An Insider Look At: Facebook
Let’s face it, there aren’t many of us who aren’t clued up to the world of Facebook. Since 2004, Mark Zuckerberg (who was just 19 at the time)’s multi-billion-dollar invention has taken the whole world by storm. Initially known as ‘The Facebook’, it started off as an online directory that connected people through social networks at universities, specifically at Harvard.
Over the last thirteen years, it has evolved into an almost unrecognisable platform for not only people looking to connect with friends, but businesses looking to connect with consumers and likewise. Facebook should tackle several aspects of your marketing, media and content goals to aim for a return on investment. Don’t get put-off by multi-million-pound companies who use Facebook; small businesses use it too and it is as equally important for you as it is them. By interacting on a smaller scale, you can connect with your audience on a more personal level. Now let’s take a look around.
What is a Profile?
This is a personal account for your own social needs. When you join Facebook, you get assigned your own profile. On this profile you can connect with ‘friends’ where you will see their posts on your newsfeed. You can also post your own images/videos/gifs/feelings/location and lots of other features. Facebook Terms of Service state that you are not allowed to use your personal profile for business purposes (and it is not possible to have a business page without your own profile). You can create albums to post and share your photos/videos and you can fill in your personal information from your hometown, to your relationship status. You can change your privacy settings so that only friends/friends of friends/public can view your posts.
What is a friend request?
On a personal profile, you can compile a list of your ‘friends’ to connect with. In order to ensure that you are both connected, one of you will have to send a ‘friend request’ and the other will need to accept. You are then connected and will see each other’s posts appear in your timelines.
What is a Page?
A page is a business account. Facebook users must like ‘Like’ it in order for your content to appear on their newsfeed. Like with a profile, you can post various content and you can also schedule posts into the future. You will not see your ‘Followers’ posts in your newsfeed, unlike with a Facebook a profile. From here, you are free to advertise your own products and services as much as you want, but you may want to take the Rule of Three, a formula for posting on social media as a business, into consideration. You can update your contact information so that potential customers can easily get in touch. You can also pay to ‘Promote’ your posts, by targeting a specific geographical area/type of audience. Having a Facebook page for your business is a fantastic way to grow your audience; you can implement various marketing techniques through this page such as advertisements/competitions.
What is a Group?
A Facebook group is a closed or open community for small group communication. People can share common interests/opinions. They allow people to gather virtually to communicate online about a chosen topic.
A group can be private; where an administrator must approve joining requests, public; where anyone can join, or secret; where only the group members know about the group.
What is Tagging?
Tagging someone on Facebook is the in-person equivalent to mentioning someone’s name to get their attention or tapping them on the shoulder. It allows you to link directly to another user using the @ symbol, in various features such as photos, written posts, comments and more. That user will then receive a notification saying that you have tagged them in a post/comment.
Tagging allows you to easily connect with users and share like-minded posts with them. Depending on your Facebook privacy settings, your friends can see posts that you have commented on, which means that if one of your users comments on your business page’s post, their friends may see. This could lead them to visit your page, and maybe even ‘like’ it, increasing your audience and potential reach for future posts.
What is a Check-In?
Facebook’s ‘Check-In’ feature allows you to virtually ‘check-in’ to wherever you are, so that you can share with your friends/followers in real-time. For example, you may be packed, with your sun cream at the ready at the airport, ready to jet-off for two weeks all-inclusive… Facebook would allow you to check in at, for example, Birmingham Airport, and add a comment/picture/feeling. As a business, it allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. If you are tagging yourselves in at an event, a member of your audience may be nearby and might make the effort to visit and use your services, all thanks to a Facebook post.
What is a Reaction?
It all began with a ‘like’. The ‘like’ feature, self-explanatorily, allows users to click a button on a post to virtually ‘like’ it. Over time, this has developed into ‘reactions’, which you can activate by hovering over the ‘like’ button on your desktop and holding down the ‘like’ button, or sliding across the options on mobile. Now we can choose to ‘like’ or ‘love’ a post, alongside ‘haha’, ‘wow, or ‘angry’ options. By using reactions as a business in response to your audience’s comments, you are connecting with them on a personal and relatable level.
