Every month 1.39 billion people log into Facebook. To give you some perspective, China has a population of 1.36 billion people and 1 billion was the entire Earth’s population in 1804.
[Tweet “64% of Facebook’s monthly active users return every single day”]
Whether you have a small business or a Fortune 500 company, you’re a celebrity or simply make a living online, you can’t ignore the importance of a consistent Facebook presence for your online success.
Facebook marketing has become an integrated part of the overall marketing strategy for the most thriving brands these days and contributed to their massive growth.
But it can be challenging, even for the experienced marketers, to keep up with all the Facebook changes and algorithm updates. Many strategies that once worked are useless and when you think you got it all figured out Facebook announces another change.
So, before getting frustrated for not seeing the best results for your efforts, let’s take a look at the Facebook Marketing Best Practices for 2015. This guide will keep you up to date with the latest changes on Facebook, the newest marketing strategies that work and mistakes to avoid.
First, let’s see ten rules to have in mind before creating your Facebook Page.
#1 Get A Human Touch
It’s not an accident that I’ve started with this as a first rule. Showing a human side is the first rule of social media. And it will be so no matter what changes Facebook might bring in the future. On social media (and I’m referring to all the social platforms out there, not just Facebook), people connect emotionally with one another and the same thing goes for brands too.
The best way to show your personal side and connect emotionally with your audience, is to invite them behind the scenes. Show them the team behind your amazing products. When talking to your fans use first names. Post holiday pictures or daily life events. You don’t have to be too personal, just to let your fans get a glimpse of who you really are when you don’t put your working face on.
People tend to trust a brand more when they know there’s a real person behind it. And with trust you have engagement, and traffic, and sales, and … you get the picture.
#2 Create Fresh Content
I bet you hear this a lot. The key to social media success (in fact, to online success) is new, unique content. The internet is flooded with the same old stories. Too many people think alike, sound alike and write alike. There’s too much content online, and it’s getting harder and harder to find good, rewarding information. When you find such a source, you stick with it.
To make yourself stand out from the crowd, you need to have courage and determination. Don’t be afraid to tell your opinions, dare to be different. Tell a story from a new perspective, find rules that you can break to help you enhance your social presence.
Don’t just follow other social influencers. Learn from them, but do your own thing. Become an influencer yourself!
The only thing you need to have in mind when creating fresh content, is your audience. Write content to attract your ideal audience, because they’re going to become your number 1 fans. No matter the social platform you use you need to consistently create new content and always share your best stuff.
Try creating a little curiosity with each post, to make people pay attention and want to read more.
#3 Focus on creating a community (not on collecting likes)
You can say that you have a community when you managed to attract the perfect audience for your business, the people that can appreciate your true value. These people are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Having true fans is more important to your Facebook page than racing to get more likes, any likes, just to have the numbers.
In fact, having likes from people that are not interested in your content and are not engaging with your page, can actually hurt you.
Engagement is about getting your fans to take action (to like your post, shares your updates, leave a comment or click your links). Engagement is the real name of the game when you’re talking Facebook Marketing. And the reason engagement is so important is that all your fans actions are directly influencing your Edge Rank. So, every time people take action your Edge Rank goes up. This means you’ll show up in the News Feeds more often, and people will see more of your posts.
If you’ve got zero engagement, then none of your fans sees your posts in their News Feeds. Better reach goes hand in hand with more traffic to your page, which is good for your business, right? So, if you want better reach, you need to create an engaged community around your business.
#4 Don’t forget to have some fun
Many people are on Facebook to have fun. To take a break from work and connect to people that matter in their life.
I will be brutally honest with you know right now: people are not on Facebook to do business with you. They want to look at some funny pictures, videos, find an old college buddy or see what their long-distance family members are up to.
So you can’t make it all about your business and brand on your Facebook page. Meet your fans where they’re at and have some fun in the process.
#5 Make it all about your audience
People love to talk about themselves and what they’re up to. If you highlight your fans on your Facebook page, you will be able to increase your engagement rates and reach.
People will like and share more of your updates because they’re not over promotional, but fun. So their friends will see them and share it with their friends and so on. Sooner rather than later, your updates will show up more in your audience’s News Feeds. And when you win your audience’s trust, your promotional updates will be well received and most importantly visible to a huge following.
