5 Crucial Steps to Using Facebook for Business

by Diane C. Boland @ EarQ Group, Inc.


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Thousands of stories are available on a user’s News Feed at any given moment, but Facebook only prioritizes 20% of them. This means that four out of five of all the posts a person might want to see never make the cut. That’s a lot of competition against your business page’s posts!

So in order to make Facebook work as an effective part of your marketing strategy, it’s not enough to create the page and post and update every so often. You have to be strategic about how, when, and what you post.

In order to get your updates in front of as many individuals as possible, follow these five guidelines.

1. Make Your Profile Trustworthy

Facebook users engage with the pages of businesses they trust, and they trust businesses whose profiles are recognizable, complete, and active.

Start with your profile picture and cover photo. These images are the first thing users will see when they search for your practice, so this is your first impression. Your profile picture should be a high-quality image of your practice’s logo at least 180 pixels wide by 180 pixels high.

Your cover photo should be engaging and look like it belongs in the space. This means that you should create a custom cover photo instead of using a larger photo that must be cropped, cramped, and covered by other elements on the page. We recommend using a free tool like Canva.com, which provides templates and editing tools so anyone can create ideal imagery.

Next, make your profile complete by filling in as many of the “About” fields as are relevant to your practice. Add a Call-to-Action (CTA) button to the top of your profile so potential customers can find their way to your website. This is a relatively new feature available to businesses, and it’s quick and easy to set up. When you view your page’s profile, you should see a button at the bottom of your cover photo prompting you to add a CTA button. Click on it and follow the prompts to choose the most appropriate CTA for your practice. EarQ’s CTA button prompts users to sign up for our newsletter:

Facebook CTA

You can also “pin” important or high-performing posts to the top of your profile so any visitors will see them right away, even if you’ve posted other things since they were originally published. Do this by clicking on the arrow in the top right corner of any published post and choosing “Pin to top.”

Finally, post often so that potential customers know you’re actively engaged. But what kinds of things should you post?

2. Post Strategically

Facebook is a business, and just like any business, it has to deliver a unique and enjoyable experience to its customers in order to keep them around. There’s also an astounding amount of content being published on Facebook at any given moment. This is why the social network only shows selected content to its users; since it can’t show its users everything that’s published, it tries to show them the things they’re most likely to be interested in. It’s therefore important that you post content that is going to interest and resonate with your followers.

Many studies have shown that photos and videos are the most engaging types of content on Facebook. You should make an effort to use them as often as possible. However, you can’t just post photos and videos, or Facebook will notice and stop prioritizing your posts in your followers’ News Feeds. You have to post a wide variety of content types. Examples include:

You want to make sure that you’re posting a healthy balance between content that is lead-generating (meaning it promotes your practice directly) and content that simply builds community. It can be tempting to push your own blog posts and website whenever you have the opportunity, but this may hurt you in the long run. If all your posts are some sort of sales pitch, it’s likely that your followers will tune you out, and Facebook won’t prioritize your posts.

Think of community-building posts as a long-term investment. By sharing content that your potential patients want to see rather than the content you want them to see, it will build trust. They will engage with your page more often by liking, clicking, and sharing. This will indicate to Facebook that they like your content, and it will prioritize your posts in their News Feed more often. Then these potential patients will be more likely to see (and click on) your lead-generating posts in the future.

If you notice any patterns in the types of content your followers like best, try to post these types more often. This will drive that engagement and reach (the number of people who saw your post) even higher.

Like button on keyboard

You can also customize links that you share to seem more enticing to your followers. When you copy/paste a URL into the status update box, it will create a preview of how the link will appear. Did you know that you can change the title and the descriptive text within this preview? If the title and description the website chose doesn’t suit you or your audience, change it so that it does.

One last thing: try to avoid a call-to-action in the copy of your post. For example, instead of “Read this new post about hearing loss on our blog,” pull an engaging quote from the blog’s copy or say something along the lines of “Some of these facts about hearing loss may surprise you.” Facebook has recently started deprioritizing posts that use a call-to-action in this way.

3. Engage with Your Community

Once you’ve posted a good mix of content types, you can just sit back and watch the patients engage with it, right? Wrong.

