SEVEN WAYS TO START ON FACEBOOK
So, now that you know the what and the why, here are the seven best moves to help you get started on Facebook:
1. Create a Facebook Page for Your Business – Nowadays, when people go to check out a business, one of the first places they visit is Facebook. Believe it or not, if you don't have a page established, it causes your business to lose credibility.
One of the biggest questions advisors have when it comes to social media and Facebook in particular is how to draw the line between business and personal. When it comes to Facebook, there are actually two types of accounts: Facebook profiles and Facebook pages. So, what's the difference between the two and how can you utilize them?
Think of Facebook like a giant shopping mall with more than 1 billion people. You, as an individual, are represented by a profile, while your page is your business' storefront in this mall. Let's face it: Your clients are there, your friends and family are there, and your business needs to be there as well.
Pages allow you to keep your business and personal life separate inside the Facebook realm, because your profile and your business' page are two completely different entities. Someone who “likes” your page doesn't gain access to your profile, and anything that you post to your personal profile doesn't get updated to all the followers of your business. Facebook also provides in-depth privacy options for personal pages, so you can control exactly what friends and the public (your future customers) can see. This setup gives users the separation they want between their personal lives and their business lives on Facebook by giving them the best of both worlds. See Figure 13.1.
2. Establish Your Brand – Brand consistency is extremely important, especially when you're dealing with multiple social networks. Graphics, colors, voice, verbiage, and overall feel should be parallel across all online channels. Just think: Who are you? What do you stand for? What makes you different from every other advisor out there? What message do you want to be sending to your clients and prospects?
Also, make sure that you fill in all the key areas, as a complete profile increases your searchability. Here are some tips on how to flesh out your page and keep your brand current:
■ Keep Company Info Updated – You want to be sure all of the information on your profile is up to date. You can view this information in the About section. Your About section is indexed by search engines, such as Google and Bing, and it's also indexed by Facebook for Graph Search. Are your keywords included in both the Short and Long Descriptions? Have you filled in Dates, Awards, Mission, and Products? Are all of your website links correctly displayed? This is a great time to freshen up this information and be sure it is complete. Also, don't forget to add in your location; it will show up on an integrated map feature of Facebook.
■ Utilize Visual Space – Visuals are very important in our fast-paced world. Make sure your visuals can pass the two-second rule. (Convey a message in the blink of an eye.)
■ The Timeline Cover Photo is the first thing people will see. We recommend changing it regularly to keep things interesting. While you cannot have it directly link to an external page, you can add a link in the description of the image. Use this space to announce special opportunities or events.
FIGURE 13.1 Facebook Profile and Page
■ Your Profile Image is the image that will show up next to all of your posts and represent your company. Make sure it is similar to your Cover Photo and fits well in the space. Consider using a company logo or a headshot of someone representing the face of the company. See Figure 13.2.
■ Always Be Aware of New Features – As with all technology, Facebook is constantly changing, and it will continue to evolve quickly.
FIGURE 13.2 Facebook's Cover and Profile Photo
Generally, the updates are for the benefit of the user, so pay attention because there are probably ways you can simplify or improve your marketing with each of these. For example, in late 2013, Facebook added a Pages to Watch section to your Business Page. This allows you to stay on top of marketing efforts by competitors and industry leaders, and possibly replicate tactics that are successful in connecting with your shared audience. See Figure 13.3.
3. Determine your Audience and Connect With Them – In order to promote your brand to the right people, you need to determine who your audience is. Think of the 80/20 rule. What 20 percent of your clients make up 80 percent of your business? What do they have in common? What are their ages, occupations, genders, hobbies, and so on? What are they already buying? What value can you offer them? What is their online behavior and tone? How do they like to be engaged? If you don't know to
FIGURE 13.3 Facebook's New Feature–Pages to Watch
whom you are talking, you won't know what to say. You want your message to be relevant every time you post, share, and comment.
4. Build Your Audience – Now that you have your foundations in place, you can begin the best part: building your audience. There's really nothing better than seeing the notification when someone “likes” your page. (Someone who “likes” your Facebook page isn't necessarily putting the advisor in a compliance bind as long as it isn't deemed to be commenting on what the advisor has done for that person. See Chapter 10.) Here are some ways to boost your following:
■ Cross-promote across networks – This is such a simple and beneficial practice. If you acquire a following on Twitter or LinkedIn (or even if you're just beginning), ask your community to check out and like your Facebook page, too.
■ Widgets – Widgets are those cool pictures you can embed on your website, blog, and newsletters that prompt people to “like” you or visit your Facebook page. You can access these directly from your Facebook page. See Figure 13.4.
■ Invite your Facebook friends – You have the option to invite all of your personal friends to “like” your business page. This is an effective kick-starter for getting more fans.
