Your business has a Facebook page – Now what?

Posted by Jahna

Developing a Facebook content plan

Free access to a targeted audience—it's a marketing dream come true. But when it comes to Facebook, creating the right content mix to captivate and motivate your fans means going beyond a random barrage of chit-chat and giving them news they can use.

Developing a plan

Ever have someone who would call you several times a day, "just to chat," but then sit mute on the other end of the phone line? Don't do that to your Facebook fans.

Facebook content should be as carefully managed as any PR plan to give your fans well-rounded, timely, relevant information, and to keep your business from becoming the annoying friend who interrupts their day but has nothing to say.

Plan ahead to optimize your posts. Trying to conjure up content every day is a time-consuming task that will so get pushed to the bottom of your priority list. Instead, block off a of couple hours and sit down with a calendar of upcoming events, trend-watching ideas, and your own knowledge of what your customers want and the micro-trends that make up your week and month.

Try to create a post for each day for the next 30 days. Make a dated list and compose your posts in a Word-type document. That way, the daily process of actually posting to your Facebook page will be a simple cut-and-paste. By composing and scheduling your updates in advance, you can create a well-rounded flow of information that will not only engage your fans, but will encourage them to pass your information along to their networks as well.

Plan what days you’ll post photos—ahead of a sale or during an event, for example—and what days you’ll post links to information that your fans can use and will share.

But, you can leave a little wiggle room. The beauty of Facebook versus traditional advertising is its ability to react instantly to breaking news and the mood of the day. If your town has had two days of rainy weather with more thunderstorms on the way, Facebook is the perfect place to announce a spontaneous, one-day sale on rain boots—or suggest that people pick up some room-brightening sunflowers, or a good book, or take-out soup with warm bread for dinner. You need room to post if you win business of the year, or appear in an article in the local paper—your fans will want to know!

What should you post?

Updates come in a variety of categories with a variety of purposes and goals. You want updates that will drive business directly to the door and keep customers informed about news in your business category—but there are also the posts that exist solely to create a sense of community among your fans/customers.

Mixing up the content will keep your updates interesting, lively and engaging. Creating a schedule will ensure you're getting the right mix of content and that nothing important falls through the cracks.
Posts for your business could include:

  • Upcoming events
  • Sales or specials
  • Business news—awards, press coverage, new employees, new hours, unexpected closings, etc.
  • Good works—charity involvement, donations, promoting an event you are sponsoring
  • Category news (trends, current events, breakthroughs)
  • Spontaneous observations that will engage your fans—"We sold out of XYZ this weekend! New shipment arrives Thursday! Why do you love them?" or "Fall is here! Here are our Top 5 cool weather must-haves! What are yours?"

More than an advertisement, updates can position your business as a news source, a place where your fans can find solutions, a place where they feel a part of a community, and a place where they are getting preferential treatment through FB Fan only specials and insider information.

You may also want to consider posting pictures—sparingly. Be very choosy about posting product shots—your Facebook page is not a catalog. And if you shoot photos at a company or store event, let people know you plan to post the event photos on your Facebook page.

Also, consider using your page to promote the businesses around you and other features in your community - the bagel shop next door where you get breakfast every day, or the great museum exhibit you visited over the weekend, or any organization you feel passionate about.

Don't make a habit out of begging your fans for donations, but share your love and interests. You are creating community.

How often should you post?

When you start posting, it's easy to go overboard. When you see a fan list growing, and you know you are reaching that targeted audience with little financial investment, you may think, "Why not post eight or nine times a day?"

Because, just as easily as you can be fan-ed or friend-ed, you can be dumped. Or hidden.

For a business, posting once or twice a day is enough. If you are going to post twice, make sure it is content that is extremely and immediately relevant. For example, post a reminder in the morning of an event that is going on that night, then later in the day, post "One hour until..." Even your most die-hard fans don't want daily reminders about the same upcoming event. Post once when it is announced, once a week prior, and once the day of an evening event—or the night before for a daytime event. Of course, if you have breaking news such as nearing a sell-out, a change or cancellation, let your fans know! Many businesses do well posting once or twice a week. Vary your schedule and look at the analytics to gauge what approach works best for your audience.

What are your goals?

The goal, of course, is to drive business. Facebook keeps you in touch with current customers and encourages repeat business. FB is also called a social network for a reason—fans can easily send information to their network of friends, through either a message to an individual or by reposting the information on their page where all of their friends can view it. This is where the relevance and selectivity of the information you post is key. If your fans feel as though you are posting the best, most current, and most important information, they will pass it along. If you flood their pages, the information is less likely to be passed along. And every time someone becomes a fan of your business, all of their friends receive a notification.

Facebook is a great way to connect with your customers, and to let your loyal customers share your information with their network of friends. It can position you as more than someone who has something to sell—you become a source of solutions, information, and a place where people feel they belong. But while racking up numbers and garnering comments can be exciting, it's the quality of the information you provide that will create a true following, and drive business from your fan page to your front door.

 

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