Facebook is constantly evolving to benefit both users and page owners. Just recently, Facebook made significant changes to the layout of businesses pages resulting in improved usability and easier access to business information. As one of the biggest Social Media networks, Facebook is great for raising awareness of your brand. The opportunities are plentiful and there has never been a better time to establish a page for your business.

Firstly, a few reasons why your business should be on Facebook.

  1. Brand exposure: With over 1.59 billion users, Facebook is a great platform for increasing brand visibility.
  2. Customer expectation: According to Social Media Examiner 95% of Millennials expect brands to have a Facebook presence.
  3. Maintaining communication: With Facebook you can happily post updates to your followers four/five times a day without losing subscribers. Imagine the consequences if you were to send that many emails?
  4. Soft sell: Nothing moves people more than beautiful, compelling pictures. Gone are the days where your message was ‘Buy me now!’. A soft sell approach is the one and approved by customers too.
  5. Good customer service opportunity: Demonstrates how efficient your business is at responding to customers.
  6. Generate new Business: All that exposure will surely lead to new business opportunities
  7. It’s FREE: Need we say more?

If for you Facebook is proving to be an untapped resource then check out how some of the biggest brands are utilizing Facebook with our 5 effective ways of promoting your brand.

1. Create a Good First Impression

When people visit your page you want your business page to be instantly recognizable and instantly inviting. To help with this Facebook has recently changed the layout of ‘pages’ relocating the main logo to the top left hand side of the screen. This also means that the main banner image is no longer partially covered by your company logo – so be expressive with the image that you choose. Remember the old saying ‘An image speaks a thousand words.’

Take a look at how Domino’s Pizza use their banner space.

Domino's Facebook banner image.

Domino’s Pizza Facebook Page (Image from Facebook.com)

Domino’s use a tantalizing image to entice customers. They have a Call to Action (CTA) button located just underneath the banner image which is a technique being adopted by many brands since the recent layout changes.

The banner is also a great way of pushing messages that can tie into a particular campaign. Take a look at how Netflix are utilizing their banner space to promote the release of a new original series.

Netflix Banner advertises New Series

Netflix use their banner image to promote an original series (Image from Facebook.com)

Remember that this banner image appears above the fold so it is essential to use it wisely to convert visitors on your page.

2. Create Likable and Shareable Updates

Another recent change to Facebook news feeds was the abandonment of listing posts in chronological order and the introduction of prioritized posts from favorite users, appearing at the top of news feeds. Although this greatly improved the user experience, it did however have a dramatic impact on business pages.

Facebook state, 'The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts.' You can find out more about the changes to business pages.

We recommend creating content that is appealing, likable, funny and non-pushy. One of the most shared brands on Facebook is Skittles. They are experts in creating content that is relevant, likeable, and more importantly, sharable.

Skittles Image Shared Widely On Facebook

Skittles images taken from PostPlanner.com

This simple image posted to Skittles' Facebook page received over 3,000 likes, 400 comments and shared over and 19,748 times.

Another great way of getting content shared is to launch a competition. A lot of brands will ask their followers to share their content for a chance to win.

New York Dream Holidays Facebook Competition

New York Dream Holidays Competition taken from Facebook.
The competition asks entrants to share the advert for a chance to win a Christmas trip to New York. The advert has achieved 1,199,209 views since being launched.

3. Encourage Engagement

Brands are becoming increasingly aware that consumers dislike being bothered with hard-selling adverts. This was actually one of the main driving forces behind Facebook’s recent changes to the way it displayed content in news feeds. After surveying hundreds of thousands of people for their views on content in news feeds, users told them that they wanted to see less promotional content.

So, to get round this, a more palatable approach to engaging with consumers is to engage with them. Take a look at this example from Intrepid Travel:

Intrepid Travel Engage with Fans

To promote their latest blog they posted it with the words ‘Think you could do it?’ Instead of saying ‘read our blog now’ they were able to engage with their followers who shared it 94 times and attracted 133 comments. Not bad for a morning’s work!

Another example of this is from Amazon.

Amazon Facebook Post Engages fans

Image taken from Facebook.com

Amazon use an idealistic image to ask fans 'What are you reading this summer?' Another advantage of adopting this method is the reach potential. When fans carryout any activity on posts, whether it’s a comment or like, their activities will show up on their friends’ news feeds (providing they allow activity to be made public to friends). So in some instances getting customers to engage with your brand can be just as rewarding, especially if it’s impressions that you are after.

