Facebook… the mere mention of it triggers strong opinions, whether or not you’re a small business owner.
Hardly surprising, given the controversy surrounding the world’s largest social network in recent years.
Despite this, business owners still flock to Facebook with high hopes of selling their products and services – only to find the reality is less appealing.
No-one is buying. No-one even stops to look. No-one cares.
What’s that about?
Sorry to break it to you but you’re doing it all wrong.
This is not 2012 – simply posting a picture on Facebook and telling people how wonderful your product or service is, will not entice them to buy. You’ll be lucky if anyone actually sees your post, assuming you’ve done the “right thing” and shared it on your Facebook business page.
No, I’m not crazy (well, no more than usual) but you might just want to read further to find out what on earth I’m on about…
Your Clients Don’t Care About You.
It’s true – they only care about how you will solve their problems. Once you realise this, marketing becomes easier because you’ll stop talking about “I” or “We” and focus more on “You” (the most powerful word in the English language) .
It’s pointless sharing a post on Facebook, listing your products or services with a poor-quality image and absolutely no explanation or reason why anyone would be interested. As an admin of several Facebook groups, I’m amazed at how many of these posts I see every day. It’s rather soul-destroying.
The Facebook Algorithm
Ah – the technical term that we all know these days, at least if we’ve spent any time on Facebook. It’s a bit of a mystery, which makes it intriguing; I bet you’ve read all sorts of articles on the topic of “beating the algorithm”.
Unfortunately, you can’t beat it, but when you use strategies that work WITH it, by optimising your Facebook activity so that potential clients easily see the benefits they’ll get from working with you – THAT is where the magic happens.
Let’s explore this in more detail…
Facebook pages for business launched in November 2011. In the early days, everything was hunky dory – you’d post on your page and hundreds of people would see your updates in their newsfeed. You’d probably even sell stuff quite easily!
It would be impossible to show all posts from a page to all the Facebook users who have liked that page – there is simply not enough space in the newsfeed, and it would contain nothing but page posts. Obviously, that wouldn’t be a good experience for users who primarily sign up to Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family.
Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly emphasised that the whole ethos of Facebook is friends, family, community – it’s NOT about promotion of businesses. Understandably, Facebook wants businesses to pay for ads. There’s no such thing as a free lunch!
Therefore, the algorithm restricts posts from business pages, only showing those that have had plenty of engagement (likes, comments, shares) and are clearly popular.
It’s estimated that currently (late 2019), organic page reach is under 5% – meaning that less than 5% of the people who have liked a page, will see that page’s posts in their newsfeed. A pretty grim prospect for page owners – although you should see it as a challenge to produce more engaging posts….
And you could try an additional strategy I’m going to talk about next.
Your Facebook Profile
It used to be the case that Facebook’s Terms stated that you must not use a personal profile for “commercial gain”. Nowadays however, Terms state that you must:
- Use the same name that you use in everyday life.
- Provide accurate information about yourself.
- Create only one account (your own) and use your timeline for personal purposes.
While I’m by no means suggesting that you fill your personal timeline with posts urging people to buy from you (that’s never going to work!) – you should certainly be letting people know about your business and what you offer potential clients. That’s in addition to personal posts about your everyday activities, whether or not business-related.
You’ve heard the saying “people buy from people” – if your Facebook followers get the chance to see behind the scenes, to meet the person behind the business – doesn’t it make sense that they’ll be far more likely to buy from you?
This is particularly important for small or micro businesses – if YOU are the business, there’s no point trying to pretend otherwise. Authenticity is a valuable commodity!
The benefit of sharing business-related updates on your personal profile are many – the big one being that your posts are far more likely to be seen when they’re not coming from a business page.
With me so far? OK – there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to get your profile ready.
Optimise Your Facebook Profile
There are 8 areas you should work on to encourage potential clients to get in touch with you.
- Your Intro – 101 characters to describe what you do, your target clients and exactly how you help them. Appears immediately under your profile cover image.
- Your Bio – if you wish, add your place of residence, your social media profile links, website and any other links (such as Facebook Groups you manage)
- Your Workplace – this is essential. Hyperlink it to your Facebook page so that people can immediately click through to learn more.
- Your Profile Image – a clear head shot. Don’t be tempted to use a logo, nor a picture of your dog, cat or other pet. Remember, people buy from people! Add a description behind the image too – make it all about your business.
- Your Cover Image – this is your opportunity to get creative with an image related to your business and how you help clients. Change it from time to time to reflect specific products/services/promotions. As with the profile image, add a description.
- Your Featured Image(s) – here you can upload up to 9 images that appear in a grid layout. All of these could be business-related and each one has a description. Alternatively, use one large image to fill the space – again, business-related with a description behind it.
- Allow Followers – this is a feature within your Facebook settings > Privacy > Public Posts. Setting this to Public means that people who are not your Facebook friends can follow you and see your public posts, meaning you’ll reach a wider audience. You always have the option to limit your posts to friends only, or restrict them even further if you wish.
- Your “Other Name”. This is the text that appears on your profile cover image in desktop view, and in brackets underneath your cover image in mobile view. Use keywords relevant to your business – g. mine says “Video and Facebook Ads”. When you add this, your profile/name appears whenever someone types those keywords as part of a comment in groups you belong to. Magic – an instant referral for you!
Here’s a short video tutorial explaining how to add keywords (“Other Name”) to your Facebook profile:
As previously mentioned, Facebook’s focus is firmly on friends, family and community. At the start of this year they emphasised the importance of Groups – and there have been several major updates to Groups throughout 2019. (interestingly, hardly anything has been said about business pages)
Groups tie in nicely with your personal profile strategy – although you can now join some Groups as your page, you’ll have a far better experience when you join as your profile. People buy from….. you know the rest.
Join a few groups where your ideal clients are likely to be – participate in discussions, answer questions, add value. Start your own conversations if you have something worth saying.
All of this will raise your profile and you will start to be noticed by other members – they might check out your profile and guess what, they’ll see exactly how you can help them because you took the time to make it crystal clear. Soon they’ll be contacting you to find out more.
Despite the length of this post, I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with Facebook when you use it strategically. Forget what you’ve been told by “experts” in the past – nowadays it’s about harnessing all the tools on offer, not sticking rigidly to posting twice a day on your business page.
I’m not saying you should give up posting on your page altogether – quite the opposite, it’s important that any visitors see an active presence – and of course aim to keep your updates engaging and relevant.
Want more in-depth advice on getting the best from Facebook?
My Facebook Focus session is exactly what you need. For £59, we’ll meet for one hour via Zoom (or in person if you’re local) to optimise your profile and talk through the various features you need in place to get that pesky algorithm working FOR you not against you.
Book your slot here – Advance payment required; I’ll contact you to arrange.
Questions or comments? I’d love to hear your feedback, go ahead and post below!
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