■ Import contact lists – Facebook provides you with an option to import contacts from a spreadsheet and connect with individuals based on their e-mail address. This is a great way to kick-start your fan base: by connecting with those who are already clients and contacts.
■ Use Facebook Ads – Facebook Ads are a useful feature on Facebook. For a minimal price, you can develop advertisements that target specific audiences, such as 50 to 65 year-old males who like golf that live in Wausau, Wisconsin or 50-plus single women who may be recently divorced or widowed. With Facebook Ads, businesses typically have a logo and a call to action, such as “Tike” us or “Download our free investment guide.” You also have the option to pay per click or pay per impression. See Figure 13.5.
5. Get Creative with Your Content – Driving engagement is one of the keys to success on Facebook, especially since Facebook ranks businesses differently than personal pages. Getting likes, shares, and comments has never been so important to your organic reach. But in order to effectively do this, you need to continually share compelling content that piques and demands the interest of your audience. Here are some ideas:
FIGURE 13.4 Use Widgets to Build Audience
FIGURE 13.5 Facebook Ad Example
■ Post Blogs – So you just posted a blog post, 10 Interesting Facts about Long-Term Care. Post this content to your Facebook wall with an engaging question: “What surprises you most about long-term care?”
■ Share Articles by Others – Think of yourself as the Content DJ filtering through the barrage of content available online and sharing only the best and most relevant articles for your audience.
■ Ask Questions – This goes back to Dale Carnegie's advice to “become genuinely interested in the other person.” Asking questions drives engagement and shows that you're interested. They can be related to your industry or more generalized. Here are some examples:
■ What is your greatest financial concern?
■ What are you doing for Labor Day?
■ Where do you want to retire?
■ Create Events – Do you have an upcoming seminar, client appreciation event, or speaking engagement? Facebook is the perfect place to create events and promote them to your networks. Consider posting info about the event before, during, and after it's complete. Take pictures and videos, post them after the event, and direct attendees to your Facebook page. People love seeing pictures of themselves, so this is a great way to drive traffic and foster engagement on your page. See Figure 13.6.
■ Create Themes – Create reoccurring weekly themes like “Trivia Tuesday” or “Throwback Thursday.” For example, SEI Advisors uses “Whiteboard Wednesdays” to position their employees as subject matter experts while providing valuable information to their audience. See Figure 13.7.
■ Videos – We'll delve a little deeper into video in the YouTube chapter, but it's a great idea to post relevant, timely, and interesting videos on your page. Remember the four umbrella goals of empowering, educating, entertaining, and engaging.
■ Polls – Is there a hot topic that your audience is buzzing about? Create a poll to get their feedback.
■ Quotes – People love quotes. Create a library of interesting quotes to sprinkle into your posting schedule.
■ Comments – Ask fans to comment. Instead of simply posting an article, post the article and say, “Do you agree? Comment below and let us know what you think.”
■ Use Fill-in-the-Blank Posts – Fill-in-the-blank posts are great ways to drive engagement. Provide part of a sentence that your audience would be interested in and watch the comments and interaction come in.
■ Example: “For the holiday weekend I'd like to __________________.”
FIGURE 13.6 Facebook Event Page
■ Encourage Check-Ins at Your Location – When people check-in at your business, all of their friends see it. This is another great way to drive engagement and increase brand visibility.
6. Stay Active – You don't want your page to turn into a ghost town. Think of what a ghost town is: vacant buildings, weeds, broken windows, and abandoned sheds. Not only are they creepy, but they're extremely unattractive. I'm willing to bet that you've never sought to re-visit any ghost town you've ever been to, right? Idle Facebook pages are just as unattractive as ghost towns. To be perfectly honest, they scream, “I don't care!” Is that the message you want to send to thousands of people?
If you invested in a billboard, you wouldn't want it to be outdated or blank. The same rules apply here. Be diligent and consistent with posting and engaging. And remember: It's better to have no Facebook page at all than an abandoned, unused Facebook page with outdated or incomplete information.
7. Be Patient – The Facebook world won't stop in its tracks once your business page is up and running. There are millions of businesses
FIGURE 13.7 Recurring Weekly Themes on Facebook
competing for your audience's attention, and you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd. There are several steps you must take to be successful: set goals, organize and plan, and then define success and establish key performance indicators. Keep in mind that it takes about six months to start seeing results, so strive to remain persistent and optimistic.
As you can see, Facebook is the social network you must be on. It's the network where everyone in the world has a presence, in both their personal and professional lives. Start developing your page and use these tactics to increase brand awareness, foster deeper connections with your clients and community, and ultimately build a greater presence across all of your social networks.