#6 Create enticing Calls to action
We often assume that people will take the actions that we want them to take without having to mention it. But sadly that’s not the case. If you don’t tell your fans what to do next, they won’t do anything.
Have a clear goal for your content strategy, decide what the primary actions that you want your fans to take are and just go ahead and ask them. You’ll see a boost in your performance and you’ll start reaching your goals sooner.
People are too busy and even if they appreciate your content, sharing it with their friends may not be the first thing on their minds.
#7 Make use of the power of social proof
Make sure that your top fans, those that not only engage with your content on a regular basis but purchased your products or services, get the chance to share their experience with your brand. Make it easier for them to spread the word to their friends.
One way to make people talk about you is to do fun things, like contests, where the spotlight is on your audience.
#8 Encourage conversations between your fans
Create a community that encourages peer-to-peer communication among your fans. When people are engaged with your content, you want to take it one step further and get them to talk to each other on your page as well.
One way to do this is by showcasing your fans. This way other fans will get involved. And you’re not only getting your top fans to shine on your Facebook page, but you will get other people to know your fans as well.
Humans Of New York is one brand that successfully managed to create a trully inspired and engaged community. As you can see people engage with one another, they like and reply to other people’s comments.
#9 Create a brand link
Make sure you create a bridge from your Facebook presence to your website. Let your brand personality be noticed in all the content you produce.
Have a branded timeline cover and profile photo. Look professional on Facebook but at the same time familiar to the people that know you from outside the social space.
#10 Always be measuring
Always have clear methods in place that enable you to consistently track your Facebook marketing progress. All the time you spend tracking your progress will pay off as you will be able to expand the reach and exposure on Facebook because you will continue to do what’s already working for you.
And you don’t even have to spend that much time on tracking. In just 15 or 20 minutes a week you can figure out what improvements to make and what type of content your audience receive best.
Make use of the Facebook’s Page Insights, where you can see which posts got the most engagement and reach. You can see how many people are talking about a post, and if it’s doing really well, you want to do more of that.
What is the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Page and how to get the most out of both?
Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page
Your profile is more about your personal life. The place where you connect with your friends and family, people from highschool or college.
A Facebook page is meant essentially to promote your business. So you can look at a profile like a personal persona and your page like a professional persona.
But how about mixing things up a bit? On your Facebook Page, you can get a glimpse into your personal life, letting your fans know the real you. Meanwhile, on your personal profile, you can let your friends know about the products that you’re working on or a coming event for which you need their support.
By mixing the professional with the personal and vice-versa, you will get double the exposure.
Of course, you don’t need to go overboard. You can share some pictures, maybe some fun facts about your life on your Facebook page. Not too personal, but enough to let people to get to know you and see there’s a real person behind your brand.
The same goes with your personal profile: you don’t want to sound too professional and talk only business with your friends. On your profile you want to get more personal while on your page more focused about your niche and your business.
To take advantage of both your profile and your page you need to be active on both. Don’t neglect one or another. At first, your updates on your profile will get more reach and engagement from your friends. But if you’re very active on your page, you will start to get similar exposure on page posts too.
Allowing people to follow your profile
We all can have a maximum of 5000 friends on our Facebook profile. When you reach this limit, you have the option to allow people to follow your profile so they can still receive your updates.
To do that you need to:
1. Go to your settings
2. Click Followers in the left column
3. Choose Everybody next to Who Can Follow Me
People that follow you on Facebook (and are not on your friends list) will see only the public posts. This way you can better target your posts.
Some people prefer to connect with the person versus the brand. By allowing them to follow your profile, you will get expanded visibility.
You profile’s posts will have higher priority when displayed in the News Feeds than your page’s posts. Having both, the profile and the page will get you into the News Feed for more people often.
Using Facebook “As Profile” vs. “As Page”
Now that you decided to keep both your Profile and your Page, there are some things you need to know.
You can switch between your profile and your page when using Facebook. This means you can like other pages as your page, you can post content, like or comment as your page on any timeline of a page that you’ve liked. You don’t even have to like the page and you can do all those things as your page on their timeline.
Posting on other page’s timeline as your page is a powerful method to get more exposure for your brand. If you go out there and post on other pages in your niche, valuable content, you will get noticed. Try not to be too promotional though. It will turn people away. Instead share relevant and helpful information.
