Use of Facebook pages for small businesses can be a bit of a mystery – or at least a confusing. Many Seattle businesses just throw in the towel and settle for more “Like’s” as their success or growth measurement on Facebook. They don’t know how do get in front of more fans, and they don’t know how to increase engagement from the fans they have.

The new EdgeRank algorithm that Facebook introduced last September only aggravated this frustration. The new algorithm inspired a flurry of articles and blog posts on how to deal with the sudden decrease in visibility of a Page’s organic posts (estimated at 5 to 40%, although some pages experienced as much as an 83% decrease). We even posted about Facebook marketing tips for small businesses and why you should promote your page and posts.

But Facebook use for social marketing is still an enigmatic art, requiring extensive expertise and strategy for a lot of small businesses – something they don’t have the time or know-how to successfully use to their advantage. We’d like to change that a little bit, and so we’ve boiled it down to some simple tips for using Facebook:

  1. Post often, but not too often: Based on Facebook’s algorithm, they’re trying to cut down on “spammers” – limiting the number of posts from any one Page to its fans. In that vein, it’s more valuable to limit your posts to 1-2 per day, instead of barraging your audience with much more. That being said, however, you should make sure to post at least once or twice per week – three or more being optimal. You want to stay in front of your fans, but not overwhelm them.
  2. Content is number-one: In order of value as far as Facebook’s new algorithm is concerned, your posts should include a (1) video, (2) photo, (3) link, (4) text only. Obviously, text and links can be used in tandem with videos and photos, but images or clips from YouTube will get you a lot more visibility in your fans’ newsfeeds than just plain text. Make it a goal for every post that you put up to at least include a picture of something you’re talking about.
  3. Timing should be considered: When is it best to post on your Facebook page? Whenever more of your fans are on Facebook, of course! We’ve found for many of our clients (restaurants) that an optimal time is mid-late afternoon – especially the window between 3-5 p.m. That’s when the nine-to-fivers are winding down from the day and thinking about their plans for that weekend or that evening. If your business is in retail, a café, spa/salon, or corporate business, the morning time might be better for posting, since that’s when your audience is online and planning their day.

Those are the big kickers when it comes to getting the most from your Facebook page. Some other tips we suggest are occasionally promoting your Page – see image at right for how to do this – or promote a post (for an event, special, etc.), tagging other pages or communities on Facebook by ‘@’ tagging them, and finally by using Facebook as your page, ‘like’ other pages in your industry, neighborhood, or city, and comment and interact with them. You’ll get in front of more people – Facebookers who aren’t even your fans (yet), and gain a good rep within your community.

With Facebook, it’s all about sharing the love – after you’ve got a good, strong Facebook page of course!

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