Could your Business do Better on Facebook?

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First let’s look at the latest Social Media Stats:

At Search Scientist we’re always keeping up to date with the latest reports and stats. The WeAreSocial’s 2015 report on global changes in Social Media makes for some interesting reading that we thought was worth sharing. I’ve taken time to break this down, pick out the key points that may be of particular interest to readers in the UK, and have included steps to take action. Enjoy!

  • 38 million people (59% of the total population) in the UK have an active social media account
  • In the UK people spend an average of 2.2 hours per day on social
  • Facebook is the most popular social network in the world with 1,366 million active user accounts. Twitter has 284 million active user accounts.
  • In the UK – Facebook makes up 43% of the top active social media platforms, Twitter has 19%, Google+ 12%, LinkedIn 9%.
  • Irish social media usage closely mirrors that in the UK (find out more here)

To put all this in context,

“Globally consumers spend an average of almost 2.2 hours per day with mobile (97 minutes) and tablet (37 minutes), which together account for 37 per cent of media time, ahead of television (81 minutes), the desktop (70 minutes), radio (44 minutes), and print (33 minutes), according to the InMobi mobile media consumption report.”

– WAN IFRA 2015 Report

Facebook Dominating in UK & Ireland

So enough of the bamboozling figures – I think it’s safe to say what you probably guessed already – in the global fight for media attention social is punching well above its weight. And the top contender globally and in the UK and Ireland is Facebook.

Considering the billions of world users and millions of local users – please don’t say your company doesn’t have social media as part of it’s general marketing plan? WHAaaT? You don’t? *faints* #sayitaintso #darkages (NB. social media specialist speak)

It’s ok – don’t worry – don’t panic – the great thing about social media is that it is mostly free and easy to get set up on quickly. But beware – just because it’s easy to use – doesn’t mean you should consider it and plan it any less meticulously than you would any other extension of your brand. Social media is your shop window, your front of house, your receptionist, your exhibition stand and should embody the integral essence of your company. But that’s ok – you have all these things worked out already – you just have to ensure you transfer these across to your social. Let’s start with Facebook.

The below tips are for starting from scratch with a brand new Facebook profile for your business. If you already have a Facebook page set up – have a good critical look at it – go through the photo albums of old posts and delete anything that doesn’t fit with your vision for your brand. Have a look in the Insights Posts tab and take note of what type of posts got the highest levels of engagement. Then go through the steps below.

Facebook for your Business – Advice

It’s important to pick the right social media channel to fit your company – however considering Facebook’s global dominance – unless your company is particularly extremely niche – Facebook is a fit for your company and your clients will expect to find you there.

1. Set up a Company Page

Not a personal profile – it must be a business page.

2. Take your time with the About Text

Put a bit of thought into getting a concise message within the right amount of characters with your company’s key points – double check spellings and links are all correct – you don’t have to fill in every section straight away just make sure the main information is there.

3. Get it Looking Well

This means uploading branded images in the right sizes for your cover photo, profile photo and first timeline photos. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to do this as there are free apps and sites where you can choose templates and do simple drag and drop – e.g. www.canva.com

However to repeat – this is an extension of your brand –the cover photo is the sign above your shop, the profile photo is your company’s face and will represent you everywhere in this marketplace – so if you have a graphics department or have some Photoshop skills yourself put the time in and create some bespoke images.

Some tips based on current Oct 2015 dimensions:

Cover photo: 851×315 pixels but think mobile view – use templates such as http://projectamplify.com/insight/facebook-page-photo-sizes-2015/ to ensure it has the right impact on mobile view as well as desktop.

Profile Photo: 180×180 this is a tiny size and will be even tinier when it is in it’s thumbnail format at the side of your comments in the timeline – so don’t attempt to fit your full size logo if it is really not legible at thumbnail size if at all possible

Timeline: 940×788 works best currently, other sizes which can work well are 800×800 and 1200×628. Think about the fact that every image you put up will remain in the page’s photo album section unless you delete it – so with every photo think about how it will look in this overall album collection of images. The collection should be a professional cohesive representation of your brand for people to look through when they first visit your page. Create a branding style for your timeline photos that can be applied to all images – i.e. this can be a simple thing of applying a border and your company logo and/or website address – just have them in the same position each time.

Links: You can further customize a link before you hit Publish on the post – i.e. when you paste in a link – Facebook automatically generates a link box with an image and description text.

HANDY HINT BLUESometimes annoyingly Facebook doesn’t generate the image part – if it does this try repasting in the link with the https:// part and the end / cut off and it should work.

When the image box has generated – you can upload a customized image instead – just size it at 1200×628. Also double check the descriptive text to make sure it has no spelling mistakes / draws reader in. Once the link box is there – you don’t need to keep the link pasted in above it – so delete this to tidy up your post.

Posting Text: Be brief! General stats say the ideal length of a FB post is less than 40 characters. Only in rare cases can a long winded paragraph work well. Also think mobile again – after approx. 210 characters on mobile view it will show a clickable ‘Read more’ – most people don’t have time to read more.

HANDY HINT PINK Try using a Twitter compose box to type your FB posting text first – it concentrates the mind on getting it into less than 140 characters and you’ll find you can normally get to the point within 140 characters – just don’t hit TWEET!

4. What to post?

The ultimate aim of any social media is to send people to your website to become conversions. So always keep this in mind – but success in social media is measured on ‘engagement’. It’s more responsive than any other form of PR for your company – on Facebook you may find yourself responding to a genuine customer query at 10pm on a Sunday and guaranteeing yourself an online sale that night.

So the insights to think about when posting on your page are – ‘engagement’ – how many people react to your post – i.e. post a comment, like it, share it and ‘reach’ – how many people see your post.

‘Organic Reach’ is how many people see your post in their newsfeeds without you paying to ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ it (these boosted posts are the ones you see in your FB timeline with the word ‘Sponsored’ below the profile picture).

Facebook has been steadily whittling away the amount of organic reach your posts can generate over the past few years –typically only approx. 4% of the number of page likes /page followers you have will see your posts – Facebook wants you to pay to get seen. However FB also need to keep the audience in their seats – so if you have particularly good shareable FB friendly content – they will get it out to people to see.

So – what do you post? A good way to think of it is – plan your weekly Facebook post like you would a newsletter or weekly magazine for your company – spread out over a week of reading i.e. in a typical magazine the front and back sections are usually shorter more bite-size snappy side bar type articles with a double page feature usually in the middle.

Post a consistent, balanced and planned range of content and as far as possible always aim to use only original content on your Facebook – i.e. your own images, links to your own website.

To do this you can set up a ‘conversation calendar’ (a spreadsheet planning out your posts over the next few months with key dates for your business factored in). And ‘conversation pillars’ and subpillars of these pillars. These should be based on your brand values e.g. think about the pages on your website – and think about how you would talk about these pages to people and how they are important.

Crucially – don’t post for the sake of posting and don’t let just anyone do the posting! A top N.I. digital marketer once said she thinks only company CEOs should be allowed post on social. Again social is simple to use but it is an extension of your brand – make sure the person doing your posting is a trusted respectful ambassador for your brand – who can spell!

That is probably enough to be going with for the moment. Once you get your Facebook up and running well you can start to think about different engagement strategies and making use of the benefits of Facebook’s marksman-like targeting capabilities with low amounts of paid posts.

If you need help with this, get in touch – info@searchscientist.co.uk.

Good luck!

Jane

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