However, you can’t post as your page on another profile. That’s against the rules. So, if you switch to using Facebook as your page and go to a profile and try posting on their timeline, that won’t work.
Branding Your Facebook Page
Now let’s talk about branding. Having a brand consistency throughout your online presence is an important aspect for any business. Branding your Facebook page will give your audience a sense of familiarity and trust. Show your brand personality through the content you share, the images you use or the voice and tone you promote.
Let’s start the branding process with your profile image and the cover photo.
Branded Profile Image
The Profile Image is the smaller, square at the bottom left of the header, overlapping the cover photo. You have to upload an image at least 180×180 pixels. It’s displayed at 160×160 pixels even though its size is actually resized to 168×168 pixels. There’s a thin white border automatically added to your picture and there’s no way to remove it.
The profile image that appears next to your name on comments and posts is the same image but is automatically scaled down to 32px by 32px. As you can see, the profile image works like a really tiny avatar, so it’s better to avoid having words that can’t be distinguished.
Try to stick to your headshot if it’s a personal brand or an image that represents your business versus a bunch of words.
Timeline Cover Photo
The Facebook Cover Photo is the large panoramic image space at the top of the timeline. The optimal size for the cover image is 851×315 pixels. This is serious real estate for your brand to be visually represented on, so you don’t want to waste it.
Another thing you need to have in mind when creating your cover photo, besides the size, is that they now have a narrow gray semi-transparent gradient running along the bottom. This is something personal profiles have had for a while, but it’s now also on cover photos on business pages.
If you’ve just set up a new Facebook profile or page and don’t yet have a cover photo when you try to add one, you’ll see a message from Facebook with some basic rules:
- don’t use your timeline cover photo for ads, promotions or to sell your products or services
- don’t use content that is commercial, promotional, copyright-infringing or already used by someone else
- be creative and experiment with images to see what your audience responds to best.
9 Innovative ways to use your timeline cover photo
#1 Extend the Brand
Airbnb showcasing their logo in an innovative way in the cover photo
#2 Event Promotion
HONY (or Humans of New York) announcing a coming world tour by updating their cover photo
#3 Highlight your team
The Buffer team all together in Sydney
#4 Personal branding
The iconic Madonna‘s Facebook page
#5 Show your audience
It makes sense for Girls Who Code to showcase their ideal audience in their cover photo, which is young girls working together
#6 Create curiosity
Microsoft‘s cover photo makes you wonder what’s that about
#7 Simple Branding
Crazy Egg is made with the same distinctive brand’s colors
#8 Showcase your products
Sony chose an iconic product to showcase in their timeline cover photo
#9 Have Fun With It
Oreo is all about animations and fun, not only on their cover photo, but throughout the entire Facebook page
Facebook wants you to get creative and change your cover photo often to show your audience what you’re all about. It’s a good practice to have different versions and change it once a month or even once a few weeks if you want to. Keep things interesting and fun.
Things to do on your Facebook page to make sure you drive all the traffic to your website
We’re not done yet with setting up an effective Facebook page. Next thing to do is to optimize your page for driving traffic back to your website. After all that our main goal, right?
Here’s a few things you can do right from the start.
Add Calls-to-Action To Your Page
At the bottom of the cover photo you can see the “Create Call toAction” button that lets you add a button to your Page that takes people directly to your website or mobile app.
You can choose from:
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Use App
- Play Game
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Watch Video
After you select the button you want, you need to add the URL to your website and the URL to the mobile version if you have one.
Next, you will see the iOS destination screen, where you can choose where to send the people that tap the button on an iPhone or iPad. You can choose to send them to your website or your mobile app if you have one.
The final step is choosing what happens when people tap the button from an Android device: whether they’re sent to the website or the Android application.
Link back to your website
Don’t forget to add a link to your website in the About section even if you have a Call to Action button that does the same thing. This will give your audience a sense of authenticity, especially if your page is not verified. Also, it improves your search rankings at the same time, so you should not ignore it.
Wrapping it up
We covered the best practices when starting with Facebook Marketing, what is the difference between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page and how to benefit from both. Next we walked through all the steps for creating a Facebook page, what you should know when branding your page and how to optimize it for driving traffic back to your website.