How To Use Facebook For Business 2015

Let me cut right to the chase.
I am sick and tired of people complaining about Facebook changing all the time. To that I say, “get over it”!
Facebook is dynamic.
If there is one thing you can rely on with Facebook, it’s change!
The truth is that in the world we live in today, Facebook version 1.0 has no place.
Facebook constantly changes, not for the thrill of it, but because it has to.
It continually evolves to meet with the changing needs and mixed uses of its users.
As a result, what worked yesterday will not necessarily work for you into future. Therefore, as a marketer of your business, you must change your strategy, tactics and the way you use the tools to coincide with what is working on Facebook NOW!
[Tweet “The rules have changed! How to use Facebook for #Biz in 2015”]
I can hear what you are thinking…

What are those changes and how should you use Facebook for business in 2015?

Here are the top 10 things you need to know regarding how to use Facebook for business in 2015:

1. Your Promotional Posts Will Receive Decreased Organic Reach

The reach of content by Pages has been dropping steadily over the years. From 2015 onward, not all content will be treated equally.
Facebook has advised back in November 2014 that they will be giving less organic distribution to posts that are overtly promotional in 2015. This leaves you with four options to choose from:

  1. Avoid posting promotional content and gain little or no benefit from even having a presence on the platform
  2. Post blatant promotional content and don’t pay anything to promote it and then achieve minimal benefit from your posts
  3. Be more creative in the way that you encourage people to take action without sounding all “salesy” (more on that in a moment)
  4. Strategically invest in targeted advertising to promote your promotional content and achieve results for your business

What many people don’t realise is that Facebook also rewards people who pay to promote their content by giving them greater organic reach for that content beyond what they have paid for, provided it performs well.
What does that mean?
Facebook wants to show its users the good stuff. Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm favours those stories that generate engagement, regardless of whether the initial story was paid to be promoted or not.
If you pay to promote a post and people engage with that post by liking, commenting or sharing it, then more people will see your content organically as a result of this activity and you won’t have to pay a cent for that. However, had you not paid for that content to be promoted in the first place, then that subsequent organic activity would never have occurred.

2. You Can Still Post Promotional Posts Without Paying

Yes, blatant calls to action will now receive low organic reach.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still gain some organic reach for content where there is a promotional objective. It just means that you need to ditch the hard sell and be more creative in the way that you encourage people to take action without sounding all “salesy”.
The key is to include context around what you are promoting and write in a way that is native to how people converse with their friends on Facebook.
I love this example by Lorna Jane:

Another subtle call-to-actions would be:

The number one enquiry I receive on a daily basis is “Which USB microphone is best for podcasting”. That’s why I put together this handy reference chart on the pros and cons of each of the leading USB microphones for podcasting. {Insert link}

This post could lead to an opt-in page to receive the reference chart and/or have direct links from within the chart to either purchase the various microphones in your store or via an affiliate link of yours.
Here’s another example:

Spring is in the air and we have been doing a bit of spring cleaning ourselves. We have just updated our website and it’s out with the old and in with the new. Swing on over to our place and have a look. {Insert link}

Notice how the words “download”, “subscribe” or “buy now” do not appear in any of the above copy. Whilst Facebook hasn’t said that any words are taboo, I think we can all safely assume that any terminology that Facebook uses on their own call-to-action buttons in their paid ads would have to be considered “promotional” in nature and therefore should be avoided on those posts that you are not paying to promote.
If you want to use overly promotional terminology like this, then you can. You just have to pay to promote it.
Remember that you should be using Facebook to share stories in the context of the needs of your audience and to generate leads. Your more overt promotional messages and details on pricing should be reserved for your email marketing and the landing pages you send people to on your website, which is where you will ultimately make the sale.

3. Post Quality Visually Attractive Content

 picture tells a thousand wordsA picture tells a thousand words. As such, you can use visual content to tell your business story and connect with your fans.
Fans respond really well to quality visually attractive content. The more unique, the better.
This might be inspirational quotes, how-to tips, behind the scenes photos of your business or videos.
When creating blog posts, its important to include striking visuals that can accompany your blog posts when being social shared by your business or others. When sharing link posts, allow Facebook to auto-generate the image to accompany the post and change the image if you have a more appropriate visually attractive image.

4. You Should Produce More Video & Post It Directly To Facebook

The organic visibility of content in the newsfeed may be decreasing, but it’s not all bad news. Facebook is trying to offset this by making Facebook Pages more of a destination that business link to and people voluntarily visit. Videos are playing a big part in this shift by having a much greater prominence on Pages.
Pages can now select a featured video to display on their Page, as well as make playlists in a similar fashion to how you do on YouTube.
Facebook’s algorithm has also made more room for video in the newsfeed, which means an increase in video views as videos now auto-play in the newsfeed. Businesses can benefit from these changes by producing more videos and posting them directly to Facebook.
This doesn’t mean ditching YouTube if that is already working for you, but instead taking the extra step of uploading your videos to Facebook as well rather than just sharing the link to YouTube.