Social media is a conversation, so in order to build that trust we’ve been talking about, you have to talk back. When your followers comment with a question, message you, or otherwise try to talk to you directly, answer them in a professional, positive, and timely manner. If a follower shares your content, take a second to Like their post. If a follower has an insightful comment on one of your posts, Like their comment to show your appreciation.

Many blogs and other social media platforms such as Twitter allow you to link them with your Facebook page so that when you post something in one place, it automatically posts on Facebook as well. This may seem to save you time, but it’s not advisable. One study found that automated posts like these decrease likes or comments by up to 70%! People want to know there’s a real person behind your Facebook account rather than just a computer.

Another way to engage with your community on Facebook is to partner with other people in your industry. If you share their content and you share theirs, this allows you both to reach a much larger number of potential patients than you could on your own.

What’s more, Facebook recently announced another reason to make sure you’re engaging with your followers and sharing things that are relevant and interesting to them: users now have even greater control over which friends and pages they see in their News Feed. They can tell Facebook which accounts they want updates from all the time by adding accounts to a “who to see first” list.

This is good news for business pages who put time and effort into cultivating relationships with their followers. If you are doing a good enough job of showing your followers what they want to see, they’ll remember you and add you to their “who to see first” list. Then they’ll see your content all the time!

This new update also gives users the ability to find new pages to connect with based on their existing interests and Likes, as well as an easier interface for managing which accounts they’ve followed and unfollowed.

If you don’t interact with your community or cater to your audience’s preferences, you won’t make the cut.

4. Test, Test, Test

One of the greatest aspects of using social media for marketing is that everything is measurable. You will know exactly how many people saw your post, how many people engaged with it, how many people clicked on it, and more. (If you use Google Analytics with your website, you can even find out what these people did once they got to your site!)

You should track your followers’ response to your activity on Facebook in order to figure out what reaches the greatest number of people and what gets the most engagement. Some examples of things to test are:

When you have the numbers, you can analyze. When you can analyze, you know what works and what doesn’t. And when you have this information, you can get rid of what’s broken and keep what’s not.

5. Make Room for Facebook in Your Marketing Budget

Facebook feed examples

Image Credit: Facebook Ad Guide

In 2012, only about 16% of any Facebook page’s followers saw that page’s posts organically (not as a result of the page paying money). In October 2013, only 12% saw the posts. Five months after that, in February 2014, this number dropped to 6%. Facebook has stated that we should expect organic reach to eventually hit zero.

It’s becoming more and more necessary for businesses to pay in order to get their posts in front of more people on Facebook. There are two ways to accomplish this: boosted posts and Facebook Ads.

What’s the difference? Let’s say you create a typical post or status update, but then decide you wanted more people to see it than would otherwise. You can pay Facebook to “boost” the post, placing it strategically into more users’ News Feeds. To users, boosted posts look like any other posts. It’s a good idea to boost posts with important information. Studies also show that boosting posts that are already performing well has a greater return on investment than boosting poor-performing posts has.

Facebook Ads, by comparison, are created first and foremost to be an advertisement. You choose an image, some copy, a call to action, and sometimes a link as well. You have more targeting options with Facebook Ads, so you have more control over who sees it (and therefore more control over how your money gets spent). Facebook Ads can appear within users’ News Feeds or in their sidebar. Check out some examples of well-done Facebook Ads here.

Facebook Ads are pay-per-click. You are only charged when someone does what you want them to do, like visit your website, download an app, attend an event, or some other call-to-action. You can also promote your page itself, which urges people to like your page and increases your followership. You set a total budget, the length of time over which your ad will run, and a cost per click. These factors together determine how many people will see and interact with it. This doesn’t have to be expensive; the minimum daily budget is just $1 (although this might not get you the results you’re looking for).

If you’re looking to increase foot traffic into your practice, Facebook Local Ads are a great solution. This hyper-targets users who are near you geographically and urges them to find more information. You can learn more and get started on Facebook Local Ads here.

When used strategically, Facebook can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your toolbox, but it’s not the only one! EarQ can help you with social media and other digital marketing strategies through our successful Iris program. For more information about Iris, call us at (866) 432-7500 or email us at info@earq.com.

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