Facebook is only twelve years old. The social media website has certainly made its mark on the world in that short amount of time, to the point that it gets mentioned in news articles about nearly any major
event that occurs around the world. Law enforcement agencies scrutinize terrorists’ activity following attacks; relief efforts rely on Facebook friend networks for quick fundraising; and concerned family members are almost as likely to send a Facebook message as they are to make a phone call to find out whether their loved ones are all right during a hurricane or earthquake.
As Facebook evolves and matures, the way companies use it for marketing purposes does so as well. Here are a few of the key factors to keep in mind as you apply social media optimization to the world’s most popular social networking tool.
1. Your Facebook Page Should Be a Mini-Website
At one time, it was an effective practice to use your Facebook page primarily as a route for people to follow to your website. But as Facebook added more features, profile settings, media capabilities, and advertising tools, it became something different. Today, it’s time to shift your thinking and turn your company’s Facebook page into a destination in itself. Make sure the page contains all of the information that the potential customer needs to get an overview of your business, a few photos if applicable, and plenty of recent posts that provide a snapshot of what’s going on at your business. By all means include links to your main website in those posts, and encourage people to click through for more information, but if your Facebook page is bare and boring, don’t expect anyone to overlook it and visit your website instead.
2. It’s Harder to Get on People’s News Feeds
The big Facebook news at the moment is a major set of changes to the way items are ranked in each user’s News Feed. The goal that drove the changes is to give each user more of the posts that he wants to see near the top of his feed (as indicated by his past likes, shares, and reposting of similar posts) and fewer of the ones he doesn’t want to see (as indicated by his ignoring of similar posts in the past). Whatever the general response is to this change, it means one thing for social media marketing:
Your content needs to be really interesting!
If you want your posts to get liked, shared, and reposted by users, you must make them truly useful to the people you are reaching. Keep your audience firmly in mind; if you post material that that particular audience doesn’t care about too much, it will get booted to the bottom of their News Feeds. However, if you focus on news items related to their industry, creative tips that will solve common problems, and meaningful updates about your company, people will enjoy your posts and interact with them.
3. There Are a Ton of People on Facebook
Facebook has a truly massive audience, and the tools are available to reach the members of that audience that are very likely to want the services your company has to offer. If your company has been ignoring Facebook or just establishing a minimal presence—one short post each month, for instance—you are failing to notice the oil well gushing out of your backyard!
All you need is a social media optimization expert to analyze your current page, turn it into a rich information source, and begin posting frequent, valuable updates that your current and future customers will be interested in reading. If your business is a locally based one, it is even more important to use Facebook to its full potential. People hungry for your dinner menu or in urgent need of your plumbing services are nearly as likely to type “Facebook” as “Google” in their search bar to find what they need.
It’s a great idea to establish a presence on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and other networking sites as well—each platform has a slightly different audience and structure. But the sheer size of Facebook and the impressive job it has done in becoming a single-source news, entertainment, and communication website make it the single social media site that deserves the bulk of your SMO attention.