Well, before three years ago I had no knowledge of how Facebook operates, or even the benefits of using this platform. However, it is now a necessity to engage in social media if you have a business, or indeed want others to see what you are doing.
Little did I realise that after setting up a website, that this was literally the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the other tasks that you need to do.
Simply put - Facebook boasts one billion users, who spend a shocking 80% of their time connected to the platform. This figure may be even higher as they now own Instagram too. Take a few moments to absorb the magnitude of those statistics, and then you will realise that if you want any sort of online presence, then Facebook should be an absolute must and should be at the top of your list of chosen platforms.
Facebook offers other useful benefits like:
1. It can be used as an alternative to a website, until you are ready to build one:
2. Advertising is far cheaper than with Google;
3. Campaigns can be co-ordinated with Instagram;
4. Relatively cheap worldwide reach;
5. Targeting of potential clients and customers can be very specific;
6. There are specific groups readily accessible on the platform;
7. You can usually link your store directly to the platform;
8. Simplicity - as it is easy to work with, with help pages and support;
This all makes Facebook a very attractive platform for most, especially those who have a startup concept, and perhaps want to test the water as to whether it will attract public interest.
You must have a personal page on Facebook to create a fan, business or brand page. Once you have created this page about you, then the sky really is your oyster. You can set up multiple pages for different areas, like a fan page if you have a talent, perhaps a group for likeminded people to communicate, and if you have business in mind, maybe a company of brand page where people can view your goods or services and contact you.
You should be sure to include contact details, and open yourself up to message access as people love to be able to reach you directly, and out of hours. Do not worry about missing messages, as you can now set an out-reply with maybe options of advice, then you can reply when you are next available.
Always ensure that your profile is as complete as possible, as this is usually where people will look for what you do, other social media profiles and how to contact you. It's wise to define your preferred region as this sets your target audience to those areas.
Images and videos are firm favourites for engagement, especially as most people have limited time to view social media. Therefore, although they will read articles and more detailed posts, this will tend to be when have more time. However, by posting often with quick bursts of information, interesting or inspirational posts; this will keep your audience entertained and intrigued by your profile.
Always try to post as the right times where engagement is optimal. Of course, given social media is 24 hours you will always gain engagement somewhere in the world; however this may not be for your designated market. You can usually find up-to-date research on the optimal times to pos for most platforms; however this is not always accurate, so monitor your posts to see how they perform for your target audience and the timings in terms of day and time of the day. This will offer valuable data for advertising to be carefully targeted.
This list will give you some ideas and bear in mind that Facebook interest can change at any point, so what works one day might not work the next, so you must keep it fresh:
1. Always track similar pages as this will monitor your performance, and provide ideas of what is working currently in terms of materials;
2. Post frequently - remember "if you build it, they will come" from the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams... Well, the same applies with social media, unless you put in the effort and consistently, then people will not be drawn to your profile, and eventually regular check out your page once they know you will have interesting materials;
3. Try to have a set routine for what you publish, as again the public will then have an expectation and revisit your page for that media;
4. Be timely, as you must follow the season and calendar. Always think what will be in the mindset of the public at a particular point. Example do not post materials for Christmas in the Spring, when people are thinking about holidays;
5. Use hashtags to amplify your reach as people searching will then find your posts based on those hashtags, like if posting a tip for a gift for a girlfriend, then using hashtags like #Gifts and #GiftsForHer. You can also check the reach (or popularity) of a particular hashtag by using tools like - Hashtagify.me or Keyhole.co:
6. Keep it short and sweet, as people respond better to shorter posts rather than lengthy pieces of text. Of course, you can post longer posts, or even extracts but do make sure the intro is gripping, which will mean the reader will want to continue to your website, or read more;
7. Make it emotional - Life is challenging enough, so we don't strive for boring but those things which will stir our emotions, good or bad;
8. Remember engagement is about being real and interesting. Your audience will want to know about you, the real person, warts and all. Try to give a sense of who your are and what makes you tick.
9. Run competitions and offer giveaways. This does not need to be complex, but should be something unique, like a music download or a small item. It will make your audience feel special to know that you value them, hence giving them something shows this.
10. Make interesting and short videos and webcasts of maximum a few minutes, as the attention span tend to be quite short and time is very precious also.
11. There will be certain times where reach is very poor, like Christmas, Black Friday, Valentines, Easter and so on. This is because the big companies will be placing huge budget advertising campaigns at these times. Clearly, it is not easy to compete with these commercial budgets; so do not waste your time or money trying to do so. Instead, continue to do your own artistic and creative steps to build your presence at these times. The normal reach will be limited at these times, but it will pass. If you adhere to the principles above, you will still have a steady flow of visitors to your page.
12. Encourage your social media visitors to like and share your posts. Indeed, you should always write or produce material that is share worthy, as this is an easy win way to increase you reach. An easy way to gain shares and even likes is to add the hashtags of #share, #like or #comment. It may seem as though you are being direct, however people often need guidance if you want them to travel a certain path with you.
13 .Be humble and grateful as we always appreciate kindness, so do say 'thank you' when milestones are reached. Not only that, this often attracts new followers to your page. However, do not do this too often to be annoying, as you balance your behaviour towards your audience.
This can be very reasonable, but equally expensive if you are not smart and creative in how you utilise advertisements. Firstly, you must understand your buyer persona, or target person. This is not just about who they are, but also what might be their mindset at that given point. For example, you are posting a song, so you would need to know who might be interested in that type of music and for what purpose. The more research you do before advertising, then the more accurately you can target the audience. Say that song is soul music, then it would be easy to identify the age range who may have grown up with that style of music, once you have done that then you may be able to find other interests they are likely to have All of these factors are building a profile of the audience that you wish to target. Think about countries and regions as well, as maybe "soul" music was only popular say in the United States and United Kingdom. There would be no point in targeting and audience in say India, Russia and Norway. Although, these are generalisations, this was more to give you some idea of the questions and research you should endeavour to complete.
Facebook currently allow you to advertise for as low as £1.00 per day, often achieving a reach in thousands if you select the right criteria. Remember, if you make an audience broad then you will capture more people in your net, however they may not be the right people. Equally, if you are too specific, then you may rule out many borderline people too.
Monitor responsiveness of the audience regularly and tweak the audience. You should aim for 10% engagement on any posts. This shows that you are achieving success if you gain this amount of your total reach or more.
Please remember that there are regional variations with Facebook, so some audiences are more responsive than others. An example would be the Western markets, where people demand more as they are acclimatised to advertising. Audiences in other parts of the world may be more responsive, if you are looking for engagement and not sales. However, this should not be a long-term strategy as it s always important to have your target audience already within reach.
Simply put I took all of these steps but most importantly I am always real. I am truly grateful to each and every one of the 65,000 people who have believed in me, and trusted me to become a part of their network. I had no idea when I started with one follower and like that I would achieve this stature. It was really beyond my imagination to expect in less than 2.5 years, so many people would have visited my page and liked what they saw so much as to add me to their own profiles.
I would say to anyone starting out, that it is possible but it takes imagination, creativity and being your true self to achieve growth on Facebook. My page is proof that even an everyday person with no formal connections, or big commercial budget can compete and show even the big brands how to build a network on social media.
Thank you everyone who continues to support me with my creative business, as we started small but we are growing together each and every day. Inspired by Elle now has a presence on social media platforms of around 88,500 - WOW!!
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