Using Facebook to Engage Your Customers

There’s one online platform that you just can’t avoid: Facebook. With 25 million small business pages and 1.23 billion monthly users, Facebook is a ubiquitous platform in modern life. It’s one of the most important social networks for advertisers and whether you like it or not, it’s something that every small business must attempt to master. But where do you begin and how do you engage customers on Facebook? Follow these tips and suggestions to start engaging with your customers today.

Do You Know Why You Need to Be On Facebook?

Facebook is the central hub of the Internet, and you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your potential audience if you ignore it. You might think that Facebook isn’t the right environment for your business, but the huge member base means you need to be using it, one way or another.

Half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends, and customers are more likely to try a product or business if it’s recommended by someone they trust. That fact alone should have you sitting up and taking notice. Nearly 80,000 websites use Facebook Connect, which allows integration of posts across the Internet.

What’s the Goal For Your Page?

Once you’ve decided to set up a Facebook page for your business, you will have to sit down and work out what you want from that page. Do you want to build up a customer base, to interact with people, to increase your sales? To achieve these things you’ll need a Facebook marketing plan, which should have three basic phases: attraction – grow a solid fan base; promotion – post strategic status updates that are short and to the point; and sales – find a way to engage and activate the audience that you have. Make sure you pay attention to the content engagement scores within Facebook analytics, and see what parts of your strategy are working and which ones aren’t.

How Do You Engage With Your Audience?

Facebook has an algorithm-driven news feed. That means that the news someone receives is made up of content Facebook thinks the user will like. So you need to produce content that will drive engagement. It’s all a waste of time if you don’t appear in a customer’s news feed. Your community needs to be able to relate to you and your business. Here’s how:

  • Pictures are incredibly powerful on Facebook. They take up more space on the newsfeed and can get more engagement than a simple text post.
  • Contests are a simple and fun way to build a relationship with your community. They boost likes, grow your email list, and showcase a product or service you offer.
  • Humour is a great way to interact with users. Fundamentally, people are on social media to be social, so if you can balance being informative with being entertaining, you’ll drive up engagement.
  • Don’t take your community for granted. Show a little love in creative ways and your customers will feel appreciated and involved in your business.
  • Post often. Don’t post all the time – people will get annoyed and might unlike your page – but keep to a regular schedule.
  • Write shareable and likeable posts. Go viral, and you can reach a whole new customer base that you can engage with! Post tips, news bites, helpful articles, interviews with your team or people within your industry – produce content that customers will want to interact with.
  • Customers like a page on Facebook for the information, rewards, and discounts it offers, so make sure you reward your customers and motivate them to interact with your business.

Are You Driving Customers To Your Company Website?

You want potential customers to visit your website and become actual customers. Cross-post content from your website onto your Facebook page so that your fans know about your site. Use the About section on your page to direct people to different areas of your website depending on their needs, and keep links to your site in the various parts of your Facebook page where people might be visiting.

Do You Know How To Deal With Customer Complaints?

By providing a medium where you actively engage with customers, you are inevitably going to come across some negative interaction. You may get complaints, bad reviews, or even just angry customers venting their frustrations on your page. How you respond to these is important for your reputation and for any future relationships you may have with potential customers. Here’s a three-step plan for responding:

  • Make sure you respond as quickly as possible. It reassures customers that you consider them important, and that you care about fixing problems. You should aim to deal with complaints on your page within an hour or so.
  • Respond publicly, but solve the problem offline. Keep the complaint posts online, so that your users can see how seriously you take problems, but contact the unhappy customer directly, not on your Facebook wall. Remember to stay positive. There’s no benefit to starting a vicious exchange in front of customers.
  • Find a solution and encourage customer feedback. Once you’ve worked out a solution to the satisfaction of the customer, gently encourage them to acknowledge the resolution on your business’s Facebook page.

Are You Using Facebook Ads?

Advertising your business’s Facebook page can be a really effective means of building your likes and customer engagement. There are four different types of adverts: marketplace ads – the standard adverts and the typical starting point; page post ads – which appear in a user’s newsfeed; sponsored stories – adverts that show in the newsfeed of connected users; and promoted posts – which can only be shown to existing fans and their friends.

Customise your advert campaign to target your ideal customer base. You can directly target the customers you want to engage with, and see a huge return for your investment.

Make the Most of Facebook

You will be able to determine your page’s reach with Facebook Insights, and see how unique Facebook users are interacting with your page and your updates. You can also see when your customers are actually using Facebook and so direct content to them. You can find out where your traffic is coming from, and you can build a professional network with other members of your industry.

You need to discover which tactics are best for your page, see what works, and then replicate your engagement success. It’s complex and ever-changing, but now you know the basics, you can build a great Facebook page for your business.