Content & Community Marketing Manager
If you run a small business, you absolutely need to be on Facebook.
Fact: Facebook remains the largest social network by far in terms of size and activity. A staggering 68% of Americans use Facebook, with three-fourths of those same users engaging with the platform on a daily basis.
Many of those same users are shopping around for local services, too. There’s a reason why 80% of small businesses already market themselves on Facebook.
Looking to join those ranks yourself, but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it.
While you’re definitely not too late to the game, thriving on Facebook as a small business means understanding the platform’s best practices and fickle algorithms.
That’s why we put together this step-by-step guide on Facebook for small businesses and how to get your presence off the ground.
Why Facebook still deserves your attention
Chances are you’ve heard the cries that “Facebook is dead” for businesses.
There’s no denying that Facebook’s algorithm changes have been a huge headache for business owners who’ve watched their organic reach drop in recent years.
However, this phenomenon isn’t reason enough to write off Facebook altogether.
Consider how most consumers are spending the bulk of their time online glued to social media. Customers are still more likely to find you via Facebook as opposed to stumbling on your website.
Also, note that Facebook makes it easier than ever for prospects and customers to interact directly with businesses. Through Messenger, customers have a direct, instant line of communication as opposed to an email address or contact form.
If nothing else, Facebook serves as a brilliant supplement to your small business’ existing online presence. For example, prospects are likely to look at your Facebook Page to confirm that your business is alive and well (and actually has a history of satisfied customers).
Facebook’s built-in business features make it a great social hub for your company, allowing you to interact with customers, gather reviews, and encourage appointments and bookings directly.
How to build a top-performing Facebook business page
If your small business is totally new to Facebook, getting started can be daunting.
That’s why we recommend looking at your Facebook Page piece-by-piece and tackling optimization one step at a time.
Follow these steps to create a Facebook Page that’s designed to attract and convert new customers.
Complete your “About” information
For starters, take the time to provide as much information about your business as possible.
Your “About” tab is the perfect place to highlight any combination of the following:
- How many years you’ve been in business
- How many customers you’ve served
- Your business’ unique selling proposition
- Your business’ origin story and mission statement
- Awards and accolades
Rather than do the bare minimum, consider how this section can help further sell your business to folks who might be seeing you for the first time:
Another important feature of Facebook for small business is the Services tab. Here you’re able to detail specific services that your company provides, allowing you to both showcase your expertise and target relevant keywords related to your business:
Oh, and don’t forget your location and contact information. This is especially important for visitors who come across your page via mobile devices. Double-check this information and make sure it’s up-to-date if you ever adopt a new phone number or email address:
Pick your business’ Facebook cover and profile photo
When people land on your Facebook Page, they’re likely going to zero in on your profile imagery.
Facebook’s profile pictures display at 170x170 pixels on desktop (and 128x128 pixels via mobile), meaning that your profile pictures should be crisp, not crowded. Most businesses on Facebook use high-resolution logos with little (or no) text for their profile pictures. Alternatively, solo businesses can use a headshot of the owner.
Meanwhile, your Facebook cover photo is a much larger piece of real estate at 820x312 pixels.
Many businesses regularly swap out their cover photo based on their current promotions:
Pro-tip: Cover photos should be bold and high-res, catching the eyes of visitors as it’s likely the first element of your Facebook Page someone will see when they land. Try using bright colors like orange, red, and yellow.
You don’t need to be a graphic design genius to come up with a compelling cover photo, though. Some businesses simply use a high-res photo of their teams or their storefront.
In addition to your profile and cover photos, look at your brand’s existing assets to upload to your Page’s photo galleries including customer photos and behind-the-scenes snapshots of your business.
These assets serve as social proof and let visitors know that you already have a base of satisfied customers while your Facebook presence is still growing.
Enable Messenger to provide speedy customer service
Beyond filling out your business’ information and uploading photos, encouraging customer interactions is essential to Facebook for small businesses.
Enable Messenger on your Page to give your visitors instant access to your business. Messenger is a straightforward platform to answer questions and essentially make your business available around-the-clock.
If you’re not available in real-time, you can also create a Messenger bot to handle common customer concerns. You can always follow up with individual concerns later:
Tack on a call-to-action (CTA) button
An often-overlooked feature of Facebook for small business, your Page’s call-to-action button allows your visitors to immediately get in touch as soon as they land on your profile:
For example, you can use your CTA to funnel visitors to a landing page, start a phone call or send them to a third-party booking app (like Acuity).
Empower customers to leave reviews
Much like Yelp! or Google Reviews, Facebook is a prime place to curate customer feedback and build your business’ local reputation. Enabling reviews makes your Page more interactive and likewise makes it easy to collect customer success stories directly from social media. (No additional accounts required!)
Once you’ve taken care of these elements of your Facebook Page, you’re ready to iron out your content strategy.
What should small businesses post on Facebook?
