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Facebook as a Business Tool

In our last blog post, we focused on how to use Twitter responsibly. Much of the advice in that post similarly applies to using Facebook, so we recommend that you read it now if you have not done so already.

In this post, we are focusing more specifically on how to effectively use Facebook as a business tool. While the responsible use of all social media is important, Facebook is unique in that it may be used explicitly as a tool to grow your business. The following suggestions relate specifically to that capability.

Create the Proper Page

Dummy accounts are defined as accounts that do not represent real people. These accounts violate Facebook’s terms and conditions. They are illegal. It is that simple. Don’t use them. As well, you should not use a personal account for your business; instead, you should create a separate page. Whether you’re an author, a celebrity, or the CEO of an international corporation, create the right type of page for your needs. Take the time to develop the page properly, using graphics that match your website and incorporate your logo.

Complete the “About” Section

This section appears directly beneath your profile picture. This information is one of the first things people see when they find your account. Be sure to include information most relevant to prospective customers or clients – in practical terms, the Answer segment of a typical Q&A section without the Question segment.

Post with Reasonable Regularity

The adage, “out of sight; out of mind,” applies to Facebook. But for relatively small businesses, interactions per post drop dramatically when there is more than one post per day. Therefore, it is usually best to post no more than once or twice per day. Rather than quantity, focus on quality. Posting low-quality material is even worse than posting too often, so refrain from doing either. For genuine results, especially if you are just getting started and need to build a following, investing in Facebook ads (boosted posts and page ads) can help put your page in front of a targeted audience.

Post at the Right Times of the Day

In general, most Facebook analyses indicate that early afternoon (1:00-4:00 pm) is the best time for business posts to be viewed and shared. If you want to post twice on any given day, it usually is best to post right after lunch (1:00) and right before the end of the standard work day (4:30). If your business is mostly conducted after regular business hours (restaurants, bars, movie theaters, etc.), then the hours of 4:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 generally work best. The most effective times for you might vary slightly from the standards, but using these suggested times as your starting point is a good idea.

Use Videos and Multimedia

One of the distinguishing factors in well-regarded Facebook posts is a combination of traditional print and video material. Just as with other marketing efforts, Facebook is most powerful when it appeals to multiple senses. Of particular impact is inspirational video and the use of music, since those forms of media tap into emotion in a direct way. Research estimates put engagement about two to three times higher after the first month when multimedia is employed as opposed to when solely using print in your posts.

Respond within an Hour to Comments

Your social media participants (those who comment on your posts) can be separated into two groups: those who complain and those who don’t. You can’t eliminate all complaints, but you can minimize them with one policy: Respond to comments within an hour. That is the expectation of those who complain, and it will impress those who don’t.

To make sure you are able to do this, activate notifications when people comment. Have the notifications sent to two locations: to an email address that is dedicated to social media responses and to a work computer or mobile device, depending on your availability.

Use Facebook Analytic Tools

It is impossible to improve that which isn’t tracked, studied, and understood. The point of all marketing is continual improvement, so actively using Facebook without taking advantage of its analytic tools is foolish. The data available through these tools is invaluable, so use them to craft an intentional, comprehensive strategy that works for you and your business. Not only will they allow you to do more of what works, but they also will allow you to do less of what doesn’t work.

Along with these foundational suggestions, there are a number of Facebook features that can enhance your effectiveness. It is worth taking some time and looking into each one to see if you can use them in your social media strategy. They include the following:

  • Scheduled posts
  • Promoted posts
  • Hashtags
  • Places
  • Stock photography

Facebook still can be a powerful component of social media marketing, if it is implemented correctly. Done well, Facebook can reach customers and potential consumers in a unique way. It should not be used independently of other marketing measures; rather, it should be integrated into your overall marketing plan. There is much more that you can do to maximize Facebook effectively, but the suggestions and components in this post will give you a solid starting point – and they can launch your expanded use into deeper features.

Are you missing out on ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in potential growth?

DaSh factor Report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media

DaSh factor LLC has published a new report: Why Every CEO Should be on Social Media. CEOs, especially those in the B2B space, have shown a reluctance to embrace social media beyond the standard LinkedIn profile, but this report demonstrates the countless benefits afforded the CEO on social media.

