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Social platforms keep changing and evolving right in front of our eyes – it’s a full-time job just keeping up with social trends, let alone always knowing where and how exactly to focus your efforts to maximize effectiveness.

As a platform, Facebook offers endless possibilities, but for small businesses, social media management can be a significant opportunity cost. How can you really be sure that you’re employing the right tools and tactics? After all, Facebook has more than 1.4 billion users who spend their days posting, sharing, commenting, and “liking;” how can you ensure your business gets some of their attention? 

Okay. Let’s step back for a moment –

I’m sure you’re skeptical about investing time and resources into a platform that has only barely entered puberty. But I can say with a high degree of certainty that Facebook is here to stay, and it’s only going to grow larger and more powerful.

As of February 2014, the platform celebrated its 10th birthday, and it’s amazing to think about just how far it’s come in the last decade. Now, take a second and imagine what it’ll be capable of by 2024 – users might be able to make purchases right off Facebook itself. This is less crazy than it sounds: this is already being developed for Twitter, and implementation for Facebook looks increasingly likely. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

Since everyone knows that Facebook is an important and powerful platform with remarkable growth potential, but few know how to use it well, the internet is brimming over with tips and tricks to help marketers and business owners learn how to successfully leverage it to help excite prospects, drive more traffic to their websites, and ultimately to increase revenue.

I must warn you, though – be wary of where you get your information, and be sure steer clear of those tips and tricks that don’t actually work

By now, I’m sure you have a ton of questions, but let’s start with the most important one: What are the right tools and tactics to break through the Facebook newsfeed clutter and position myself in just the right way to grab some attention?

Step 1: Build trust 

In order for your audience to trust your content and your brand, you must take the necessary steps to build the foundation. 
  • Have a consistent presence. Simply creating a business account is not nearly enough to get your audience engaged in conversation with you.

  • Let current customers/clients know you’re on Facebook. Tell them how excited you are to be there and how much you are looking forward to engaging with them by providing them with valuable information and being a resource to answer any (relevant) questions they may have.

  • Start the conversation. When people do follow your business page, acknowledge them – communicate that you value their efforts to reach out via social media.

  • Treat a visit to your business page is like a visit to your office. When someone comments or likes a post, give them your full attention. Let them know that their input is both welcome and appreciated.

  • Stay active. Maintaining an active social media profile keeps your business top of mind for your audience and prospective clients. 

Step 2: Be a resource

Provide information of value to your audience. You want to be the number one go-to resource for anything and everything surrounding your business.

  • Post 80/20 content. Nobody likes to be advertised to, so make your social media profile more than just promotional. You should create content around more general topics that align with your brand. Post 80% engaging, relevant content and 20% promotional content that directly links to your company’s website. 

Let’s break that down.

  • You can use a website like StumbleUpon or Reddit to find shareable content that is relevant to your business. You can filter search results based on interests.
  • For the remaining 20%, post valuable information that your audience is interested in. Ask them questions and provide answers that resonate with their interests. 

Step 3: Keep them interested 

Videos and image posts get seen by more Facebook users than plain text or links. You want to increase engagement with your followers, and you want them to help spread your content and brand awareness. That means you need to post something that makes them want to engage with you and makes them feel compelled to share. 

  • Infographics are a great way to share important information in an interesting way. There are tons of resources to help you build infographics, even for the non-designer! Some of my favorites include www.piktochart.comwww.visual.ly, and www.infogr.am.
  • Use pictures to grab attention.  Taking a relevant image and editing it to make it come alive or fit the text of the post is a great way to spruce up any timeline. There are tons of free online editors where you can edit an image, add text, or even use text to create an image. We recommend you try www.wordle.netwww.picmonkey.com, and www.pixlr.com

Step 4: Get them excited

Incentives, incentives, incentives! Who doesn’t love free stuff? Get people excited about your brand, and you get them engaged with your page:

  • Have contests to boost engagement. Contests can increase interaction with current fan base and grow awareness of your page for prospects by encouraging sharing. Ask trivia questions, ask for photos, or fill in the blanks – the possibilities are endless.

  • Run a sweepstakes to reward loyalty and get the conversation started around your great prize offerings.

  • Offer special promotions or discounts exclusive to Facebook. Encourage your followers to try your offerings and share them with their friends. Drive them to your website to see a cool new product or launch!

  • Utilize apps and resources to help make the creation of contests easier. I like Pagemodo, Wishpond, and Shortstack.

Remember, though, that Facebook DOES have contest rules, so make sure you stay within those guidelines. You can find the official Facebook contest rules here and here.

The advice above is simple, but operative. It really does work and can help broaden your fan base and increase brand awareness. Ever think about using a social media content calendar? They can be very useful.

Check out this editorial calendar the Hudson Fusion team created to help us plan our social media content for the weeks and months ahead. This calendar helps us stay on track and ensures our posts are consistent and align with our brand, monthly theme, new launches and expertise. At this point I’m hoping you have an interest in strategically planning and utilizing your Facebook page – if so, download our editorial calendar and start optimizing your business page today!