5. Post Quality Over Quantity

Facebook is giving newsfeed priority to content that users want to receive. So it’s your job to find out what your audience wants and give it to them. For the best long-term success, focus on solving their problems rather than pushing them to do what you want them to do.
Posting a minimum of once a day is a good strategy to ensure that you maintain visibility and reach a significant proportion of your fan base each week. If posting quality content once a day (or even less frequently) is all you have the capacity for, then that is better than posting any old rubbish just to fill a slot.

Quality tumps quantity

In order to achieve this, you need to put thought into the content you post. This means creating and sourcing relevant, high quality content that is useful to your target audience. This is best achieved by planning and developing the majority your content in advance and scheduling it so that it is delivered at the optimal time to achieve your desired objective. You can then supplement these posts with more timely “live” posts as appropriate, rearranging scheduled posts if necessary to make way for fresher content.
One of your objective should be to empower and activate your fans and employees to be advocates for your content. This will build organic reach, as well as add social proof to the quality of your content.
This will only be achieved if you posting quality content.

6. Expose The Personalities Behind Your Business

Give your fans a peak behind the scenes and expose the personalities that drive your business.
Allow your fans to connect with the people in your business by sharing pictures and stories about your staff members. People are more likely to do business with people they know, like and trust, so use Facebook as a tool to expedite that process.
This activity is native to what people expect on Facebook and how they like to interact on the platform, so you will generate greater engagement as a result.

7. Use Facebook For Lead Generation

The decreased organic reach of content shared by Pages, makes the need for converting your Fans into subscribers and leads more important than ever before so that you have another way of communicating with your audience that is not subject to Facebook’s algorithm.
Creating useful resources that have a high perceived value for your fans to download for free in exchange for an email address is a great way to convert Facebook fans into subscribers and generate leads for your business.
Some examples of lead generation opt-in resources are:

  • eBook or white paper
  • Training video or a series of training videos
  • Email training course
  • Webinar
  • Infographic
  • Product demo
  • Audio-recording
  • Phone consultation
  • Or something else appropriate to your business

Useful resources such as these can also help you build trust and credibility with your fans, whilst at the same time positioning you or your business as an authority in your niche.
Once your fans opt-in to become subscribers, you should use email marketing to continue to add value and nurture your subscribers, with the long-term objective of converting them into customers.

8. Include A Call-To-Action Buttons On Your Page

Facebook is rolling out call-to-action buttons on Pages (if you don’t have it yet, wait, it’s coming).
The button appear in the bottom right hand corner of the cover image and can link to anywhere online that you’d like to drive traffic to.
How to use Facebook for business 2015 - Call-to-action button
You can choose the appropriate call-to-action from the following options based on your desired objective:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Use App
  • Play Game
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video

You should design your cover image to compliment and attract attention to your call-to-action button.
You can also change your call-to-action from time to time as appropriate with your lead generation and/or sales objectives. However, if you do this, remember to update your cover image to reflect the new objective.

9. Use The Power Of Groups

People are using Facebook differently these days and as a result, Groups are playing a much bigger role.
Setting up a Facebook Group for your business can provide your business you with the following benefits:

  • Increase engagement and allow you to develop deeper relationships with a targeted audience by providing a private/public space to engage
  • Enable a space for communication and/or collaboration as individuals
  • Provide an additional service within your business offerings, e.g.:
    • Member’s only group
    • Networking group
    • Niche-focused group
  • Help with positioning yourself as an authority and person of influence
  • Assist with increasing conversions (i.e. leads and sales)

If you don’t already have a Facebook group as part of your social media strategy, now is the time to revisit this.

10. You Need To Analyse YOUR Results

Use your Facebook Page insights to inform you of what works and what doesn’t on YOUR Page. Consider:

  • When your is audience online
  • Which type of posts (or content) performs best
  • Which of the activities you are undertaking are best growing your fan base

Use your own data to inform you of what works and what doesn’t for your page rather than blindly following what other people say is “the best time to post” and other sweeping statements like this, as every Page has a unique audience of demographics, interests and behaviours and will therefore have different results.
Analyse what’s working and strategically focus on producing more of that. Then ditch what isn’t assisting you in achieving your overall business goals.
Most importantly, you need to use this information to refresh your social media strategy to ensure that it is both aligned with your overall business objectives, as well as what you can reasonably expect to achieve from Facebook under these new rules of engagement.
Do you have any further tips as to how businesses should be using Facebook in 2015? If so, please share them with us in the comments below.