Putting the Best Face on Facebook

This is the first in a series of articles on getting the most from social media


by Tammy Adamson-McMullen

Chances are you have a personal Facebook page, but do you have a company page? And if so, are you posting regularly? If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” you may want to reconsider.

Facebook offers small businesses a vast and cost-effective (mostly free!) opportunity to stay in touch with existing clients and reach out to new ones; but it does take some work and a modicum of patience to be successful on this platform. “Friends” and “likes” don’t always come easily to business pages, which can cause business owners to lose interest and their pages to become inactive. But professionals argue that the effort is worthwhile if for no other reason than the fact that today’s consumers expect established companies to have a Facebook presence and are more likely to do business with a company that has one.

According to Forbes contributor Jayson Meyers, (“Top 10 Reasons Your Brand Needs to be On Facebook,” June 26, 2015), not being active on Facebook “is akin to giving your competitors a golden ticket.” Meyers notes that Facebook is still the No. 1 social channel for marketers and drives the largest share of social media referrals. “Facebook continues to dominate Pinterest, YouTube and even Twitter in terms of its share of social media referrals,” Meyers writes, referring to blogshareaholic.com statistics. “While all social media sites drove 31.24 percent of all referral traffic on the web in December 2014, Facebook alone drove nearly 25 percent.”

Facebook’s dominance in social media is undisputed, with the social media giant reporting more than 1 billion people logging in each day. On average, each user spends about 20 minutes on Facebook daily, except in the United States where the average is 40 minutes. Additionally, Facebook in 2014 had more than 40 million active small business pages, with many posting on a regular basis.

The bottom line? Facebook is a force to be reckoned with, one that businesses can’t afford to ignore.

Mozelle by Design's Facebook page

Facebook for Faux Finishers

For faux finishers and decorative painters, Facebook is a particularly attractive social media—not only because of the sheer number of people using it but also because the format allows you to easily upload photos, videos and descriptions that showcase your work.

Decorative painter Mozelle Spencer, of Mozelle by Design in Seattle, links her website at mozellebydesign.com to her Facebook page where she posts about projects to nearly 260 followers. Mozelle’s Facebook page also includes such essential information as her e-mail address, phone number and a map to her location as well as customer reviews and a huge collection of before-and-after photos that showcase her work.

While Mozelle’s follower number is impressive, she would like to see additional followers who are more engaged with her posts.

In an effort to engage current followers and gain new ones, Mozelle is planning a few additional strategies in 2016, including linking her professional page with her personal one from time to time. Mozelle has been somewhat reticent to talk about faux projects on her personal page, preferring to keep her two Facebook pages totally separate. But friends often ask about Mozelle’s work, leading her to believe that an occasional reference on her personal page of projects on her professional page might be something her friends would enjoy. Additionally, her friends might “like” the posts and even share them with their own friends, leading to increased traffic on Mozelle’s professional page and, concurrently, referrals for jobs.

“When I see friends out and about, they sometimes ask, ‘Why haven’t you posted about what you do?’ ” reports Mozelle, noting that she realized recently that even her closest friends weren’t entirely sure of the nature and scope of her work. Many, for example, thought she only painted murals when, in fact, she offers a full range of faux finishes, including Venetian plasters, as well as color consultations.

“As faux finishers, we have such a unique thing that we do that people are fascinated by it,’ ” Mozelle says, noting that she intends to stoke that fascination in 2016.

Mozelle also has set a 2016 goal of posting to her professional page on a daily basis. She understands that the more she posts, the more likely her page is to show up on the news feeds of her followers. And, in a similar move to Facebook’s widely successful “Throwback Thursday” promotion in which users typically post old photos, Mozelle intends to create “Mural Monday” and post photos of some of her favorite mural projects.

It’s worth noting that many faux finishers are adept at using Facebook and have created Facebook groups to interact with one another, share information and network, including those through the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL). Some of the Facebook groups are closed groups, meaning you have to be invited. Others are open to everyone and only require that you “like” the page.

 

Posting to Best Advantage

Despite the fact that millions of Facebook users are on the platform every second of every day, studies have shown that some days of the week and times of the day are better than others when posting.

The best days to post are Thursdays and Fridays, and the best times are between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the highest traffic occurring from 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., according to a report by Steven Benna on BusinessInsider.com ("The Best Times to Post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter,” July 29, 2015). But dinner time also is optimum, when many Facebook users are home from work and checking their accounts.

 

Videos, like this one from CIL paints found on the YourDecoratingResource.com site under
"Color and Design Trends"), are ideal for Facebook, too. Click the link to view the video.

Posting images to business Facebook pages helps to gain attention, but video is even better. Video is particularly useful for decorative artists, allowing them to showcase their work in progress. The effect is even more dramatic when the video is high-speed, which can be achieved either with a camera that offers the function or with a program that allows you to achieve the look, such as Windows Movie Maker or Wondershare Filmora. (In fast speed, uploaded videos are more likely to conceal any signature artistry “tricks” that you’d rather not reveal.)

Additionally, Facebook allows business pages to “boost” their posts to a specified audience beyond your followers. Facebook allows you to set the price of the boosted posts (anywhere from $5 up) and then shows you the number of Facebook users you can expect to reach for the amount. This function appears at the bottom right of every business post. A $5 boost might glean up to 3,100 users; a $75 post, up to 41,000. You can choose the targeted audience according to location, age, gender and interests to make sure the people who see the post on their news feeds are those who might be the most likely to engage on your page.

There is a lot of controversy about boosting, which you can read in various forums on the Internet, with some users claiming to achieve better results than others. If you want to experiment, try boosting a newsworthy post—maybe about a significant project you’re tackling, a pro bono assignment or a new faux finish service that you’re offering—and budget it for $10 or so. Be sure to include a large number of interests when selecting your target audience, such as decorative painting, interior design, decorating, and so on. After the boost has run its course, see if your followers and “likes” have increased on your page, which should be a good indication of how effective the boost was for you.

Whether or not you choose to boost, remember that the best posts typically are those that offer some newsworthy information. According to Facebook statistics, 4.75 billion pieces of content are shared daily across the platform. Keep this in mind as you post, continually showing clients and potential clients what they can expect to receive from you.

Similar to boosting, Facebook also allows businesses to advertise to a large audience at very little cost. To activate this function, simply click on the blue button entitled “Promote Page,” found on the right side of every business page, and Facebook essentially will do the rest. Facebook automatically pulls text and images to create a professional-looking ad that you can edit at will. Once the ad is complete, you make the same selections as with boosting, choosing the exact people you want to target and how much you want to spend.

With posting, boosting, advertising and any other activity on Facebook, the key to success with a business page is patience and tenacity. To be effective, you need to continually nurture the page. While this task might seem daunting, most Facebook tasks take only a very few minutes to accomplish—no more than 5 minutes—which arguably could be among the most important you spend on marketing your business.