Is your business struggling to boost customer engagement via Facebook? You’re not alone. The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan surveyed our membership and found that the vast majority of member businesses felt overwhelmed by Facebook marketing, especially when it comes to customer engagement. Setting up a small business Facebook page is the easy part. Figuring out how to best engage with customers on this small business Facebook page is the real challenge.
In the last five years, Facebook marketing has gone from an intriguing trend to an absolute necessity for virtually every small business. A Facebook business page increases exposure to potential customers, builds brand loyalty, increases your web traffic, and gives your business an instant mobile search presence– all without costing a single penny, at least in theory.
Here’s the problem: most small business owners wear a lot of different hats in a single day. We moonlight as accountants, marketers, designers, salespeople, developers, managers, and sometimes even the office repairman! When there are so many urgent issues demanding our attention, it’s easy to put Facebook on the back burner. That ends right here, right now. Read on to get up to speed on customer engagement and start taking definitive steps today to strengthen your customer relationships and boost brand loyalty. You asked and the BBB Serving Western Michigan is answering!
Problem: “What should I be posting? No one ever likes my posts.”
Solution: Master the 80/20 mix.
While there’s no secret formula to guarantee social media success, the “80/20” rule is a useful rule of thumb for guiding your posting strategy. Remember, people use social media to be social– not to be subjected to your marketing pitch. You don’t want to alienate your hard-earned followers with content that’s irrelevant or a blatant sales pitch. That’s where the 80/20 rule comes into play: 80 percent of your content should cater specifically to the interests and needs of your audience.
The “80” in the rule: Own a veterinary hospital? Share seasonal wellness tips for keeping your pets warm in the winter months. Run a bakery? Post a short how-to video for baking delicious cookies during the holidays. Own an athletic store? Share tips for recovering after a common runner’s injury. Think about your audience and share information that’s genuinely useful and improves their day.
The “20” in the rule: Here’s where you can talk about yourself. Post about an upcoming promotion, share a photo of your team, or create an upcoming Facebook event and invite your customers to participate.
Problem: “Facebook is too time consuming; I never have time to post anything!”
Solution: Pre-schedule posts for consistent engagement.
Posting consistency is key for increasing customer social media engagement, especially with Facebook. Sporadic posting every few months won’t help you engage with customers. You need to post consistently, no matter how busy your day gets. For Facebook, industry best practices recommend twice per day. That’s a pretty big increase if you’ve only been posting once every month!
Start by putting a social media content plan together. Rather than worrying about daily posts, think more broadly about weekly or monthly-themed content. Are there seasonal trends you can piggyback off? Do you want to focus on a specific issue or raise awareness around a cause during one week? Think about recurring themed posts, like highlighting a different employee each week/month, or spotlighting a customer success story.
Now that you’ve got a general calendar in place, save time by using social media automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to pre-schedule your Facebook posts. As an added bonus, Buffer will automatically share your content at the best possible times throughout the day for post impressions and engagement.
Problem: “How do I get more people to comment on my posts?”
Solution: Ask a (better) question.
We all like talking about ourselves. To get more engagement on your Facebook business page, ask fans a question and invite them to post comments or pictures in response. Get creative: there’s no need to be “on message” with every question. The key here is to discover more about your customers and get them to start engaging with your Facebook page.
Ask your customers general questions about their lives: a café owner might invite customers to post a picture of a great book they’re reading right now, a home good store could invite customers to post a photo of a room they’d love to makeover, and a clothing boutique could invite followers to share their biggest fashion faux pas.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through a bit. Your Facebook business page is a chance to “humanize” your company– appropriate jokes and even a bit of sarcasm may have their place.
Problem: “No one is following/liking my page.”
Solution: Give customers a reason to get involved.
Invite current customers to follow/like your page by rewarding them for check-ins at your place of business. Invite your friends and email contacts to like your page. Make it easy for folks to find you, too: choose a custom username for you page and include that name in your marketing materials. Include links to your Facebook page on your main website and at the bottom of your email footer. Have a bricks-and-mortar establishment that gets a lot of foot traffic? Post a sign towards the entrance/exit that encourages customers to check-in at the store and to like your page. More advanced Facebook small business users can also create ads on Facebook to promote their page.
A huge jump in customer engagement with your Facebook page won't happen overnight. Social media engagement, including Facebook, takes time. The above best practices will give customers a reason to be involved with your page, and by extension, your business.