Let’s admit it: Most of us spend a few minutes here and there on our Facebook pages bantering back-and-forth with customers or waxing poetic about the state of the world. But, as far as a strategy for using Facebook to grow your business, enhance your brand or show off your superb customer service — well, few of us have one.

And, therein lies a problem.

Facebook is free and, if you use it wisely, a tool that can vastly enhance your public profile, keep current customers happy and draw new customers in. So why aren’t you using it to its fullest advantage?

Your competitors are using Facebook. It’s a good bet many of them are using the platform’s unique features and appeal to grow their businesses, tout their brands and possibly taking customers right out from under you.

In a national, international and global marketplace, the people behind the business become increasingly important. Facebook’s capacity to build connections with customers, put human faces forward, engage in conversations and set the tone, personality and style of your business is exactly why you need to do more.

When you create an effective Facebook business page, you craft a picture in the minds of the online public. People begin to see your business as reputable, friendly and trustworthy.

An active Facebook community also gives you the opportunity to learn from your customers. You’ll learn what your customers love about you as well as what they don’t. You’ll learn about new services or products your customers want. You’ll learn how to improve the customer experience. You’ll also have access to invaluable demographic data.

As you can see, Facebook for business is more than a fun place to spend a few seconds each day. It’s a powerful marketing tool if you know how to use it. Whether you already have a Facebook for business page or have to start from scratch, follow these ten tips to power up your page. If you already have a business page, take stock and improve.

  1. Choose a name. You can choose either your business name or name that includes likely search words and phrases. Look around Facebook, check what other businesses are doing and take particular notice of competitor’s pages. Of course, if the name you want is already in use, you’ll have to come up with another. Try adding your location to the name or a descriptive word relevant to your business. Avoid any kind of sales speak in the name you choose. The concept is to build a community, not overwhelm people with an ongoing sales pitch.  
  2. Write and add a concise business blurb. What’s your elevator pitch? How do you tell people about what your business does in few words? Use the About section to let people know what you do. Use keywords naturally within the context.
  3. Add profile and cover photos. Most businesses use the company logo as the profile picture. Using your corporate logo solidifies branding, which is an essential element in building a solid online reputation. You have a little more leeway with the cover photo. You could choose a picture of your storefront if you have one, a behind-the-scenes picture of employees at work, a concept photo that relates to your business or another appropriate picture.

Display dimensions for Facebook profile pictures are 170×170 pixels on computer screens, 128×128 pixels on most smartphones and 36×36 on feature phones. The original profile picture graphic should be square and, if it contains text or a logo, in PNG format. Remember that on your page the profile picture will remain square, but cropped to circular aside messages and posts.

Optimal cover photos should be in JPG format and 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels high and a file size less than 100 kilobytes. Cover photos display at 820×312 pixels on computers, 640×360 pixels on smartphones and must be at least 400×150 pixels to upload.

  1. Call them to action. At the top of your Facebook page, click the call-to-action button. Use the call-to-action to direct people to your website, call your store, send you a message through Messenger, email you, shop your online store, begin an order or book a service. The call-to-action will appear in the cover photo area.
  2. Create before publishing. Complete sections, add graphics and get everything in place before publishing your page. You can easily change elements later, and you should, but once the page is published, it’s viewable.
  3. Post now promote later. Post updates, reference special offers and provide quality content before you start promoting your Facebook business page. An already active page is more appealing to viewers. Customer relevant industry news, such as product advancements or recalls, is informative content. Make posts short, fun and use images to further attract attention. Effective posts include event invitations, special offers for followers as well as live, behind-the-scenes and how-to videos. Build a good number of engaging posts before actively promoting your page.
  4. Connect Messenger. Make sure Messenger is connected and enabled on your business page. Messenger gives customers a way to connect with you one-on-one. They can ask questions, raise concerns or, in a best-case scenario, praise you to the skies.   
  5. Welcome everyone. Invite everyone from family, friends, current customers and your second cousin’s third cousin twice removed to like your page. Ask for their support by starting topical conversations and sharing your content.  

And, don’t forget the most important group of people of all – invite your current customers to like your page. They already know you. Let them know you have a Facebook for business page where they’ll find valuable information and special offers.

  1. Engage and grow. Growing your Facebook family happens if you post engaging content and participate in conversations for which social media is built for. Aside from posting content, sharing information and participating in discourse, however, you can attract even more followers with guided discussions and contests.

Ask your customers/followers what products or services they wish you offered. Ask which options they like most for a particular product. Ask for suggestions about product or service options or improvements. It’s your page, it’s up to you to be the catalyst when it comes to encouraging engagement.

Contests are another great way to involve followers and encourage sharing. Ask followers to enter by liking the contest announcement post, making a comment and sharing. You’ll be surprised how many likes, shares and new followers your post attracts.

  1. Stay active and involved. Respond quickly to customer comments, concerns and complaints. Use negative comments as an opportunity to show how you handle the inevitable “when something goes wrong” scenario. Actively post informative content. Facebook is a wonderful marketing and community building tool, but it only works if you stay active and involved.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.