Facebook

Facebook page mini-audit checklist

Whether you’ve just set up your brand new Facebook business page, or you’ve had your page for a while now, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s set up properly and functioning as optimally as possible. Use this checklist like a mini-audit and rest assured that you’re giving all your hard work the best opportunity to be seen and to flourish.

1. Does your page have it’s vanity URL, or is it using a yukky generic one with lots of numbers and other garbage on the end?

Yes, this is just a vanity thing, but it’s nice to have a Facebook URL that’s clean so it’s easy for people to find you and also because it looks much more professional when you use the link in other places like email or other social networks.

If you’ve got the ugly URL thing happening, go to https://www.facebook.com/username to change it and claim your business name.


2. Have a really great cover photo.

Take some time and get this right.
First of all, the size for a cover photo is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall. Now you also need to remember that your profile pic sits on top of your cover so plan for this and make sure it’s not covering something important. Also, your cover image will be cropped a bit on mobile devices, so allow for this. Pepper Street Social’s Facebook cover is cropped on mobile and as I still haven’t fixed it, it’s a good example of what I’m talking about. So to avoid this, keep text and images inside 144px from the left and the right of the cover.

 

Image courtesy of http://andrewhubbard.co/complete-2016-guide-facebook-image-sizes/

Use imagery that represents your brand, is interesting to look at and good quality. It’s a good idea to use images that are the same or similar to ones on your website - you want your brand consistently respresented so that people can easily recognise it.

Also, did you know you can add a description and other text to your cover photo? Use this section to include your tagline and links to website and other social networks so that when people hover over the photo, more about you without any effort on their behalf.

3. Make sure your profile picture is the right size and legible.
It should be 180 x 180px and it will display at 160 x 160.


4. Fill in your About tab well.

Here is an opportunity to describe what you do so be clear and concise and not vague or waffly. You can also use links in here so you should add a link to your website and your other social network profile links.

5. Using keywords in all descriptive sections allows Google to find you more easily.

Fill in all of the other areas such as Mission etc, don’t leave them blank. You should write good copy that is enjoyable to read, but in which you have incorporated keywords relevant to your industry, product or service.


6. Is there consistency in the timing of your posts?
In other words, don't post 20 things in 20 minutes & then disappear for 3 weeks. However much or however little you can handle on a daily basis, do it well & do it consistently. It makes a massive difference. (Using a content calendar, it needn’t be complex or fancy, can help a lot with planning and consistency).

7. Are your posts quality content?

In other words, don't post crap, put *some* effort in - this is your brand. It's important. Be mindful.

Photos and videos do really well on Facebook because they’re visually appealing … as long as they’re, well, visually appealing. Again, take some time to find images that are good quality and interesting. Photos and video seem to get more likes, comments and shares, but simple text posts might get better reach. Either way, it should all the be best quality you’re capable of producing.

8. Does the page have personality?

Too often business pages make the mistake of being too ‘businessy’, too salesy and show too much of their product. Don’t do this - it’s boring!

Put yourself into what you do. YOU are unique: you're both interesting and hard to duplicate whereas, hate to say, but your products & services are not. Without personality, they're just stuff. YOU make your stuff stand out.

Mix it up and try things out - find ways of expressing personality that are consistent with your brand. Have fun, show people you’re a real person or people - that’s much more engaging that just talking about your stuff all the time.

9. Does the page allow fans to message you?

Not sure about this? Well it’s a personal choice, but there’s a lot to be said for allowing people to connect with you privately. If that’s not an available option, they just might not engage at all … and they’ll likely find someone else doing what you do who allows them to do that. Customers who engage personally are more likely to become long-term customers.

You can switch messages on in page settings.

9. Does your page respond to your fans?
When people take the time to comment or ask questions on your page, there’s no excuse for not replying - please make sure you do. The ability to interact is the whole point of social media - it’s social, not a billboard!


10. Tag other pages
This is a good way to expose your brand and build awareness within your industry. Tag people and other pages in context with what you’re posting and talking about. You might want to highlight their page and share some of their content with your fans as a way of networking and building relationships
 

You can tag someone or a page by using the @ before their name or the name of their page and Facebook will make it a live link. If the page is not recognised by using the @ symbol, you may need to Like that page personally and as your page first. Also, make sure you enable people and other pages to tag your page in Settings.

11. Pin your best and most timely posts to the top
Clicking on the grey arrow in the top right of your post shows some options including Pin Post. This option just pins that post to the top of the newsfeed so that anyone visiting your page will see that post first without having to scroll through the feed.


12. Does your page use milestones?
Milestones are another way to show the personality and ‘realness’ of your brand and business by taking your fans on the journey with you. You can use milestones to mark opening your doors for business for the first time, for hosting events, winning awards - the list goes on. You can really engage your audience in your milestone sharing them to your personal timeline and asking your fans to do the same. People visiting your page can see Milestones in the About section.

