facebook ads, and 62% of digital marketers say that Facebook is the most important platform for marketing (second place is LinkedIn at only 16%!). So it is extremely likely that if you are not utilizing Facebook ads, that one of your competitors is. And that competitor is going to be seen by your potential customers first and more often. And when 26% of Facebook users who click on ads end up making a purchase, you are missing out on potential customers and potential sales without utilizing Facebook ads.
I hope this helps to explain the basics on what Facebook is, why it is vital to your business to have a Facebook presence, and at least a start to what you can do to make Facebook successful for your business. Consider following the Magnolia Marketing Group Facebook Page here, and join our closed Facebook Group, Bloom with Magnolia Marketing for more tips, best practices, and support and inspiration in your small business journey.
Hope you'll return next week when we talk about the basics of Instagram!