With billions of monthly active users, Facebook is the place to be for small businesses. Curating a social media presence is a crucial strategy for connecting with your local community, especially if you don’t have a physical location. So whether you're setting up a Facebook page for the first time or getting ready to revamp one, here are some actionable tips for finding, building, and keeping your Facebook fans.
1. Get a Cover Photo and Call-to-Action Button
The cover photo and call-to-action button are now basic must-haves for a Facebook page. The cover photo is part of a user’s first impression of a page, so it’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of the space to complement your profile picture. Keep it simple, though—avoid too much text and cluttered visuals.
Below your cover photo is a place to add a custom button that customers can use to perform a specific action. You can configure this to give customers a quick way to contact you, see your services, or book a time. These clicks also get tracked through the Facebook Insights tab, so it’s a great way to track interest over time.
A little confused with the above? The cover photo is the large banner photo that appears on top of your profile, above your profile picture. The profile picture is the avatar that represents your business, which is usually done with a logo. Find more introductory tips on setting up a Page on Facebook’s Help Center.
2. Always Post with a Photo
Visual content consistently trumps text posts, especially when it comes to Facebook engagement, so make it a personal rule to always post content with a photo or video. Not only does the social network's algorithm boost visual Facebook posts on the news feed, but they can signal you’re putting in the effort to promote your brand. This will help you come off as professional and ready to do business.
Visual content comes in many forms, so it’s great to vary the types of content throughout the year. Try these ideas:
- Photographs of your products
- Infographics and charts of industry stats
- Stylized graphics of customer reviews
- Branded illustrations for product announcements and giveaways
There are several tools you can use to create high-quality visuals. Services like Unsplash and Freepik offer free stock photos and illustrations, while others like Canva let you quickly get going with free design templates with pixel-perfect dimensions. If you have a bigger budget, you could purchase a social media content design kit from Etsy or Creative Market or hire a professional photographer to provide you with a visual library.
Spending effort on good visual content also gives you material for Instagram posts and stories, plus fills out the “Photos” and “Videos” tabs on your page.
3. Post Frequently
There’s no need to post every day, but posting on a regular schedule helps you stay top of mind with your existing fans, consistently reach new people, and establish your business as a reliable and experienced brand. If it’s hard to always find time to post, try using a content calendar to plan out your content strategy in advance and use Facebook’s scheduling tool to have posts published automatically at a pre-scheduled time. You can use the Facebook Insights tool to see what times your audience is on Facebook as well as additional metrics on the types of posts that are performing best.
4. Run Facebook Ads to Quickly Reach an Audience
Facebook advertising is an affordable and powerful tool to reach new customers. The best ads are engaging, clear, and properly targeted, but for optimal results, don’t run ads just because you feel you have to.
Decide on a particular theme or angle you want to address for your new ad campaign. A good campaign might tie into the upcoming holiday season, promote a new product, or celebrate a new location. Your ideal ad checklist should include:
- A clear call to action: a statement that instructs the viewer to do something specific, like “book an appointment today” or “see our holiday specials”
- Effective images: photos or graphics that are high-resolution and match your message
- A relevant message with proper targeting: the message should appeal to a defined group of people, and configured so it’s shown to those people only
At first, your ad campaign strategy might be not much more than an educated guess, but that's a-ok! Experimentation and optimization are all part of the social media marketing process.
As an added bonus, advertising expenses are eligible tax-deductible business expenses that can be claimed on your tax return.
5. Narrow Down Your Targeted Audience
For small businesses in particular, using a broad audience for your Facebook ads will likely make you reach too many people who aren’t relevant to your business. For example, while it might seem okay for a local landscaping business to set an audience of people in their city, they’ll probably spend their ad dollars reaching people who don’t even have lawns.
Instead, they could further refine their audience by checking the “Recently Moved” filter under the Demographics target category and “Do It Yourself (DIY)” under the Interests category—both good characteristics of a homeowner. The ad will now only be shown to people who have an interest in fixing up their properties, and hence, may need landscaping.
This is an example of a tightly-defined audience which makes it more likely you’ll reach the right customers and ensure your message resonates with them.
