Eight ways to make Facebook work harder for your business

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Eight ways to make Facebook work harder for your businessFacebook can be an incredible marketing tool, if you know how to use it well. Here are eight ways to make Facebook work harder for your business, shared by GPY&R’s Warren Davies.

Facebook turned 10 in February 2014 and, with
1.23 billion users across the globe, it has evolved far beyond a simple social platform. For businesses, this opens up a host of opportunities to reach and engage with potential customers online.

While businesses used to operate like individual users, with a simple profile page, Facebook marketing today is feature-rich, with advanced insights and capabilities. The question many businesses are now facing is how to use the platform most effectively.

Business Lounge asked Warren Davies, Senior Strategic Planner at GPY&R Melbourne, to share some of the things he’s gleaned from his time working on social media strategies with clients. From how often you should be posting, to the types of posts that perform best, to promoted posts and new options like selling directly through Facebook, here is some of Davies’ best advice.

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1. Post regularly – but not too often.

With the rapid growth of content being shared on Facebook by brands, more content is being created than can be consumed. This is one of the reasons Facebook has reduced the organic reach of posts by brand pages. Facebook’s advice is to post less often and to support this with paid support for posts. How often you should post will vary from brand to brand and across categories, but four to five times per week is a good start.

2. Post during peak times.

Within the Insights function on your business page, there is a feature that shows you when your fans are online (under the “Posts” tab). In my experience, Facebook tends to be busiest from mid to late evening, with smaller peaks during the morning peak hour and late afternoon.

3. Focus on short posts and images …

Images are consistently the highest performing content for most categories, but some brands also do well with short text posts. Mobile traffic accounts for more than half of Facebook traffic in Australia, which means people are scanning rather than reading your posts, so it’s best to keep them short. It’s been found that 40 characters are best. That’s about eight words.

4. … but do vary your content.

Links are typically the third most engaging type of content and videos the least engaging form. Having said this, it’s best to be varied with your content, as using the same format can decrease reach over time. Use the most relevant format for what you are trying to communicate.

5. Boost posts.

Today, businesses really have no choice but to pay to boost posts. Organic reach for most brands now averages around 6 per cent of your page likes. If you have over 500,000 page likes, it’s now more like 2 per cent. Depending on your strategy for your page and your balance of acquisition to engagement, it is worth sponsoring your posts regularly. You can do this directly from the post. You can choose how many people will see it, where these people are, their age, gender and interests and how long the post will be sponsored.

6. Measure your performance with Facebook Insights.

In Facebook Insights, the reach and engagement for each post is measured and shown in a dashboard, along with a breakdown of reach by paid and organic and the number of post clicks, likes, comments and shares.

You can also evaluate your posts by checking which posts drive traffic through to your website through Google Analytics and by sharing an offer with fans through a post and recording redemptions in store.

7. Use opportunities to sell directly through Facebook.

There are a number of ways you can do this. Perhaps the simplest is to select the option when posting, to offer deals directly through posts. This might be a discount or a limited offer to people who like your page.

While page tabs are less visible these days and very few page likes actually visit your page, they can be an effective landing page. You can insert an iframe on your page tabs to create a transactional page from your website, or create a custom checkout function to transact directly from the page.

8. Invest the time and effort to do it well.

Sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed have shown us that good writing and a punchy headline or image are more important than ever. Content creation and distribution is as specialised as any other part of your business and should be resourced in the same way.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.

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