It’s becoming easier and easier to find reasons to dislike or at least distrust Facebook.
The social network’s business-friendly policies and light responsibility have led to data breaches, misuse of user data, even accusations that political operatives are using it to stir up real-life trouble by posing as people for and against certain touchy topics.
As a consumer, it’s not a bad idea to take everything you read there with a grain of salt, or use it purely for fun like wishing people happy birthday, showing off pictures, and talking with friends and trusted businesses.
But when you use it for work, it’s time to take things seriously. Whatever your personal feelings, your business should be on Facebook because that’s where the people are: more than 2.32 billion globally as of the beginning of 2019, a 9 percent increase from the start of 2018.
A Pew survey shows that 68 percent of American adults are on Facebook, compared to 35 percent for Instagram and even fewer for the other networks. Even better, about 74 percent of Americans visit Facebook at least once daily.
True, not every visitor will need or want your products or services all the time, whatever you’re selling. But you do have better odds at engaging with current customers and getting to know potential customers than if you believe that “no one is on Facebook anymore.”
International EnviroGuard, offers disposable protective clothing. Its ideal customers are in health care, industrial or the manufacturing industry.
So how do you not only reach them on Facebook but interact with them regularly? Here are a few tips we learned along the way:
1. Talk, but don’t sell. Find opportunities to offer opinions on news sites on posted articles related to your industry. But hold off on including a link to your company or service in the comment field. This is a bit like jumping into someone else’s conversation at a cocktail party to make a sales pitch.
2. Share your expertise. On the other hand, go ahead and share a similar story on your site, but include a short introduction as to how the piece relates to your industry. (Perhaps how hazardous material suits helped protect people in an industrial accident or new safety standards in a state.) Posting this article also encourages visitors to your page to comment and your employees to share with their Facebook friends to educate them about what they do.
3. Visit and like vendor/peer/client pages. They’ll appreciate the contact and hopefully, return the favor. You can also take an active role by posting something on their wall. If you sell products to businesses, show people using items (like our suits!) and thank them. This public approval will look good to your customers and their customers. Plus, photos are easy to see and share.
4. Ask questions. One way to start a conversation and get people noticing you is to start one. Visit the pages for a possible vendor or supplier, even someone from a different region, and ask questions about their products. This gives them an opportunity to be an expert and engage positively.
5. Include Facebook info on your site. It’s good to hope that Facebook users will come to your site from your posts, but you also want the opposite to be true. So include links to your Facebook page on every page of your site. Facebook provides all sorts of sizes of badges when you create business accounts.
6. Create a blog. This gives site visitors fresh content to read and even a reason to visit your site if you post regularly. You can also take new (and even older “classic”) posts and put them on your Facebook page. This can show you’re an expert especially if you post regularly. Blogs can also be easily shared extending the reach of your content.
7. Invite likes. Close every post with an invitation to ‘like’ your page. ‘Likes’ alone aren’t a perfect metric – they’re the digital equivalent of someone signing a guestbook as they pass by, and some may never return. But they do increase the likelihood that people will see any of your future posts organically (without you having to pay to boost exposure). Facebook says as many as 16 percents of ‘likes’ will see your posts, but other Facebook marketing experts say it can be as low as 2 percent.
8. Think long-term. Unless you have a budget to push out sponsored posts all the time, think of Facebook as one tool to get the word out over time, not instant spikes. The key is to be active and think about what could make people want to know more about what you have to offer.