13. Update your Featured Likes

When you Like other pages as your business page, Facebook will choose at random which of these will be displayed on your page under the ‘Like by this Page’ section. This is good for networking and showing your place in your industry, and you can also choose which ones are featured. Do this in Settings under ‘People and Other Pages’.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but I hope it gives you a quick run-down of things to check when you're getting started or when you haven't checked for a while.

If you'd like to know more, please comment here, or connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. Can't find something or get something to work? Let me know - I'd be so happy to help.

Andrea Kelly - Pepper Street Social
 

Why Facebook's a great place to start for a small business social media strategy

Whether you’re just starting out in business, or have been in business for a while and are just starting out on your social media marketing journey, Facebook is a great place to start.

From a social media perspective, Facebook is still the big daddy of social media - almost everyone you know and do business with has an account, and if not, then they’re at least going to be aware of Facebook. Not only does that mean it’s an easy place to start in terms of a platform you’re already somewhat familiar with, but you’re also likely to have a list of friends who can support you instantly. That coupled with Facebook’s massive user reach, means you have an incredible opportunity to achieve greater exposure for your business and reach more of your target market.

When you’re starting out in business, or wanting to grow your existing business, then your main objectives are going to be increasing your brand exposure, your brand awareness and, naturally, increasing your sales as a result.

Increasing your overall business exposure means that more people are seeing your brand and being exposed to your business. It’s why big brands advertise and use mass media tools like billboards - they want eyes on their brands. The more eyes on their brand, the more they can increase awareness and the more likely they are to reach their target.

Increasing your brand awareness means that your brand is being recognised by potential customers and clients AND that they make the correct associations about what it is you do and what you stand for. You need exposure to build awareness, but exposure alone is useless if there’s no awareness. No good having all that exposure if people think you’re a pet shop, when actually you’re a vet.

Facebook is a tool for achieving these goals by capitalising on their enormous audience, reach and utility in a way that’s in alignment with your brand and business vision, without an enormous advertising budget. And because Facebook is interactive, instead of just broadcasting a message, you can engage and interact with your audience - something billboards have never quite got the hang of. In every day terms, Facebook is a smarter billboard that lets you not only get your message out to a huge audience, but enables you to build a community as well. It’s been said that content is the new advertising and certainly in terms of social media, the interactive component is key. Now you can promote your business, look after your clients and customers, build your community, and increase your revenue, in a more efficient, scalable and wider-reaching way.

Engagement is key because that’s what’s going to build your community and building a community around your brand is where the exposure and awareness gets real and when people actually want to interact and be a part of what you do. Building a thriving community has always been important in business because it’s how we achieve loyalty (repeat customers) and brand advocates (our word-of-mouth brand evangelists). People expect more from the people and brands they give their loyalty to and in return, their advocacy of those brands will be greatly amplified due to our social media connectivity. That means that just as your brand is able to achieve greater exposure through social media, so can the word-of-mouth of the people who love what you do.

***I really need an info graphic right about here to illustrate the amplification effect that social media has on brand exposure, brand awareness and word-of-mouth advocates … I’ll get onto that and post it separately in the next couple of days***

A solid Facebook marketing plan is a great place to start, but don’t be fooled - it’s a long-term investment that requires a decent commitment of time and energy to reap sustainable results in the future. If you’re expecting thousands of likes and follows in a matter of weeks with little more effort than what’s required to set up the page itself, you’ve been mislead. Building a loyal and thriving community takes time and there are very few shortcuts that deliver any meaningful outcomes.

Black hat tactics such as buying likes and followers are not sustainable, they don’t deliver good business outcomes and can be extremely damaging to your brand in the long run. It’s human nature, or rather, our collective social media training reflects our human nature to view the number of likes and followers a page, business or person as an indication of popularity, authority and success. Of course likes and followers are one form of social proof, but what does it really mean? The truth is that having thousands of likes and follows probably will influence people’s perception of your brand or business online, but does that justify paying for fake ones? Maybe it does, maybe not. That’s your call, but just remember that at the end of the day it’s your real relationships with real people that make your business a success or not. You can’t engage fake likes, you can’t have a relationship with them, they won’t tell their friends about you and they certainly won’t buy your products or services.

Building a genuine, thriving community that will increase the exposure, brand awareness and loyalty around your business is only made possible by leading with generosity, nurturing your community and delivering outstanding value to your existing and potential clients and customers. The tools have changed and a greater reach may be easier to achieve, but people haven’t changed. The reason a successful Facebook presence takes time to cultivate and to see real results that convert to revenue is because it’s about people and relationships - those things, the real deal, take time, just like as they do in *real* life. Facebook is an amazing tool that can give you access to many people, but how you treat them and cultivate your relationships with them is up to you and that’s always been the same.