What is a Share?
The sharing feature on Facebook allows you to virtually ‘share’ other’s posts. For example, MA Design may post an incredible article about Facebook and its features (you agree, right?), and you may find it so interesting, that you feel the need to ‘share’ with your friends/followers. This is a great way of incorporating the Rule of Three which I linked to earlier on. By sharing insider information and articles from established authors, you become a trusted source in your industry.
What is an Event?
This feature allows you to send virtual invitations to an upcoming event and allows your potential attendees to RSVP without the hassle of posting an invitation back. The feature also sends reminders, in the form of notifications, to the attendees up until the day of the event. This is particularly useful if your business is running an event, as you can post the event and allow your followers to click ‘attending’, ‘maybe’ or ‘not attending’. You can also post text/images/videos etc. in the event page itself, to update your attendees with new information, or just to tell everyone how excited you are about the event!
What is a Poke?
This is a playful feature by Facebook. You could choose to ‘Poke’ your friend to say a quick ‘hello’, to remind someone you’re awaiting a reply, to let someone know you’re thinking of them or just for fun. You can only poke a profile.
How can you maximise your branding power?
When your audience clicks on your page, you want them to be impressed by its presentation and you can do that through the way you brand your business on social media. When a user clicks on your page, the first thing that will usually catch their eye is your profile picture and cover photo. A profile picture is what will allow your audience to recognise your brand when you post, and therefore it should identify your business. Most businesses will use their logo as their profile picture for that reason.
Your cover photo is a banner at the top of your profile, and can be used to show off more of your brand’s personality. You can also ensure that you have a short and sweet ‘About’ paragraph to describe your business.
What is Messenger?
Messenger is an Instant Messaging Service released by Facebook to allow users to message privately. You can also create a ‘group chat’ where 2 or more users may interact. You can send pictures, texts and videos through messenger, make voice/video calls, send money, play games, share your location and lots of other features.
You can use Messenger for your business to interact privately with your audience and provide a quick and effective and fast way to communicate.
What is a Live Video?
Again, this is self-explanatory. This is a feature that allows users to stream a real-time video from their phone, directly to Facebook. This may be a useful feature if you are attending an interesting event or conference that your audience may find interesting.
What is Facebook advertising?
You may have used the 'post' feature on Facebook hundreds of times; but have you ever wondered why Facebook always gives you the option to 'boost' your post to a larger audience? It used to be as simple as sharing a post and it appearing on your followers' timelines. But Facebook quickly jumped on the paid advertising band wagon and therefore, changes to its algorithm began.
Have you wondered why your post reach has diminished over the years? No one seems to be interacting with your business' posts? Even the really cool pictures of your new office? Rest assured, it's not because all of your followers have suddently lost interest in you; it's because Facebook doesn't display your posts to 100% of your audience! It made this change at the start of 2018, to "prioritise content from friends, family and groups".
You're therefore encouraged to use their advertising platform. You assign a budget to targeting your business' posts to specific geographic areas/demographics world-wide. Although many eye-rolls from small (and large) businesses followed the algorithm change, there are benefits to using Facebook's paid advertising.
You can choose to target specific interests, geographic locations, Facebook likes and much more. This obviously means that if rolled out correctly, you may end up seeing even a higher return on investment with paid advertising over simply time spent on social media.
Facebook advertising really is a minefield in terms of understanding its features and how it works. It got us thinking about writing a new blog post specifically around Facebook. Watch this space!
Although it may seem a lot to get your head around, once you sit down with a cuppa and give yourself a chance have a play around, Facebook can be an incredible tool for large and small businesses alike. There are so many free marketing features that you can take advantage of to help grow your company, and it would be a shame to deprive your business of those potential extra clients!