CEOs on social media in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C provide the industry-specific, trust-based, personal interaction that customers seek.

The pressure for CEOs to be accessible on social media is growing; more than half of millennial B2B decision makers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by social media and more than 80% of B2B customers expect real-time interaction with the companies they do business with. CEOs on social media amplify the brand and lend credibility to the messaging.

This report details how CEOs on social media benefit from:

  • Increased customer engagement
  • Better brand awareness
  • Enhanced brand visibility
  • Credibility as thought leaders
  • Improved employee engagement

The report provides a guideline for getting started and examples of CEOs who are leveraging the power of social media to make a difference for themselves and their organizations.

Request a free copy of this new report from DaSh factor by subscribing below.

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How to Leverage Facebook Design Changes

Why Bother with Facebook?

This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis, especially now, as each time I add a post to my page, I am given the option of spending up to $50 to reach 5,000 people.

Over the past two years, I’ve seen decent growth in my personal blog, MomsGetReal, which has gone from about 2,000 unique views per month and about 10,000 pageviews per month to more than 10,000 unique pageviews and 40,000 pageviews per month.

While Facebook is responsible for driving some of that growth, Pinterest has actually been responsible for more traffic (by about a third) than Facebook (although the resulting addiction to Pinterest is certainly something to consider). Even though Twitter sends less traffic to the site, it provides a better platform for networking. My connections on Twitter have resulted in paid advertising for my blog, participation in promotional events that improve brand awareness and wonderful, enriching partnerships. Google+ allows me to connect more effectively with people who share interests.

But Facebook is not going away, and the changes they are making to their algorithms (whether they admit it or not), combined with the rollout of EdgeRank last year and now the up-and-coming visual redesign (which is not yet fully available, though most people can sign up for a waiting list), makes Facebook something we will have to continue to contend with.

What’s Changing?

According to Facebook, the new design will be image intensive, with better control over what appears in your stream and the ability to define streams based on content. This is very much like Google+ Circles, which demonstrates that Facebook not only sees Google as a threat but is also trying to keep up with their design. While I ultimately predict Google+ will have the ability to dominate, thanks to its integration with all other Google-based products and because I think everyone should be on Google+ now, it’s not worth giving up on Facebook just yet.

Facebook’s Three Major Changes

  1. Image display will be larger. Images are shared a lot, and Facebook is making it even easier to share them, giving up more landscape to those images and changing the way the accompanying text will appear. Because the text will now overlay the image, it will be important to keep that in mind when you have commentary to accompany your image.

  1. Newsfeed. Users will now be able to define what appears in their feeds, and this is where managing pages gets tricky for businesses and communities. If users choose to have only friends show up in their feed, the only way your page will show up is if their friends liked or shared your content. Brand cheerleaders have never been more important, making engagement critical to visibility.

  1. Mobility Rules. The best change to come out of the latest revamp is that Facebook is making it easier to use the platform on any mobile device. This change provides a consistent look whether you’re using a phone, tablet or laptop. The mobile redesign will roll out first to iPhone and iPad, then to Android devices.

These changes not only will alter the way your page is seen, since users will have more control over their newsfeeds, but they will also make image-intensive and video-intensive posts far more appealing than plain text updates. If you want to have your posts viewed, liked and shared, a strong image-based marketing effort will be required.

What the Changes Mean for Social Media Managers

For those who use Hootsuite to provide bulk updates to clients, be prepared to have a more labor-intensive experience with clients who want an image-based campaign. Hootsuite is not capable of offering a bulk update that includes an image, so the only option is a manual update via the page admin or via Hootsuite one post at a time.

How to Handle the Changes

As the Facebook changes roll out, both companies and page managers need to take steps to leverage the improved image and video visibility, but the real focus needs to be on engagement. You need to turn your fans into brand cheerleaders and your brand cheerleaders into evangelists. So in the end, it really doesn’t matter what the design or platform is that you’re using. It’s not a matter of having the most images; it’s a matter of having great fans who love you enough to share what you post.

If you need help bringing  your social media up to speed, DaSh factor can help.