You can set a target audience with dozens of Facebook’s filters in the Ads Manager, from age to device type to specific interests. As you tweak your settings in the campaign manager, watch the audience definition meter change and aim for a “defined” or more specific audience rating. When you get more advanced, you can configure custom audiences based on your own customer lists or website visitors.
6. Go Live to Engage in Real Time
With Facebook Live, you can broadcast live video right from your phone. Live video has its advantages over traditional video because it tends to be more unscripted and authentic, and you can engage directly with your audience, giving viewers a personal experience. While going live takes a significant time investment, it's precisely that commitment that can quickly set you apart in crowded industries.
Try going live to:
- Answer questions about a topic. For example, here at Hourly, we could go live to chat about workers’ comp insurance
- Share a project, like a completed art commission
- Showcase a live event, like the farmers’ market you’re selling at
- Do a product demo
- Run a trivia contest or game
You can go live spontaneously, or promote a time where you’ll be online to engage with your audience. Experiment with different times, discussion topics, and guest speakers to see what resonates best with your audience. As a bonus, since your streams are automatically recorded, you can download and reuse your content for shorter Facebook video posts.
7. Link to and from Your Page
Tightly integrate your page with everything else in your digital marketing strategy. For example, add your Facebook page link to your Google Business listing, website landing page, business cards, or your other social media platforms. If you have a local business, put up a Facebook sticker on your storefront or place a sign prompting for reviews with a scannable QR code near the register.
You can do the same on your Facebook page, under the Page Info setting. Add your store address, phone number, and website. These links increase your SEO, which helps you rank higher in search results.
8. Use Facebook Messenger for Direct Customer Communication
Opening up your inbox for Facebook users to directly message you can be a great tool for engaging with potential customers that are already interested in your small business. You can access your messages from the Inbox tab of the Facebook Business Suite on a desktop computer. You can also set up automated responses to answer common questions or let people know you're away.
On the Messenger app, you can use Business Inbox to switch to your business profile and manage chats from your phone.
9. Consider Partnership Opportunities
If you have a larger budget, it might make sense to leverage fans of existing businesses. If you have a consumer-oriented product or service, you could look to local influencers or reviewers. For a cost, they can promote your brand to their audience, letting you access an engaged group with similar interests.
As with any promotional campaign, decide on your goal. If you want to boost sales, you could provide a special discount code for their followers to use. If you want to grow brand awareness, you could sponsor a Facebook contest that requires likes or comments, but do note Facebook’s promotion guidelines before you start.
10. Collect Customer Reviews
Collecting positive reviews builds your business’s social reputation and helps potential customers make an informed purchasing decision. Whenever a customer has a good experience with your business, send an email or text or just prompt them in person to leave a review on your page.
Facebook's ratings and reviews feature is enabled by default, but check to see if the tab is enabled on your page.
11. Prompt Discussions in Facebook Groups
If it makes sense for your business, you might find success with creating and moderating a Facebook group. Facebook groups are organized spaces where members can start discussions. You can invite your top fans and have more insightful conversations. For example, a realtor might create a group for local residents to discuss real estate, or a bakery might have a group to collect suggestions for seasonal cookies. This strategy will require a significant time investment, but can position you as a leader in your space.
Another option is to join existing groups such as your local small business networking group, but take note of any group rules on advertising or self-promotion.
12. Reuse and Recycle
Whenever you spend effort creating new content, look for opportunities to reuse it in new ways across your social media platforms. For example, you can split your livestream recording into digestible video content for YouTube, highlight your favorite reviews in a series of LinkedIn posts, or reshare insightful discussions from a group. It's an effective way to repeat your message and add consistency to your content marketing strategy.
Is Facebook the Right Place to Be?
Before you invest time into your Facebook marketing, make sure you’ll be reaching the right audience. Go to where your market is, don’t make them work to find you. If your target market is a younger demographic, for example, it might make more sense to market on Instagram or TikTok. No matter where your audience is though, it’s good to establish your Facebook presence—you wouldn’t want a competitor to claim your page URL.
The best Facebook pages are built over time. While these tips will help you start off strong, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways to engage your community on Facebook.