Facebook’s social network domination may frequently get challenged by emerging social media platforms like Google+, but the facts remain. With more than 750 million members in its user base, it’s still the most popular social network around.
And yes, businesses are beginning to understand its potential to help them achieve their marketing goals. In fact, 41% of B2B companies and 62% of B2C companies using Facebook have acquired a customer from it.
That said, learning all the nuances of various social networks can be a tricky and time-consuming feat. To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve put together a handy cheat sheet that businesses and marketers can use to make the most of Facebook.
30 Tips and Tricks for Mastering Facebook Marketing
1. Create a Business Page, Not a Profile: First things first. To maximize Facebook’s business potential, you need to create a Business Page, not a Personal Profile, to represent your brand. Setting up a Page is simple. Just visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php, and follow the step-by-step setup instructions. (Already created a Profile for your business? Facebook now allows you to easily convert it into a business Page.)
2. Claim Your Page’s Vanity URL: Once you’ve created your business Page, make it more shareable and easier to find by creating a more recognizable vanity URL (e.g. http://www.facebook.com/hubspot) at http://www.facebook.com/username.
3. Auto-Publish Blog Content: Start populating your Page’s wall with content! If you maintain a business blog, you can connect your blog to auto-post links to new blog content you publish. Many blogging platforms like WordPress and HubSpot automatically offer this feature within its software; you’ll just need to turn it on and sync it with your Page. (Warning: Don’t put too much emphasis on automation. It’s okay to auto-publish some content, but make sure a real human is posting and engaging with your fans, too.)
4. Make Sure Meta Descriptions of Blog Posts Are Complete: Have you noticed that when you post a link to Facebook, it pulls in a brief description as well as a photo? The description gets pulled from the page’s meta description, so make sure any blog content you publish has a complete and enticing meta description to optimize its presence if it gets shared on Facebook.
5. Use iFrames to Create New Page Tabs: Some of Facebook’s fairly recent updates significantly reduced the amount of clutter users can add to their Pages. That said, you can still use iFrames to create custom tabs. Think of these like landing pages within your Facebook Page. Learn how to use iFrames here.
6. Create a Welcome App: Consider using iFrames to create a custom ‘welcome’ page. Use this page to welcome new visitors to your Page and encourage them to ‘Like’ you so they can see your posts in their news feed. Set the page as your ‘Default Landing Tab’ (you can do this when you’re editing your page under ‘Manage Permissions’) so it’s the first page visitors land on when they visit your Page. This will help you generate new fans! (Note: With HubSpot, you can take this one step further by installing HubSpot’s Welcome App, which also presents visitors with a form that can convert them into leads…right within Facebook!)
7. Use Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights is an analytics tool right within Facebook that helps you measure and analyze your Facebook presence. The tool provides Facebook Page administrators with analytics data about Page visits and engagement and can help you understand what content is and isn’t engaging to your fans. Access your Page’s Insights at http://www.facebook.com/insights.
8. Tag Other Users and Business Pages: Although you used to only be able to tag other users on Facebook, you can now tag other Pages, too. Make your Page more engaging and interactive by enabling others to post content on your wall. Enabling this feature will also automatically publish posts to your Page’s wall that are from other users who have tagged your Page in their posts. To enable this, check off “ in ‘Manage Permissions.’
9. Connect Your YouTube Channel: Does your company have its own YouTube channel? Add the YouTube App to your Facebook Page so your fans can view your YouTube videos directly within Facebook.
10. Add the SlideShare App: Similar to the YouTube App, you can also add a SlideShare tab to your Page that will also pull in your SlideShare presentations.
11. Connect Your Flickr Account: While you’re at it, why not pull in your Flickr photos with the Flickr App, too?
12. Add a ‘Dislike’ Button to Your Status Update: Ever wanted to ‘dislike’ a status update on Facebook? Now you can enable other users to ‘dislike’ (or perform another action) for your own posts. Just install the Status Magic App and post an update through the app. (Note: This only works for personal status updates, not Page updates.)
13. Use Links & Calls-to-Action to Generate Leads: Start generating leads from Facebook! Optimize your Page for lead generation by posting links to landing pages for content behind forms, and add calls-to-action (CTAs) to your custom iFrame tabs on your Page. [Bonus! Research suggests that links shared on Facebook have a high impact on SERP (search engine results page) rankings.]
14. Use Questions/Polls for Fan Feedback: In the status update bar on your Page, you have the option of posting a question or a poll (click on ‘Add Poll Options’). Use this to ask your fans for feedback about your products/services or the content you post to your wall. The possibilities are endless, and it’s a great way to engage your fans and increase participation on your Page.