In the wake of the platform’s algorithm emphasizing “friends and family first,” business accounts are tasked with publishing posts that engage users without being too salesy.
Coming up with a content strategy for Facebook is about more than just dropping links and asking for bookings. Below are some key types of posts to experiment with as part of your content calendar.
Local news and community shout-outs
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Facebook for small businesses is the ability to connect directly with local customers. Community news and announcements naturally speak to your target audience and are perfect for engagement.
Featured in a community best-of? Got a local story to share? Let your followers know:
Industry news and articles
Facebook serves as a hybrid source of entertainment and news for the majority of its users. Chances are there’s a share-worthy news article or study that your followers would find fascinating, granted that you know how to “package” it for your audience.
For example, a vet or doctor’s office might share health tips or studies relevant to their respective patients. News based around listicles and surprising statistics are ideal for scoring “likes,” comments, and shares:
Memes and humorous content
Not everything you share on Facebook needs to be suit-and-tie.
Quite the contrary, actually. Memes and humorous content can help highlight your business’ personality and serve as a much-needed break from strictly business-related posts for your followers:
Naturally, memes are more useful for engagement than a strictly promotional post. Given that any type of engagement is good news to Facebook’s algorithm, sprinkling humorous posts into your content calendar is a smart move to ensure that you keep showing up in your followers’ feeds.
Videos and animations
Facebook themselves note that videos tend to drive the most engagement of any type of content posted to the platform.
Typically when we think of video content, we think of expensive equipment and extensive editing. In reality, you need little more than a smartphone to start shooting social video for Facebook.
Whether it’s a quick Live Stream from an event, a Vine-style loop, or a muted time-lapse video, consider how you can keep your videos simple while still catching the eye of your followers:
Cross-posts from Instagram
If you’re already creating eye-popping photos and videos for Instagram, you can publish those same posts to Facebook too with a single tap. But don’t get lazy using this feature—Facebook and IG are different, and the copy you use for each should be too.
This is a no-brainer if you’re already active on Instagram and want to fill out your Facebook content calendar as well. Cross-posting ensures that your content creation and curation efforts don’t go to waste as you maximize your reach for every photo.
Behind-the-scenes company content
A common theme of Facebook for small businesses is showing off your human side.
For example, photos highlighting your employees or customers tend to reel in the “likes.” An added bonus of behind-the-scenes content is that you can grab it at any time in seconds:
If you want your followers to engage with a post, sometimes you just need to ask.
Questions serve as a natural call-to-action, encouraging followers to comment rather than pass by your post. Whenever you have the opportunity to tack a question onto a post, go for it:
Popular for giveaway promotions, tag-a-friend posts encourage your customers to bring new fans and followers into your feed by using a @tag as a call-to-action:
Note that Facebook views excessive use of tag-a-friend posts as a form of engagement bait. As a result, err on the side of “less is more” when it comes to these types of posts and use them sparingly.
New offers, products, and specials
Of course, don’t be afraid of posting about your latest offerings and promotions.
The trick here is to find ways to make your promotions feel engaging rather than just salesy. Personalized messages and emojis are a good start, presenting your offer as a friendly invitation rather than a sales pitch. The post below is a great example of this approach to promotion:
A combination of the post types above serve as the foundation of a diverse content calendar that’ll keep your followers on their toes without spamming them with sales messages.
What About Facebook Ads?
With social media and Facebook, in particular, becoming increasingly pay-to-play, ads are becoming more and more common for companies looking to reach their target audience.
As it pertains to Facebook for small businesses, we recommend spending some time on Facebook organically before diving head-first into ads.
While Facebook ads allow for insanely detailed targeting and optimization, you can quickly blow out your budget or spend a fortune if you aren’t careful.
Besides, it’s a smart move to spend some time on Facebook to learn more about your target audience. For example, you may notice that you tend to attract a certain demographic on Facebook or there’s a specific product that most of your Facebook followers are interested in. These points could help hone in your ad targeting if you do decide to invest in paid promotion in the future.
That said, if you’ve had some sales-related posts perform well or have a campaign push, Facebook reach ads are ideal for small businesses looking to test the waters.
Best practices for your Facebook marketing strategy
Now that you understand how to set up your profile and what to post, it’s time to look at how to fine-tune your marketing strategy long-term.
The following tips will help you stay in the good graces of the Facebook algorithm and drive more customers directly from the platform over time.
Schedule your posts to maximize engagement
Facebook’s algorithm awards reach to profiles it sees as active participants on the platform.
In other words, posting every now and then isn’t going to cut it if you want to grow an engaged audience.
I’d recommend that you commit to posting daily, especially as you’re just getting your business’ Page off the ground.
To maximize the engagement of your posts, it’s important to note the time of day that you publish your posts. By posting when your audience is most likely to be active, they’ll be more likely to see your posts—and interact accordingly.
