Facebook is the world’s most popular social media website that allows users to register and create profiles, upload photos and videos and send messages to keep in touch with friends and family, clients and customers.
There are a number of features that make Facebook very attractive for social interaction such as:
- Pages, where users can create and promote public platforms around a person or topic
- Groups, for users with common interests to interact with each other
- Instant messaging, for users to engage in real-time chat with one another
- Events, for users to attend activities together
- Shop sites, for businesses and organisations
Despite its origins as a youth-oriented social network, Facebook is increasingly being ‘colonised’ by middle-aged and older users as well as businesses and organisations. Many useful measurement tools called ‘Facebook Insights’ are available in Facebook letting you see which of your posts have been most successful. This can be helpful for determining when is the best time of day to post, the kind of content that is most engaging to your audience and the types of things that will likely receive greatest visibility.
Getting ‘Likes’ and growing your audience
Let the people in your life know about your page so that they can ‘like’ it and support your business - this initial step helps establish credibility. Next, ask your business customers and contacts to support your page. It is not only the number of likes, it is more important to be genuine, engaging and connect with others and the only way you will receive support is if you ask for it.
Try to identify who your audience is, and look for opportunities to request their support because of a shared or common goal. For example, an artist who wishes to get more recognition for her work may identify people who like art and ask them to like her page. She could also upload a picture of a certain artwork (e.g. a dolphin) and ask her friends who like animals or marine life to like her page.
The following extracts from two of our case studies highlight some of the ways Facebook can be used to promote your business:
Case Study: Arts Sector – Helen Perris
Helen Perris uses Facebook on a personal and professional level “to specifically promote my music”.
She said: "[initially I would] plug my Facebook page every gig, and through that I got quite a few more fans. I started off really small, I remember, just by inviting all of my Facebook friends to the page. I started off with maybe about 50 fans; I’ve since grown that to close to 500.”
Case Study: Recreation Sector – parkrun Australia
Tim Oberg, General Manager of parkrun Australia, explains in this video that “every single event around the country has its own Facebook page, and there is a national parkrun Australia Facebook page too. So you’re talking 62 different Facebook pages in circulation [on a daily basis].”The national Facebook page for parkrun Australia is shown in Figure 1; local parkrun groups have also set up their own regional Facebook pages to promote their own events.
parkrun Australia's Facebook 'Group' page
Using Facebook, promotion of your activities can be enhanced with ‘Boosted Posts’. These are posts that you pay money for so that it reaches more people who might like your page as well as their friends. More than a simple advertisement, these posts attract a personalised response, which means your content has more opportunity to be showcased to your followers. The following report from Facebook shows an example of results from boosting posts. The percentage gains here were not entirely but largely due to boosted posts.
Example of results from boosting posts
The easiest and most consistent way to get fans onto your Facebook page is through paid advertising. Many businesses avoid paid advertising as it can be quite expensive, but if you put a bit of time and effort into optimising your ads, your bill can be cut to a fraction of the regular cost.
Tips for creating Facebook ads:
Facebook charges you for every person who sees your ad, regardless of whether they are interested or not. Keep this in mind when creating your campaign as you can restrict your ads so they are only shown to a predefined audience. This is done using Facebook's Ads Manager.
Define your Audience
You can define the age, location and/or gender of your target audience. You could even get more focused and target people who have particular interests such as 'fashion' or 'sport'. Facebook's targeting technology is highly sophisticated and you will be surprised at how well you can define your audience.
Make your post stand out!
Every post needs a great image. This is what's going to catch your audience's eye and make them rush to the LIKE button. If you’re not a graphic designer, fear not! Facebook provides free access to a great database of stock photos you can use. Look around and spend the time to select the best image, making sure it is relevant to the text and your branding.
Don't forget to experiment with engaging text to accompany your image. Give your audience some context; give them a reason to 'like' your page.
Facebook gives you the option to run multiple ads within the same campaign at no added cost. Do not underestimate the power of this functionality. It is an absolute necessity for creating a successful campaign. You can experiment with everything; the text, the images, even the people you are targeting. Closely watch how each ad performs. Look for which features work and which do not. Facebook makes this simple for you by showing the cost per like of each of your ads. The lower the cost, the better the campaign.
Case Study: Education Sector – The Cyber Safety Lady
Leonie Smith, the Cyber Safety Lady, uses Facebook to set up and promote events announcing her presentations and workshops. Users are able to “share that amongst their friends or their businesses so that it adds awareness”. After the presentation or workshop, Leonie posts the questions and answers that arose onto her Facebook page as a way to “present it as a successful event, that had good positive outcomes, that lots of people attended [and] that other people would want to book”.