Facebook: Great tool but not maintenance free

Friday, March 20, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 12

Facebook is a platform that has more than 1.39 billion monthly active users that, in theory, can be accessed for free.

Seems like a no-brainer for businesses to be on board with a presence on the site.

But having a business page on Facebook is one thing. Anyone can create a page, but this isn’t a “build it and they will come” situation. Facebook requires a fairly hefty time investment from the user in order to leverage the site’s full potential.

And the “theory” that it can be accessed for free? Brands have long complained about Facebook’s algorithms making it difficult for status updates to be seen by fans organically without paying for ad placement. Just because someone likes your business page doesn’t mean your status updates will appear in that person’s newsfeed.

Facebook will place an ad in front of your fans – for a fee, of course. And if used effectively, well-timed Facebook ads can drive more business to your page or website and produce a return on investment.

But don’t get sucked into the idea that you can just buy fans with an ad. While technically true in the sense of fan count, not all “likes” are created equally. An artificially inflated fan count might look nice, but fans that don’t fall within your target and aren’t genuinely interested in your brand won’t interact or buy.

It’s frustrating, for sure. But there are ways to get more of your messages in front of your ideal fans.

In addition to targeted paid ads, one of the simplest ways is to post content on your site that authentically engages real fans.

Ask questions, hold contests and post photos or interesting videos that will make fans want to engage. The more fans engage, the more often your updates will appear in newsfeeds.

But don’t just place random posts and photos at odd hours or days. Use the Insights feature on Facebook to determine when your fans are online. And that doesn’t mean you have to be on Facebook at that time. Scheduled posts are allowed.

Make sure you interact with fans that take the time to stop by and comment so they feel like they are part of the community. Using the @ feature to tag them in your comment can go a long way in accomplishing that mission.

Another way to send more traffic to your Facebook page is using your brand’s website, which can drive traffic to the page with a well-placed social media icon.

Include all of your social media account page links on business cards, packaging, store signs and email signatures.

Make it easy for your fans to know where to find your Facebook page.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).