Another way of encouraging engagement is to allow customers to provide reviews and feedback openly on your Facebook page. Don’t panic. Transparency is the key here. Consumers don’t really care about negative reviews and comments on Social Media, it’s how they are dealt with and the speed in which they are responded to.

Just take a look at the snippet taken from Starbucks' Facebook page.

Starbuck's Facebook post

After posting an update about Frappes they received 304 comments on that one post – some good, some bad, and some (potentially) ugly. Starbucks replied to every single comment within a matter of hours which is impressive. Yes, a large brand can afford to have a dedicated member of staff on standby to manage responses. But it is still a good marketing tactic all the same.

Just to highlight the importance of this, while conducting researching for this post I came across another Facebook page. Without naming the candy brand that like to talk about tasting the rainbow, I immediately stumbled upon publicly expressed frustration shared by many, caused by the brand's inability to respond to fans. One fan even suggested that the brand didn’t care what was being said on Facebook, as long as they were harvesting ‘likes’. The lesson to be learned here is if you are going to encourage engagement with fans, it is always best to have a strategy in place for dealing with comments (good or bad), or you run the risk of being a face-less brand that – let’s face it – has the potential to insight anger!

Zappos on the other hand, are open, transparent and even have a dedicated area for customer comments and queries.

Zappos’ dedicated area for customer comments.

In addition to this, Zappos have an average response time of 1-2 hours. Great!

4. Advertise Your Page

There are a few advertising options available on Facebook, details of which can be found on their advertising products page. Advertising on Facebook is a simple process and one that can be measured easily. For assured success adverts you can target adverts by:

  • Location
  • Demographics; age, gender
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections
  • Partner categories. (These are related to behavior outside of the platform, such as home-owner).

Advertising on Facebook is designed for businesses. Throughout the duration of your ad, Facebook keep you updated about its performance and budget spent and everything can be tracked through the [Advert Manager] (https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/accounts/?act=10150982314272131). You can set tiny budgets of around $8 and specify maximum spend and if you’re unsure of how to approach Facebook advertising, they have a great guide.

Facebook Advertising Guide

Facebook’s Advertising Guide.

As well as promoting your page on Facebook, you can also promote your page away from the platform and there are several ways you could do this.

  • Integrate Facebook onto your website: You can add static icons, share buttons that allows visitors on your website to share selected content directly to their news feed and social logins, which is when you login, via Facebook instead of creating a separate account.
  • Make sure that campaigns are integrated: Whatever messages you are using to push a product or promote your brand, make sure that there is consistency both on and off-line. Additionally, when advertising off-line always refer customer to your Facebook page.
  • Link to Facebook on all digital communications: When sending out emails, newsletters and blogs, ensure that there is a link to your page in your email signature. You could include a snippet of your Facebook page in your newsletter and link to your page directly from your blog at any opportunity.

5. Activate Check-in For Local Businesses

If your business has a physical location that customers can visit, be sure to activate the Check-In feature to allow customers to check-in. This is then published onto their news feeds without them having to create a new status update.

Check-in Function on Facebook

As you can see from the example above, when you check into a local business the status is automatically populated with a map of your location, an image of the business and a link to the business page. This is a great, simple and a free way of getting a quick mention that is visible to potentially 100s of Facebook users.

To make this feature available you will need to choose Local Businesses for your page category. There is a step-by-step guide for activating the check-in on Facebook.

Final thoughts

If you are new to Facebook marketing it would be a good idea to think carefully about what it is you want to achieve. Set yourself realistic goals and objectives:

  • Plan: What do you hope to achieve from a Facebook marketing strategy? Is it sales, brand building, answering customer queries and problems, or getting to know which product or service is a hit?

  • Budget: Setting up a Facebook page is free but it is free for your competitors too. What will you do to set yourself apart to raise your chances of exposing your brand to the larger Facebook audience? Spend some money on promoting your page.

  • Schedule: You must know when your fans are active on Facebook. There is no point in posting interesting information when your fans aren't online.

  • Frequency: How often do you plan to connect with your customers? You must be consistent and it's a fine balance so why not check out some of your favorite brands and see what their approach is.

Once you have optimized your page and began sharing content don’t forget to constantly assess how well you are doing. There are loads of paid and free tools to help you with this so be sure to post regularly and creatively and always be responsive to your fans. Keep referring to this post and we are confident that you will become effective at promoting your brand on Facebook.