"My goal is to help you save your time and your resources and provide you with a highly effective system to make Facebook work for your business."
Twitter. LinkedIn. Facebook. Fast as you think you’ve mastered one aspect of social media, up pops another like Pinterest, to name just one. As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming.
I am of the generation that used to think of Facebook as:
a) just for kids and
b) to share information/jokes with friends.
My social media focus to date has been on Twitter and LinkedIn, so selecting Make Facebook Work For Your Business by Alex Stearn seemed like a good choice for my next Actionable Books summary. It was time I educated myself on the tools and power of Facebook.
More than meets the eye
"Facebook allows you to customize your Facebook page by using custom applications and you can add promotions, contests, stores, email sign up pages, videos and more."
In reading through this book, I have discovered that I was wrong. There is much more to Facebook than meets the eye. As a business owner, I have only scratched the surface with what I have been doing.
Having a business Facebook page is just the start, and Stearn walks you through the different opportunities available to you, such as customizing your page with apps – there’s even a blogging app called Notes. Who knew?
From setting up a store or webinar sign up to polls or contests, Facebook could become your go-to mechanism to recruit not just followers, but customers too. And as she shares, many of the custom apps are also linked to other data management programs like Constant Contact.
But like any marketing strategy, Stearn advises you to think through what you want to achieve, otherwise too many gizmos could distract your follower from becoming a customer, and that is likely one of your end goals.
Because I am so visual and a hands-on learner, it took me longer to read this book, as I would sit with a page propped open while I experimented on Facebook to see for myself if this app would work for my business.
Content is king
"In order to create the right content, you are going to need to have a real understanding of your target audience and deep insight into what interests and motivates them."
While most of us know that content and useful information help you attract a loyal audience, it is I think more difficult on Facebook because of the algorithm they use, whereby not every post will reach your followers.
So how do you get around this barrier? Part of it, Stearn advises, is picking your topic of interest and consistently promoting it. Choosing different times of day and posting at least three times a day can mean that your posts stay alive longer.
According to Stearn, approximately 75 percent of engagement takes place within the first five hours, and 60 percent within the first three hours, with the value of the post decreasing as time goes on.
Offering a weekly or daily tip, for example, would be one way to keep your followers engaged.
Measure your results
"Measuring and monitoring your results and performance against your original goals and objectives on a continual basis is essential. This is where many businesses go wrong, they carry on aimlessly posting content without checking to see what is working and what is not."
One quick way to track your postings is to click on the Facebook Insights link at the top of your Facebook page. This was news to me and it was fascinating to read how many people you’d reached, when and how you’d reached them.
There are in fact several measurements tracked by Facebook – an overview, the page like tab, the reach tab, the visits tab and with your posts, when your fans are online and the average performance of each of your posts. All useful information to garner and study.
And there’s more… a people tab which gives you demographic information about their age, gender, geography and language. If you choose to run an advertisement, you can also track its results as well.
Stearn strongly recommends getting hooked up with Google Analytics, as then there are several reports and statistical information you can collect. I was particularly interested in The Networks Referral Report which tells you how many visitors the social networks have referred to your website and shows you how many page views, visits, the duration of the visits and the average number of pages viewed. From this information you can determine which network sent the highest volume of traffic.
This book has created increased awareness of what can be achieved and programmed through Facebook. Much more than I ever imagined, but the challenge, as any busy business owner will tell you, is finding the time to explore, navigate and figure out the offerings available through Facebook that will best suit your business and brand.
This book helps provide some vital information and certainly makes it clear that Facebook is a strong marketing contender for your social media marketing time and Stearn provides advice on content, developing a marketing plan using Facebook, as well as links to apps that will deepen and strengthen what you are doing on Facebook.
However, as I mentioned earlier, I am a visual learner and it would have been so helpful to have had illustrations showing the links she recommended, and how-to guidelines that walked you through step-by-step on how to set up some of the necessary components of a vibrant Facebook page.
This book is helpful in letting you know the myriad of options available to you, the trick is finding the time to implement them.