Why your local business needs Facebook
Despite the growth of other social media sites like TikTok, Facebook was still the most popular social media website in the UK in 2021 with approximately 56% of the UK’s social network market share.
What’s Facebook used for? Facebook is mainly for people to connect with their personal networks, primarily friends and family. Facebook gives businesses more chances to engage in depth with an audience as you can create full business pages, write longer posts, share longer videos and more images.
Who is active on Facebook? The largest group of users is still the 25-34 age group, although over 65s are the fastest growing demographic while 53% of users are female. Facebook advertising reach in the UK is 38 million people (66% of the total UK population over 13 years old). With Facebook’s popularity in the UK, whatever type of business you have, your customers are likely to be on Facebook with two thirds Facebook users report visiting a local business Facebook Page at least once a week according to Hootsuite.
How can Facebook help your business? Think about what you want to achieve through social media – is it creating awareness around your business? Driving traffic to your website? Generating leads? Increasing conversions on your website? You’ll need to plan your strategy accordingly and then set some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals to achieve your aim. Every post and comment you put on Facebook should ultimately support your goals.
Think about your business’ values and target audience. Ask your current customers if they are on Facebook. Look at your own competitors – are they active on there? What are they using it for? How can you help these people? What sort of content will they be looking for and consuming on Facebook? Can your business tie in with that? Does your target audience fit Facebook’s audience or are you better off spending your resources elsewhere?
Set up and optimise your Facebook account
If it sounds like Facebook could be a social media platform for you, you’ll need to get started by setting up a business page on there – this is like your homepage on the platform.
You’ll need to be logged into your own personal Facebook account to set up your business page.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create and select your page type – Business/brand or Community/public figure.
Enter your business details. Upload your profile picture and cover photos, ensuring they are the optimum sizes for Facebook https://www.facebook.com/business/help/469767027114079?id=271710926837064. The ‘profile picture’ is usually your brand logo and should be consistent with your other social accounts. The ‘cover photo’ is the large banner photo on top of your profile. This is important as it’s often your audience’s first impression of your brand. Ideas for a strong cover photo include ones that show your product in action, your team, a latest offer or something that sparks emotion.
Input your main contact information by clicking on Edit Page Info (website, email/phone, location), opening hours and description (try to include some keywords and what makes your business unique in here if you can – a bit like an elevator pitch summing up what your business does for customers).
To create your page URL (also known as vanity URL – one which includes your business name rather than a lot of numbers or random letters) eg https://www.facebook.com/inHounslow/ click on Create Page. This can be up to 50 characters long and helps people find you on Facebook.
Add a call to action (CTA) button like “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Shop Now,” “Learn More” under your cover photo.
A pinned post is the first thing people see when they visit your page so ensure you choose a strong post for this – one with great engagement, a great image/video and a strong CTA. Just click on the three dots on the right hand corner of the post to get the option to “pin post to profile.”
Enable customer reviews – this is enabled by default but check they are turned on. Read all about how they work here. Collecting great reviews builds your social reputation and can help potential customers make an informed purchasing decision. When a customer has a good experience with your business, contact them by email or message, or ask them in person to leave a review on your Facebook page.
What to post?
It’s worth pointing out that the average organic Facebook Page post sees just 0.07% engagement, thanks to the Facebook algorithm. The algorithm evaluates every post, then marks posts and organises them in descending, non chronological order of interest for every individual Facebook user, with these factors important in ranking: who posted it (you’ll see more content from individuals/pages/groups you already interact with first), the type of content (if you engage with a particular post type more than others you will see more of those eg videos versus images) and post interactions (posts with more engagement will be more likely to be shown to you). Users can also choose up to 30 people and pages to add to their “Favourites” so posts from these will appear higher in their feed too. Users can also choose to click on posts and tell Facebook to hide posts like this if they don’t want to see them.
So it’s even more important to understand what your audience wants to see. Make your content as meaningful and informative as you can for them.
