Do you use Facebook for business – or think you should?

Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is the one that is most popular with small businesses. It’s the easiest to use and seems to have something to offer most sectors.

We asked Social Media Consultant and Drive member Lenka Koppová to answer questions from Drive members.

Would you like to be “the expert” in our weekly Q&A sessions? Get in touch if you’ve got expertise to share! 

Lenka has worked for several marketing agencies and is now helping small businesses to grow by using social media for customer service, community building and brand awareness through her consultancy LK Social Media

This is a compilation of the live Q&A in the Ask the Expert hour in the Drive Facebook Group.

Targeting the right audience

Louise Frayne How to do you select your audience? When you go into the settings they appear quite generic is there a way of being able to specify more precisely the target audience e.g people between the aged of 18 – 65 who are working in the East Anglia area?

Lenka Koppová In Page settings, under Preferred Page Audience, you can specify Location, Age & Gender and Interests of your audience. You can use as broad or as specific targeting as you wish. Unfortunately, Facebook sometimes makes it difficult to change this setting. You can target your ideal audience more specifically with Facebook Ads.

Rachael Ward Could I ask if you think Facebook works for all businesses? As we are a specialist law firm, do you think it’s appropriate? We were more minded to LinkedIn but interaction there seems so stilted to me.

Lenka Koppová I’d say there’s an angle and audience you can target on Facebook for every company, but I wouldn’t suggest Facebook to everyone. For professional services like lawyers, accountants, business advisors, LinkedIn and Twitter will be ideal platforms. LinkedIn is really struggling to find its place in the social media world recently. New redesign didn’t help much. Lots of people still swear by it and I wouldn’t give up on it – yet – but I’d focus on building a personal profile rather than a business page!

Sam Taylor Posting directly to Facebook Vs. posting via Hootsuite, are you seeing a difference in terms of reach/visibility of posts?

Lenka Koppová This is a really popular question. From my experience, there’s no difference in reach between posts posted directly on Facebook or via a 3rd party scheduling app. I know that a while ago, Facebook preferred posts published directly via Facebook, but these days they care only about the content quality! If your content is interesting and engaging, it doesn’t matter how you publish it, Facebook will give you good organic reach! Sometime I prefer to use Facebook for scheduling, as it gives you a better preview of how the post will look like when it’s published!

Sam Taylor Is Facebook now just a ‘pay to play’ model for businesses?

Lenka Koppová Even though Facebook is pushing more and more for businesses to use Facebook advertising and spend money to get bigger reach, you still can grow your business organically with great content! If you really know what your audience wants and you put enough effort into creating interesting, engaging, entertaining, educative content and engaging with your audience, then you won’t need spend any money on advertising. BUT Facebook ads are one of the best (maybe even THE best) advertising channels these days. You can get really good ROI and reach lots of people on a shoestring budget.

Video and Facebook Live

Sam Taylor How is video transforming the platform?

Lenka Koppová Video is taking over Facebook’s timeline – especially ‘silent’ video (autoplay with no sound, but captions). Facebook is favouring media content (video & photo) over links (because links take people away from the platform). Vertical video is becoming more popular because of increasing mobile use. Also the quality of video is dropping – moving away from professional videos more to live video and authentic, raw, unedited footage.

Andy Boothman Facebook Live takes the platform into previously uncharted territory. What are the benefits and applications for this within the SME world?

Lenka Koppová Facebook Live gives companies an opportunity to show their human side! People always love behind the scenes and making of movies, and now, with live video, companies can do it really easily without worrying about the costs for a professional video team.

Keith Shering Is it possible to screen-share with FB Live video – e.g. for live tutorials and Qs and As?

Lenka Koppová You can stream live videos from your desktop (from your personal account, not page) – and you should be able to use screen sharing. I’m personally not using Facebook live video that often, but I’ve seen a really good blog post about this topic a while ago. After the chat is over, I’ll dig around if I can find it for you.

How often and when to post?

Ann Hawkins What about frequency of posts? Small businesses can often find it really hard to keep up with creating and posting new content.

Lenka Koppová One of the most frequently asked questions (surrounded by lots of bull****)

There’s no ‘one fits all’ solution. There isn’t an ‘ideal’ posting frequency (or time to post) for everyone! It’s really individual and it depends on many factors. It’s a huge challenge for small businesses and freelancers to keep up with the demands on content creation, engagement, marketing whilst running their business and delivering their products. My advice is – think about your own resources: how much you can realistically do and keep up with? The main point is to be consistent, but if doesn’t matter that much if you’re posting consistently once a day, once a week or once a month. Of course, the more you do, the better results you’ll get, but there’s no need for small businesses to post 5 times a day on each platform.

Each business has different audience and each audience has different preferences. You can always find insights about your unique audience in analytics – that should be your personal compass. But mostly – use your common sense! There are certain stereotypes that can guide you – People tend to check Facebook in the morning with their coffee or while commuting, then during lunch break and majority will be scrolling through their timeline in the evening while watching TV. BUT Facebook algorithm can mess up with your timing anyway! It comes back to the main point – if you have interesting content, timing doesn’t matter, because people will find your posts anyway!

Quantity v Quality

Ann Hawkins A lot of people try to get as many likes on their page from anyone – even those who have no interest in the business. Is there any point in this?

Lenka Koppová No point at all, just waste of time & money! You want your Page ‘likes’ to come from people who are genuinely interested in your business, services/products and who can be your clients/influencers/partners. Overall, social media shouldn’t be a numbers game. It doesn’t matter that much how many followers/fans/likes you have – what matters is active and engaged audience/community that’s relevant for your business!

Ann Hawkins What do you recommend for automating some of the process?

Lenka Koppová Facebook is one of the more difficult platform to automate efficiently (without being robotic) – you can automate your posting by scheduling to give yourself more time to engage in real-time conversations (groups, chats, replies, etc.). Definitely don’t try to automate engagement!

You can set up automatic responses to your private messages if you know that you don’t have the time to respond instantly – but always make sure that your recorded message is not pretending to be authentic ‘real-time’ response and always, always, reply with a personalised message as soon as you can (even if you have auto response set up)!

Ann Hawkins Are there tools you recommend for scheduling, making visuals etc?

Lenka Koppová My favourite scheduling tool is Buffer – user friendly, great Chrome extension, free version is enough for small businesses. For creating visual I’d recommend Canva – really simple tool that makes everyone a graphic designer. You can set up your brand colours and fonts there and create templates of different designs, so then you can quickly create new visuals for your posts! On mobile, you can use a separate app for managing your Pages called Pages Manager – it makes it easier to post on your business page without getting confused with your personal profile. You can also use Facebook Groups app to see only content from your groups! And one last thing – don’t forget to use built in analytics to learn about your audiences! (no need for any fancy tools, Facebook insights will do)

Outsourcing

Ann Hawkins Lenka, what’s your advice for people looking to outsource their social media activities? What should they look for?

Lenka Koppová Look for someone you trust. Social media is really personal and you need to 100% trust the person helping you! If you don’t know anyone personally, ask for recommendations. And always check their social media presence – are they active? Do their profiles look professional? Are they helpful and engaging with their audiences?

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Lenka runs a Meetup in Cambridge for informal Social Media chats. To find our more visit https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-Social-Media-Meetup/ or contact Lenka on Twitter @Lenkakopp, Facebook or on her website