Go pro - plan your social media content for better quality and engagement

Ok so it may seem a little counter intuitive to plan out your social media content. I mean after all, we want authenticity, we want your real personality to shine through and we want to respond and engage with our audience. Spontaneity kind of comes to mind in that context, right? So why does planning your social content contribute to achieving all that and more?

Here’s why;

Consistency

If content is king, then consistency is queen. You need to achieve consistency both in terms of the content itself and in terms of when and where you post.

Yes, consistency is an absolute priority. The way you write, the kinds of things you post and share, your tone, images and themes need to be consistent with who you are and with your brand. Consistency of message deepens brand awareness and consistency in when and where you show up with that message is critical in your audience learning to trust and engage with you. Quite simply, a plan takes care of what you’re posting and when you’re posting it so your audience can rely on you.

 

Quality

Planning as a form of quality control means that you have the opportunity and are more likely to create content ahead of time. This means that instead of either just trying to pump something out to a deadline without proper attention to quality and detail, or going the other way and posting periodically and haphazardly, you can properly create and review drafts in advance of when you want to post it. It also means that because you know that post or group of themed posts is coming up, you can start researching your piece in more depth to make sure it’s accurate and highly relevant.

 

Flexibility

Planning gives you more flexibility, not less. By following a plan and seeing how you put things together, you’re also able to respond and tweak them much more easily. For example, you may have scheduled 2 inspirational quotes per week, but have noticed that they get a lot of likes, comments and shares. You can then easily review your plan and change inspirational quotes up to a daily post. This is much harder to do without a plan as the blueprint.

 

Themes

This is related to consistency and quality in that having a plan enables you to see the overall flow of your content so you can make sure it has flow and makes logical sense. A plan will show you that spending a week talking about and sharing content on a particular topic is the perfect pre-cursor for a related, more in-depth discussion the following week. It also helps you plan the right proportions of different types of content within the context of an overarching topic. This not only allows you to get into the groove of that theme and produce better work, but it’s more logical and enjoyable for your audience to consume.

 

Efficiency

When you plan, you can batch. That means that instead of spending time all over the place preparing and posting your content, you can create a whole heap of posts in one sitting so then all there is to do is post them. This is good for time efficiency, but it’s also good for getting in the zone and being consistent with your tone and your theme. When you can sit down and create a whole week’s worth of posts, you can often achieve a really good flow, which not only makes it more enjoyable, but often allows you to create better quality work. Plus, if you batch your posts, you can also then use a content scheduler to publish them at whatever time you choose. Many platforms, like Facebook, have this function built-in, but you can also use additional products to post across platforms … but that’s another topic for another day!

 

Curation

You’ll often find that you want to link to someone else’s work, or share examples from others about your topic and planning allows you to do a better job of it. You can spend proper time researching and curating supporting articles and other sharable content to support your own ahead of time rather than flying by the seat of your pants and scrambling to find a piece, any piece, that supports your theme.

 

Engagement

By using planning to leverage the above benefits, you’ll not only see more engagement from your audience, but you’ll have more time to spend engaging with them and responding to their comments.

 

Your content plan can be as fancy or as simple as you’d like it to be or have time to make it, but the main thing is that it gives you that bird’s eye view to create and share content that’s valuable to your audience, consistently. Take some time to map out just one week’s worth of content today - give it a go and see what a difference it makes and how it ups your game.

How serving your audience on social media earns trust and engagement

Approaching your social media activities in a way that seeks to serve rather than broadcast, share rather than sell and give rather than gain is what fosters connection, trust and engagement. People are using the internet, and social media in particular, to seek out their tribes, to find the places they belong, have the conversations they want to have, learn about the things that interest them and support the causes that mean something to them. For the most part, we’re ‘over’ being sold to and have learnt to tune out. We’re hard-wired to connect and belong and we’re using that instinct to filter out the noise. Being of value to your audience through serving them is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s the currency of the day.

So how exactly can you serve your audience?
Here are a few suggestions to get your own ideas flowing;

Educate
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, there's always an opportunity to educate your audience about the things you know about. It doesn’t have to be, and probably shouldn’t be specifically about your product, but informative pieces relevant to an industry and related to your products and business can be very valuable and engaging.

Here’s a great example of an engaging educative post ...

Ask their opinion
There are lots of different ways you can serve your audience and the better you know them, the better you can serve them. But did you know that getting to know them is a form of serving them? Not only do people love to share their thoughts and opinions, but their answers will make it easier for you to serve them better in the future. Win, win.

Pat Flynn does this really well in this example ...

Industry news
Sharing news about the industry you’re in can also be a great way to foster engagement if a broader context is of value to your audience. A good example of this is for tech companies where broader trends are useful to keep up with, but again, it can work for all industries.