15. Customize Who Can View Your Posts: Facebook’s response to Google+’s Circles feature was a new feature that enables users to customize who can see their Facebook posts. For your Facebook Page, this means you can now limit posts to only display to fans in a certain location or language.
16. Schedule Posts in Advance: Using a third-party Facebook application like HootSuite, you can schedule Facebook posts in advance. However, just as we advised against too much Facebook automation with blog auto-posting, the same holds true for scheduling. Don’t get caught in the trap of turning your Page into a robot, and make sure you’re actively engaging with your fans, too.
17. Understand the Impact of EdgeRank: EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm for deciding what gets shown in a user’s news feed. It’s important to understand that not every post published to your Page’s wall will be visible to every one of your fans. A post’s engagement level factors into your content’s ability to spread across Facebook. Interactions with a post such as a Like, share, comment, tag, etc., create what Facebook calls an “edge.” The more edges an object has, the more likely it will be displayed in a user’s News Feed. This means it’s important to post engaging content so your fans are more inclined to interact with it, thus increasing its reach.
18. Add Facebook Social Plugins to Your Blog/Website: Promote your business’ Facebook presence and help your content spread on Facebook by adding Facebook Social Plugins to your website and/or blog. This will encourage visitors to your site to also interact with you and become your fan on Facebook as well as spread your content and expand its reach. Social Plugins include ‘Like’ buttons, ‘Share’ buttons, and more.
19. Subscribe to Facebook’s Official Blog for New Feature Announcements: Give yourself a competitive edge. Stay on top of the latest announcements from Facebook such as new features and tools by subscribing to the official Facebook Blog.
20. Monitor Activity on Your Business Page: Don’t neglect your Facebook presence. Use social media monitoring software or a third party app like HootSuite to monitor activity and regularly participate in your Facebook Page. A Page that is engaging and updated regularly will be much more successful than a static one.
21. Switch Your Posting Identity Between a Personal Profile and a Page: As a Page administrator, within your Page’s settings you can choose to always post to your Page with that Page’s identity (i.e. If I post to HubSpot’s Page when I’m using Facebook as my personal profile, it will show as posted from ‘HubSpot.’). Furthermore, if you want to use your Page’s identity in general, you can switch that as well. Doing so will enable you to receive notifications about activity on your Page, see stories from the Pages you Like in your news feed, and interact with other Pages as your page. Just click on ‘Account,’ then choose ‘Use Facebook as Page.’
22. Experiment With Facebook’s Ad Platform: Test the effectiveness of Facebook’s advertising platform for your business. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.
23. Generate Status Stats: Status Statistics (although it can only be used for your personal identity, not your Page’s) is a fun app that enables you to see how often you update your Facebook status, which words you use most frequently, and which of your status updates are most popular. Use it to get a quick snapshot of what you post most frequently about on Facebook. Talking too much about yourself? It might be time to tone it down a bit.
25. Search for Old Status Updates: Need to access an old Facebook post? The website Social Searching enables you to connect with Facebook and search through your (or your friends’) old status updates so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
26. Use Group Chat for collaboration: Facebook recently introduced Group Chat into its mix of features. In the Facebook chat pane, click on a user you want to chat with. Then click on the icon between the video icon (oh yeah — you can do a 1 on 1 video chat, too!) and the ‘x’ icon, and choose ‘Add Friends to Chat.’ Think of it as a chat room that can enable you to collaborate with teammates or conduct a small, live focus group with prospects or customers.
27. Integrate Facebook with Google+: Download the Google+Facebook extension (currently available for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox) to add an extra tab to your Google+ account, which accesses your Facebook news feed. The tab also enables you to Like, comment, or post status updates to Facebook from your Google+ account.
28. Take Advantage of Facebook Keyboard Shortcuts: Use Facebook at the speed of light with Facebook keyword shortcuts for Google Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. Access Facebook’s keyword shortcuts here.
29. Launch Contests: Contests can be a great way to increase engagement and attract new fans for your Page. Be aware of Facebook’s contest/promotion guidelines, and consider using an application like Wildfire, which works closely with Facebook to make sure its guidelines are followed appropriately.
30. Add More Page Administrators, Engage, and Be Social: As we mentioned before, although there are a lot of tools available to help you maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook presence, remember that social networks are based on the concept of being social. Make sure there is a member of your team devoted to managing your business’ Facebook presence and that they’re committed to participating using a real, live human voice. You can also add more than one administrator for your Page when you’re editing your Page under ‘Manage Admins’ to help you split the responsibility among team members.
What other Facebook marketing tips and tricks would you recommend for making the most of a business’ Facebook presence?