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Social Media: Facebook Tips for Small Businesses in 2018

At this point in the digital age, not having a social media presence is probably doing you and your business more harm than good.

Maybe you already have some sort of presence but you don’t know if you’re doing it right?

You may simply be daunted by ‘The Facebook’, and not sure how it will benefit your business. Or you keep asking yourself, “what would I even post?”.

Hopefully by understanding how Facebook works and armed with some ideas to get you off the ground, you’ll be able to enter or optimise the social media game.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The Facebook Algorithm

A complex algorithm controls what we see and don’t see on our Facebook news feed. Most Facebook users have hundreds of friends, just imagine how clogged your news feed would be if Facebook showed you everything that these people posted, liked and commented on!

‘EdgeRank’ was the name they bestowed upon the algorithm and it was implemented to organise our news feed for us. Facebook, in a similar way to Google’s own algorithm, has never completely explained what factors influence EdgeRank. Therefore all the knowledge we have is through trial and error and sharing of experiences within marketing communities.

It can be difficult then to know what content will be shown to your followers.

A good way to think about it, is as if Facebook scores your content on a points system. You’re essentially playing ‘The Facebook Game’.

The more ‘points’ that your post receives, the more people will see it, and then even more points are gained… it’s a cycle that goes on and on and on… you get it.

These ‘points’ are essentially attributed through engagement towards the post and your page. This is why you will often see businesses encouraging people to engage by asking questions and prompting tags, likes or comments.

It should also be noted that gaining as many points as quickly as you can is vital. Facebook will make a judgement call on whether the content is good or not within about 20 minutes. If it doesn’t make the cut, it will simply hide it from anyone else.

We will get onto the point of timing a little bit later.

Quality posts that appeal to your community are therefore key to ensuring your posts get seen. But what you may ask, is quality content? How do I work out what my community wants to see?

Facebook Content

What is valuable to your consumers will differ depending on your community.

While things like humour, insider knowledge and product updates have their time, place and benefit in social media, digital and social marketer Leanne Ross of aCupofLee.com, suggests the best place to start when deciding what to post is by being useful. By being useful, you are providing value to your consumers.

Last week, Facebook started rolling out a ‘snooze’ button, where individuals can stop posts created by people, group and pages from appearing on their news feed for 30 days. This means that creating valuable content is more important than ever. It’s quality over quantity.

Do some research, find out what people want to know from you. What benefit can you provide to people’s lives? If you can explain what it is you do, and how it will benefit them, they just may buy it!

**Visuals are vital to engagement on Facebook. **

Did you know that the same post with a picture versus without, will get over double the level of engagement?!

Or that infographics are liked and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content?

Therefore incorporate graphics whenever and wherever you can! Just make sure it’s relevant to both the content and the audience you are targeting. You’d hate for that ‘snooze’ button to be clicked!

Valuable content supported by images will encourage more engagement, gain points, and therefore gain more engagement.. ring a bell?

You may then ask, “if timing is so important to the game, when should I post?”.

Timing can be key

Similar to that dreaded rush hour drive to work, all social media channels have times of the day where the traffic is higher than average.

Higher traffic can result in more people seeing your post, generating engagement, and earning those points!

A collection of 20 studies culminated by CoSchedule looked at the best time to post on Facebook. Thursday through to Sunday had higher engagement rates than the rest of the week. 9am, 1pm and 3pm being the best times.

While these vary depending on the type of business and what you’re selling, it’s certainly a good benchmark! Implement some trial and error, and examine the analytics to work out what works best for you!

Make better decisions with analytics

Whatever your desired outcome of your social media is, you should be measuring and analysing the effects of your efforts. Then optimising your content to make sure you’re capitalising on what works.

Every social media platform has a corresponding analytics tool to help its users to make sense of all the activity you are generating. When you are managing numerous social media pages it could be a good idea to investigate a social media management tool such as Hootsuite (which offers a free version!). Or alternatively, setting up an analytics tracker like Google Analytics.

But with so many cool graphs and numbers, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

It is important that each individual business develops their own set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – depending on what your social media goals are.

This could be a measure of acquisition such as likes;

a measure of engagement like impressions and comments;

or a measure of loyalty such as your conversion rate.

Social listening is a slightly different form of KPI, where you tune in to what is being mentioned about the brand elsewhere on social media. Such as when your Auntie posts about those epic fish and chips she had at that little takeaway somewhere. Nevertheless, while it doesn’t necessarily show up in your KPIs, it could prove a useful measure to keep an eye on.

Once you have aligned what is of greatest importance for your brand, and assigned the value you place on this. You can begin to benchmark yourself against your own history and competitors, calculate your ROI and optimise your efforts.

You will begin to understand what is resonating most within your community and build on this to create more valuable, quality content.

See! Social media isn’t so scary after all.

Learn to play the Facebook game. Work out what works for you and your business, track your efforts and optimise your content to suit.

Just give it a go!