There are different types of content you can post on Facebook and although you can’t post video and photos on the same post, the text character limit is 63,000, so there are plenty of options! Video posts generally get the highest engagement, then photo posts ahead of posts with plain text or links, but it’s worth testing all types out depending on how you are aiming to engage with your audience.
Text posts: These don’t get much reach generally but can be good for sparking conversation – use them for asking a question or for feedback to your fans. You could also use them for sharing important information such as opening hours. To create a post just click on the “Create post” button.
Link posts: These will show on the page with a preview of the webpage they are linking to so your visuals can be more attention grabbing than plain text. They are good for specific calls to action like encouraging users to read your blog post, or driving traffic to the website to buy a product. You can also share curated content from others in your sector or area, but try to add your own take on their article to give your view. Link posts get more engagement than plain text but much less than image posts as their objective is to take the users outside of the platform to another website, while Facebook would prefer them to stay! How to create a link post on Facebook here.
Image posts: These can be great for stopping the scroll, especially showing your products in action. You can also use infographics, sketchnotes of key stats or even customer reviews as images too. If you’re stuck for a high quality image, you can always find alternatives to your own photos on royalty-free sites like Pixabay and Unsplash, while you can create your own designs in Canva.
Video posts: Videos get the best engagement consistently on Facebook, whether longer explainer video formats or shorter video announcements. On Facebook, video plays automatically in the news feed which can grab users’ attention. Videos can be professional or simply shot on a phone, which can help create an authentic feel. Get creative with video to show your products in action, behind the scenes or even Q&As. How to post a video on Facebook.
Facebook Live Videos: These get the greatest engagement of all. You can broadcast live on your Facebook page for real time engagement with your fans – you could use it to answer Q&As, live discussions, demonstrate your products, go behind the scenes, showcase a live event you are attending, run a competition or a game. You can either go live spontaneously or promote a set time when you will be online. Read about Facebook Live here.
There are other post options too, including posting job listings, events and special offers to name but a few.
Facebook Stories: These live at the top of the News Feed (so not part of the news feed algorithm). Like Instagram Stories, they are image or short video posts (which last for 20 seconds) in portrait format that disappear after 24 hours. Stories content is more “fun” and can also include polls and questions. Once “expired” you can archive the Stories which only you can see. Learn about Facebook Stories here.
Try to provide value and build relationships with your fans, with content they will find informative, educational, inspiring, topical or even humorous so that when you do post about your business’ products or services, they’ll be more open to those posts. Try to include information your audience would be interested in, make comments and pose questions that encourage the audience to respond.
The algorithm also prefers to prioritise engaging, meaningful content over self-promotion so try to aim for one third of posts promoting your business, one third engaging your followers, showing the human face or your business and your brand and one third sharing curated content with helpful/informative insights and ideas from experts or influencers.
Re-purposing content – try to find ways of re-using content cleverly across your platforms – eg splitting a livestream into smaller pieces of content, or turning a blog into image posts or a video slideshow. If you have engaging posts on other platforms, see how you can re-purpose them for Facebook (don’t just copy and paste them though!)
Competitors – take a look at your competitors’ pages if they are on Facebook to get some inspiration.
How to post and when to post on Facebook
How: Vary your post types (experiment with the formats above) so your audience doesn’t get tired of the same thing, but be wary of linking out of the platform too much (Facebook will prefer you to keep your audience engaged on Facebook rather than linking outside of Facebook) – eg better to post a video natively on Facebook than link through to your YouTube channel, post a mini blog directly onto Facebook rather than link to your website every time.
When: Because social media algorithms consider “recency” as an important ranking point, posting when people are active is one of the best ways that you can improve your organic (not paid for) reach. Facebook (Meta Business Suite) will suggest the best times to post for you when your audience is online, but it’s worth doing your own research by testing out different times of the day and week when your target audience is most active. Timing is important as people browse Facebook intermittently.
How often to post? Posting consistently is the most important thing. Current recommendations are for one to two posts a day for maximum visibility.
Planning ahead with your content – put together a Content Calendar – this will save you time in the long run. Research and list national or local events , holidays or “national days” which your brand can tie into, then create a content calendar so you plan your posts around those days.
