Digital marketing expert Adam Stewart loves working with small businesses. His client list at Digital Bond Marketing includes gyms, restaurants, startups, e-commerce sites and listed companies, and he knows that tiny changes make huge impacts. That includes impacts from social media, and, in particular, Facebook. But, the Melbourne-based consultant warns it takes time, effort and consistency to see results from a Facebook Business Page. “Unless you’re running paid ads, which can get traction overnight, or you have experience or a team producing lots of content, it can take six months.” Here, Stewart explains how to create a Facebook Business Page, how it could work for you, and why you need to think of it as a long-haul game. 

Do I Need a Facebook Business Page?

 Every business should create a Facebook Business Page to make it easier for their customers to find them.

I really do think every business should have a Facebook Business Page. Facebook is a huge search engine for customers who want to find businesses in their area. People mostly don’t call businesses anymore, and clicking on Facebook Messenger is easier than using email. I recommend even B2Bs (business-to-business companies) have a Facebook Business Page. It’s free advertising. Behind-the-scenes videos and photos help people see your business’s culture; people see that you look great to do business with; talent see you’re somewhere they’d like to work. 

What Is the First Step to Creating a Facebook Business Page?

Sign up and add your logo as the profile image and a branded image as the cover photo; this is how people recognise it’s your business straight away. Stock photos can work but be selective; original photos perform better because they're authentic. Create your username – usually your business’s name – then add your business information including address, phone number, contact email and business hours. Write your “about us” business story that explains what you do and how the business got started. Now you’re ready to start posting.

Should I Just Switch My Personal Facebook Page to a Business Page?

Probably not. Sometimes people – a musician or fitness trainer, for example are the business, but in that case, they would create a Business Page from that. They could still keep a personal page for interacting with family and friends. Facebook doesn't want you to use personal pages for business because personal pages have far more reach and Facebook wants ad revenue (i.e. it wants you to pay to reach potential customers). You can leverage personal pages by sharing business page posts there, and perhaps also ask employees to share on their personal pages.

What Key Features Should I Be Using?

Set aside two hours a month to schedule posts for your Facebook Business Page.

Facebook’s scheduling tools. If your team takes lots of photos, you could put aside two hours a month to schedule three posts a week to go across Facebook and Instagram. There’s also an area within your business page called page insights where you can see your page views, page likes, post reach, engagement and followers, along with how you compare to competitors. Facebook will encourage you to ‘boost’ posts, but I don't recommend that, because there are better ways to target potential customers.

Do You Recommend Paid Advertising on Facebook?

Yes. The ability to target people within a kilometre of your business, particularly in lockdown periods, is especially valuable. Set up a business manager account and within it you can target a lot of different audiences. Say you have all these people within a five-kilometre radius that you know are coming to your cafe and interacting with your posts, Facebook can create a lookalike audience of those customers based on age, interests and shopping behaviours.

SEE ALSO: Ask an Expert: The Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

Is My Facebook Business Page Linked to Instagram?

Not automatically. That's something you have to do yourself in the Business Page settings. It's a very simple process and a great feature because you only have to post once and it will go to both platforms.

Do Customers Dislike Duplication?

If you drill down, Instagram is more visual, while story-based, how-we-started, long-form content works well on Facebook, but most posts work pretty well across both platforms. Companies get it wrong when they post the same thing on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and TikTok; those platforms all have very different audiences.

How Personal Should My Content Be?

When you create a Facebook Business Page remember that people respond to personal content.

Personal content resonates: people want to be your customers when they see what your business is about, what your staff are about. I find raw videos shot on a phone convert better because people see through fake stuff and just scroll through professionally shot paid ads. Even if you don’t have a budget, there are many people willing to post for an incentive or a discount. That could be a mum who has 100 followers on Instagram. If you get 20 of those, that's going to convert so much better than even a celebrity influencer with 10,000, because their following isn't as engaged as the mum’s.

How Do I Get More People to See My Page and My Content?

If you run ads, you're paying to get in front of more people. But there are other ways. After you've been doing it awhile, you see which posts perform well, and you can recycle those or post something similar. If a post gets engagement within the first hour or two, Facebook will promote it to even more people. Also, watch what competing pages are doing – for inspiration or to do it better than them – and go to pages from your local area and reply to comments about neighbourhood issues. You’re adding to the conversation and again, it’s free advertising.

SEE ALSO: 6 Ways to Supercharge Your Social Media

Is There Anything to Watch Out For?

Facebook can be ruthless regarding compliance. Understand what you can and can't do. For example, Facebook doesn't allow ‘before and after’ pictures, because those can be faked, and has a policy against ads that mention COVID-19. It’s like a demerit system; keep doing it and Facebook will ban your account.

HOT TIP: Check Facebook’s Community Standards Page to learn more about guidelines and policies 

Anything Else Small Business Owners Should Do?

When you create a Facebook Business Page, also set up Google Analytics to track the clicks coming to your page.

Monitor what you're doing. If you're running ads that go to a website, make sure you’ve set up Google Analytics, which has a free version, so you're able to track the clicks coming to your page and ensure you're getting a return on your investment. Also, vet digital marketers or agencies that want to manage your ads because there are a lot of dodgy operators. Ask: Can you show me results you got in the past? How will you report what you're doing? And who exactly will be running my ads? Some companies outsource overseas, which can mean the grammar, spelling or slang is wrong [for your region]. If you're not spending much on Facebook ads, don't spend much on managing them because it's not worth it.