How to Use Facebook to Promote and Power Your Business

Lesson #23--FACEBOOK

Once again, welcome! This is internet income course lesson twenty-three, aimed at simplifying the difficulties of starting and running a profitable online business by breaking down important principles in simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the previous lesson 22 here.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson, we will discuss how to promote your business on Facebook.

Know How to Use Facebook

First, make sure that you understand the basics of using Facebook.

Facebook has more reach than any other social network. Although it has a slower pace than Twitter, and business and political announcements are usually noticed on Twitter first, at the time of this writing more people use Facebook than Twitter.

A post on Facebook is a message typed to answer the question, "What's on your mind?" Like a Tweet on Twitter, a post on Facebook can contain text, photos, links and videos. Facebook, unlike Twitter (at the time of this writing), does not limit the number of characters in a post. (There were some articles in January 2016 suggesting that the character cap on Twitter would be significantly increased, but the limit is still in place as of the time of this writing, late April 2016). If you have a long post, Facebook does not display it all in your friends' newsfeeds, but provides a link to "more" to easily see the entire post.

Reacting

Facebook recently increased the number of ways that your friends can react to your posts and you to theirs. The "Like" button now offers the choices of "Like," "Love," "Haha," "Sad," or "Angry." This was a helpful improvement. Before, if someone posted that a parent died, you might have wanted to promote that post and let the person know you were thinking about them, but didn't have time to type a comment. Now, in that case, you can just use the "Sad" button to show that you share their sadness over this event. It also allows you to react "Angry" to an article about something you find upsetting without ambiguously suggesting that you like the content of the article.

You can also comment on a post. Unlike Twitter, your comment will show up directly underneath the post and will not appear on your own Timeline. For many people, this makes it much easier to follow conversations on Facebook than on Twitter.

You can share a post. That is, by clicking the "Share" button, the post will appear on your Timeline as though posted by you. If it is a link, you have the option of giving credit to the person who posted it before you or you may chose not to do so.

Hashtags are also available on Facebook and work the same as they do on Twitter. (Recall from our last lesson that a hashtag is any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol. You can use hashtags to organize your conversations and facilitate finding and sharing content related to a given topic. One can click on a hashtag to go directly to a feed of all the posts that have used that hashtag.)

You can bring a post to a friend's attention and, if their permissions allow, post it on their Timeline also, by using the @ symbol followed by their Facebook username.

Permissions

Speaking of permissions, you can avoid confusion on Facebook by understanding that each user has extensive control of how things work for them by setting different permissions. For example, to draw on our last reference, whether being tagged (i.e., putting the person's username in a post preceded by the @ symbol) will result in the post showing on their Timeline can be allowed or disallowed in their permissions. Same is true as to whether they can post directly on your Timeline. Whether someone can identify you in a photo (tagging the photo) also depends upon the permissions you have set. Whether you can identify someone else (with a link to their profile) in a photo, even a photo you made and posted on your own Timeline, depends upon their permissions.

Who can see your posts and comments also depends upon your permissions. You can limit your posts to just your friends, you can include friends of friends, or you can allow anyone to see them. The way different people set permissions differently can be amusing at times. If you see a conversation that makes no sense--it appears to be someone talking to an imaginary person that no one else can see--then someone may be participating in the conversation that has limited the visibility of their posts and comments to just their friends and you are not their friend, but the friend of a friend. Or, they may have blocked you. That is, the person in the conversation that you cannot see has told Facebook to prevent you from seeing any of their posts or comments. There are several other things that can be controlled by the permission settings as well.

Blocking

One of the controls allowed users on Facebook can be very helpful at times, amusing at times, and often offensive. It is amusing when it results in nonsense conversations from a blocked viewer's perspective. Blocking can be very useful if someone is bothering you or disrupting what you are trying to accomplish on Facebook and doesn't take your hints. Blocking is offensive to the person blocked, however, should they discover you have blocked them. There are several other ways to prevent these bad actions without directly blocking someone. Sometimes, it is the best choice, however.

Ever-changing

Facebook is known for changing the way things are done. Much of what I have written in this lesson above may be obsolete in the not too distant future. Facebook also has a reputation for changing things without proper announcement. Things will just begin to work differently at times and the outcome of your actions may not be what you expected. You have to be willing to accept the risk that things may change to use Facebook as an important part of your promotional strategy.

Facebook not only occasionally changes the way features work, but has also been known to undo the preferences you set. You may tell Facebook you never want to see a certain type of post or posts from a certain person, but Facebook will, after a while, show them in your newsfeed anyway. I guess they assume you might change your mind. It can be annoying, though, to be constantly reinforcing the preferences you set.

Promoting with Facebook

Free Promotional

Very similar to Twitter, there is much you can do to promote your business on Facebook without having to pay Facebook for the promotion. Basic strategies that need your attention first include creating an inviting profile, learning to post content that is enticing or informative, following others so they will follow you back, conforming your content to the type of content that will get the most exposure on Facebook (i.e. have the best "Facerank"), and using standard promotional strategies (such as follow buttons on your website and including your Facebook profile in your email signature, etc.)

In either free or paid promotion, the same general approach applies after the above basics have been mastered. The three main steps to use with either free or paid promotion are:
  1. understand your followers
  2. target the right audience, and
  3. monitor your campaign.
Facebook differs from Twitter when it comes to a business identity. On Twitter (at the time of this writing), a business profile is not significantly different from a personal profile. On Facebook, you will need to create a "Page" for your business that is separate from, yet tied to, your personal profile. You must have a personal profile to create a "Page."