But always remember to stay true to your brand and business by relating any content or comments back to the business (not your own personal views).
How to amplify your messages and increase engagement
The best way to do this is to create highly shareable content. Entertaining or valuable posts are more likely to be shared by fans with their friends & families.
Cross promotion of your Facebook page: You can help people who already engage with you on other digital platforms to find your Facebook page in different ways, for example by linking to your Page in your email signature, newsletter, business cards, and including Facebook like and share buttons on your website. You can also add your Facebook page link to your Google Business listing or if you have a local business put a Facebook sticker in your shop with a QR code linking to your Facebook Reviews link.
Invite Friends: you can invite people you are friends with to like your page. Only invite people who you think will be genuinely interested though as having disengaged fans will not help your engagement rates or your chance of posts showing up in the algorithm in the long term.
Employees to link to your page: Encourage your employees to link to your business page by adding your business as your current workplace in the “About” tab in the “Work and Education” section on your personal profile. This will help get your business exposure through your employees’ personal connections.
Engaging with other local Facebook pages and groups: Examples of these are local news pages, chambers of commerce, business groups or associations or businesses which are in the same area (not competitors) where your target audience hangs out. You’ll need to make sure you are using Facebook as your business and not your own personal profile when doing this. You can like other pages as your business page and post, comment and like and share their posts on your own page. You can also join existing groups eg a local small business networking group, but group admins may limit pages on advertising or self promotion.
Engage with your fans/followers: Keep the conversations going on Facebook to encourage more engagement. Responsiveness is very important – reply to every message, question and comment, keep your content up to date.
Facebook Groups: Think about setting up and moderating a Facebook Group – here you could build a community to share information/ideas and create a loyal following. They take a lot of planning and time but can be worth it. You could use it as a resource for people looking for advice related to your sector, or offer special discounts, give exclusive content to fans in the group to reward loyalty.
Facebook Messenger: Leverage this for direct customer communication. Enabling Facebook messenger on your page to let users directly message you can be a great tool for engaging with potential customers. You can also set up automated responses to answer frequently asked questions, or tell people you are away. Facebook Messenger bots can be useful as automated tools that are always on to help interested customers. Read more on how to use Facebook Messenger bots (Facebook chatbots) for customer service and social commerce here.
You’ll need to track and measure your Facebook page and posts to understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of types of posts.
You can access Facebook Insights about your Facebook (& Instagram) accounts through Facebook and Meta Business Suite. There is an overview of the page’s reach, individual posts’ reach and audience (Page likes). At the Page account level you can also look at Page reach, Page likes & followers (and unlikes) and at the content level you can see each post’s reach, likes/reactions, link clicks, comments and shares, plus engagement for your Facebook Stories.
Advertising on Facebook
With the Facebook algorithm making it difficult for business posts to stand out, Facebook Ads are a great way to help your content go further without spending too much money.
There are detailed targeting options for reaching a large audience and ads can be relatively inexpensive to run (some small campaigns can achieve success with a budget as little as £5-10 a day), so you will pay to share your content with a targeted audience, whether your objective is to build brand awareness, engagement or traffic.
You can run different types of ads but the best ones are engaging, clear and properly targeted. You will want to include a clear call to action to do something specific (book now, see our special offer, find out more), strong images, a clearly targeted message to a defined group of people who your business can help. This is a good place to get started reading.
Even if you are not planning to run Facebook ads immediately, it is worth installing the Facebook pixel on your website. This is a piece of code so that once you are running ads you will be able to track conversions from Facebook, re-market to people who have already visited your website and build custom audiences for ads in the future. Remember to obtain user consent before you set cookies or other trackers like the Facebook pixel for any purposes that are not strictly necessary. You will also need to provide the user with clear information about the use of any cookies on your website. Make sure your are GDPR compliant.
We hope you have found Digital Support Marketing Pack useful with simple and effective ways to market your business online in Hounslow and beyond. In case you missed any of the articles, we have included links to every chapter below:
Chapter 1 How You Can Leverage inHounslow.com
Chapter 2 Stand Out on Google My Business