Recent data from Sprout Social notes that weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm locally seem to be the optimal engagement window for most industries:
Figuring out optimal timing might require some experimentation but this data serves as a starting point.
To ensure that your posts manage to fall within this window, consider using Facebook’s native scheduling or a third-party tool such as Sprout Social to queue up your posts in advance. Doing so means that you can consistently schedule posts during peak times without the pressure of posting in real-time:
Don’t just drop links and expect engagement
As highlighted in all of our example posts above, posting links and links alone isn’t a good look for your brand.
In fact, Facebook tends to look down on external links. They’d prefer that your posts keep users on Facebook rather than sending them to another site.
Your content calendar should consist of a combination of native Facebook content (think: photos, videos, text-based posts) and links that send visitors elsewhere (think: landing pages and articles).
No matter what you’re posting, try to couple each piece of content with a compelling caption. This proves to both Facebook and your followers that your Page isn’t being run by a bot. Questions, emojis, calls-to-action, and writing your posts in first person (think: “I” or “we”) are all simple ways to make your captions more engaging.
Listen carefully to what your followers are saying
This is a multi-layered tip.
Every “like,” comment, and mention is a valuable piece of data for your business.
What do customers like about your product or service? What do they want to see more of? Which types of content seem to get clicks?
Facebook listening with the help of tools like Awario makes it easier to manage these mentions and look at them as data points. Along with many of the social listening tools out there today, Awario in particular allows you to monitor mentions across all social networks in one platform:
By tracking tags and customer sentiment, you can better understand how customers feel about your business and keep stock of those comments.
You can also keep track of Facebook comments within your CRM. For example, Copper logs interactions between your customers and allows you to take notes on individual customers. Just as you’d log a phone call or email correspondence, tracking social activity gives you a more comprehensive view of your customers:
Respond to comments, tags and reviews
Being a good listener means responding to your Facebook followers in a timely manner.
Question? Complaint? Glowing review? All of these (and then some) deserve a reply.
Doing so shows that you’re attentive and looking out for your customers rather than allowing their concerns to fall by the wayside.
Conventional wisdom tells that customers expect a response on businesses via social within 24 hours.
However, businesses should make it a goal to exceed that expectation.
Perhaps that’s why Facebook awards its “Very Responsive” badge to companies that manage to address customer concerns in a timely manner via Messenger.
Beyond third-party tools, turning on notifications and setting your business Messenger status to “away” during off-hours can keep you in the loop about customer questions. Just as you’d carve out time to respond to customer emails, treat responding to Facebook activity as part of your regular routine.
Dig into your analytics
Reviewing your Facebook analytics is one of the best ways to figure out what’s working and what’s not in terms of your content strategy.
Facebook is a treasure trove of information in regard to audience demographic data.
You can measure your Facebook Audience Insights against your existing metrics (think: Google A nalytics, internal business data) to ensure that your Facebook audience matches your customer personas. This information is also key to paid Facebook promotion as you can hone in on specific demographics, interests, and relevant locations that match your ads to your target audience:
Meanwhile, free tools such as Agorapulse’s Barometer can help break down the various pieces of your Facebook engagement, including how your account stacks up against competing Pages in your space.
The takeaway here is that your approach to Facebook for small business should be data-driven. Rather than second-guessing the content and promotions that people want to see, your analytics can spell the answers out for you.
Pro-tip: Keep an eye on your Facebook traffic via Google Analytics to determine whether or not your social followers are actually resulting in customers on your website.
Google Analytics allows you to see side-by-side which social traffic by default. If you want to see how those same users are spending, you can go a step further by setting conversion goals which can further clue you in on whether or not your Facebook traffic is converting on your website.
Encourage employees, coworkers, and colleagues to share your content
As noted in our guide to social selling on Facebook, employee advocacy can exponentially increase the reach of your company’s Facebook promotions.
Rather than confine your posts to a single Page where reach is likely limited, employee and coworker sharing helps introduce your content to audiences who may otherwise never see it. Remember: anything you can do to promote your Page to new fans and followers organically is a plus.
To wrap things up, note that Facebook’s evolution and recent emphasis on meaningful interactions between businesses and customers go hand in hand with the Relationship Era.
Creating a Facebook page for a small business that promotes your services and enables visitors to book with you can be done in a matter of minutes.
But building trust with customers and fostering meaningful relationships? That’s the long game.
Put your human side on display with each customer interaction on Facebook. This rings true whether you’re publishing an article or responding to a review.
Drop the business-speak. Crack a joke. Be real. Your followers will appreciate your authenticity.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
How are you using Facebook for small business?
There’s arguably no better social channel to supplement your online presence if you’re serving customers in-person than Facebook.
The tips above cover everything you need to know from the basics of building an engaging profile to marketing your small business on Facebook long-term.
And with the help of tools like Copper and Sprout Social, you can make the most of your Facebook followers to nurture and win customers in the future.