When you click the "Add Page" button on Facebook, you are given (at the time of this writing) the following choices for the type of page to create: "Local Business or Place," "Company, Organization or Institution," "Brand or Product," "Artist, Band, or Public Figure," "Entertainment," or "Cause or Community." If you have a brick and mortar address for your business, you may select "Local Business or Place." If you work from home or make most of your sales on the Internet, "Brand or Product" might best suit your needs (unless, of course, you are an artist, public figure, or entertainer).

To monitor your results, "Insights" are provided with each brand "page." "Insights" are analytical tools that allow you determine what factors make your posts most successful. "Insights" are not provided with your personal profile, but are specific to pages.

There is no charge to create a page and there is no charge to use insights (and it is not necessary to purchase promotions to use insights). However, Facebook does limit the amount of exposures that a brand page gets in order to encourage you to use paid promotion. That is, posts on your brand page are less likely to show up in followers newsfeeds than are posts from personal accounts.

As with all social networks, starting with free promotion is always a good course for beginners, especially those with limited budgets. There is much you can learn about growing your followers and targeting their interest without ever spending a dime. It is good to learn as much as you can before moving to paid promotion.

As we have stated before, the best way to take advantage of free promotion is to enlist your personal profile to work with your brand page(s). Personal posts get more exposure than posts on brand pages. You can use your personal posts not only to increase the following on your brand page(s), but also to promote the posts you make there. You should take care, however, to avoid exact duplication--i.e. simply sharing every post from your brand page on your personal Timeline. If you do this, your friends who also follow your brand page will see many of your brand page posts twice--which may become annoying and motivate your friends to stop following your brand page to avoid the duplication.

On the other hand, because your personal posts are far more likely to get exposure and be seen, you should share your most important brand page posts on your personal Timeline. You can also talk about your brand page and encourage people to click directly on it to view all of its posts. This later approach, utilizing summaries of your last two or three brand page posts in posts on your personal Timeline, rather than outright sharing, can be a good strategy.

Paid Promotion

Facebook also offers a variety of paid promotional strategies. The three main approaches are:
  1. to create an ad campaign to "build brand awareness" and increase the number of followers for your page or,
  2. to create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, or
  3. to drive sales of particular products or services.
You can choose to promote posts or just run ads.

To learn the particulars at the time you are ready, go to Facebook from your brand page and look for help creating and using ads.

As for costs, the minimum daily advertising spend on Facebook is, at the time of this writing, $1.00 per day. The minimum cost per click is $0.01. You are unlikely to see any clicks if you bid that low, however. Interestingly, studies show that the average cost per click (CPC) on Facebook is somewhat lower than the average CPC for Google Ads. Facebook ads are more targeted, but the people are not actively searching on Facebook like they are on Google.

Facebook, like Twitter, provides a wide range of targeting options for paid promotion. Or, you can tailor your own target audience from your own lists. You can use a number of these targeting options in combination.

Also, very similar to Twitter, you can experiment with different types of followers and different targeting strategies to determine which works best by creating separate campaigns and monitoring the results of your campaigns. In each campaign, you can focus on a certain targeted group with different types of posts or ads. Over time, you can determine which audience responds best to certain types of posts. And, you can learn which type of posts work best over all audiences.

CONCLUSION
In this lesson, we discussed how to promote your business on Facebook. Facebook has more reach than any other social network at the time of this writing.

A Facebook post can contain text (with unlimited characters), photos, links and videos. Facebook provides a number of ways that your friends can react to your posts and you to theirs. In addition to liking (with its Love, Sad, Haha, and Angry variants), you can comment on a post or share it. When posting, hashtags are also available on Facebook and work the same as they do on Twitter. You can bring a post to a friend's attention and, if their permissions allow, post it on their Timeline also, by using the @ symbol followed by their Facebook username. Facebook is known for changing the way things are done. You have to be willing to accept the risk that things may change to use Facebook as an important part of your promotional strategy.

Very similar to Twitter, there is much you can do to promote your business on Facebook for free. In either free or paid promotion, the same general approach applies. The three main steps to use with either free or paid promotion are:
  1. understand your followers,
  2. target the right audience, and
  3. monitor your campaign.
To monitor your results, "Insights" are provided with each brand "page." "Insights" are analytical tools that allow you determine what factors make your posts most successful. The best way to take advantage of free promotion is to enlist your personal profile to work with your brand page(s). Utilizing summaries of your last two or three brand page posts in posts on your personal Timeline, rather than outright sharing, can be a good strategy.

Facebook also offers a variety of paid promotional strategies. You can choose to promote posts or just run ads. Facebook is cheaper on average than Google Ads and provides better "interest targeting," but cannot target people making a specific search like Google can. Facebook, like Twitter, provides a wide range of targeting options for paid promotion. Or, you can tailor your own target audience from your own lists. You can use a number of these targeting options in combination. You can experiment with different types of followers and different targeting strategies to determine which works best by creating separate campaigns and monitoring the results of your campaigns.

WHAT'S COMING NEXT
In our next lesson, we will continue our discussion of social media, taking a look at the timing of your posts for best results. Read the next lesson here: Timing Your Posts.

Author
By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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