Customer stories
Making your audience the hero and showcasing your customers’ own stories could possibly be one the best ways to serve them. Remember, we’re all trying to find our tribes and feel like we belong. By telling your customers’ stories, you deepen your own brand story. Everyone wants to matter.

Inspire
Inspirational quotes are big on social media and the reason for this that again, people are seeking connection and belonging, and relevant quotes taps into that … and quotes go really well with beautiful images. Images rock on social media, we love them. Choose quotes that are relevant to your theme, to your customers’ journey and which are in alignment to your brand message.

Be personal
Offer a few personal posts that show your personality and remind your audience that you’re a real person. It’s often been said that people get the most engagement from their audience from their personal posts. It’s up to you how you do this, so just have a go and see what happens, see how you feel. Have fun, but stay professional and appropriate, of course!

Downloads, gifts and useful stuff
A great way to serve your audience is to give them things that you know they’ll find useful. Depending on your business, they could be things like templates and checklists to help them with something, maybe a how-to video, a free sample. Give without a hook, give what you know they’ll love.

There are so many things you can do to serve your audience, so I guess this is a good time to remind you not to be overwhelmed - you don’t have to do it all. The most important thing is that you nurture the mindset of serving your audience through social media, find some things you feel comfortable with and which fit your brand and your business, and do them well. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect and it should always be something you’re listening to and responding to. If you notice something’s working, or not working, increase or decrease it, make it better, ask the question - serve them! Being of value to your audience means making them the hero by educating them, inspiring them and listening to them.

Thank you for reading, and now that you’re ready to serve, your next step is to create a plan. Why? I’ll tell you all about that in tomorrow’s post.

Take care, serve hard.
Andrea

Resource credit: Thank you to Amy Porterfield for the images and guidance from her article, "Top 20 high engagement Facebook posts". You can download that article from http://www.amyporterfield.com/2015/02/48-2015-facebook-engagement/

Photo credit: PicMonkey.com

 

Connection as a mirror

My husband said to me this morning that he noticed I was checking my phone in the middle of the night and he wondered if that was really a healthy thing to be doing. I brushed it off. I wasn’t really checking it, it’s just that there was a notification and as I happened to be awake anyway, I quickly glanced at it to see what it was. This was the truth. But then he went on to say that he’d noticed I seemed to be pretty ‘connected’ a lot of the time and even our son had made a comment about mum and 'her phone'. A frown and furrowed brow from me. Hmmmm. I think you could be right, I said.

 

Although I felt a great deal of resistance to what he was saying, I knew that probably part of the reason I was resisting was because there was truth in it. The way I’d seen it was that my connection with people was important, I mean I have a blog about connection, of course it’s important! Especially when much of that connection centred around ‘important stuff’, and things I care a lot about, like my blog, my kids’ school and my role in the P&F, for example. But the truth is that I just like that stuff. I care about what I put out there and how I communicate with people about the things I care about. It’s my way of being connected to the things that matter to me, and this is a good thing … as long as it’s not to the exclusion of the other things I care about … like family.

 

My husband knows I like this stuff and I know I have his unwavering support - he’s my cheer squad, but he’s also my mirror. When he cared enough to point out something he could see I was probably missing, he was holding up the reflection of something I class as the most important thing, family and my role as a mother, and questioning whether I was renegotiating its priority without even knowing it. It’s easy to do with things we like, things we love and which we consider important. Time flies when you’re doing them, they creep into time meant for other things and they’re easy to justify, all without even knowing you’re doing it. Without even knowing you’re changing your priorities by your actions.

 

Balance and flow is important in life so we can somehow juggle our roles and responsibilities and manage our priorities. Part of achieving that flow means connecting with those special people in our lives who can hold the mirror up to the things we can’t see from our internal perspective. I can’t see a bit of parsley or a chia seed stuck in my tooth without a mirror, but the person I’m talking to probably can and they can, and hopefully do, kindly point out that it’s there despite the fact that I couldn’t detect it myself. It might be an uncomfortable moment and I bet I’d wish the stray bit didn’t lodge in the first place, but this resistance doesn’t change the fact that it’s there and now that I know about it, I have the opportunity to do something about it. So what am I going to do? Say it’s not a problem and leave it there???

 

It takes courage to hear and see what our mirrors are showing us sometimes and that’s usually because the mirror reflects something that’s different to the way we see ourselves. When my husband held that mirror up to me this morning, I felt a great deal of resistance because I pride myself on putting my family first - they’re the most important thing in the whole world to me. But what that mirror was showing me was that even though that priority is what I say and certainly what I believe, my actions could be telling a slightly different story. Ouch. And at the end of the day, it is our actions, what we do, that defines us.

 

I’m not proud to say that I needed this to be pointed out to me, but I’m willing to admit it and also glad to say I overcame that initial resistance and found the courage to look into that mirror truthfully. I’m glad I did because what I saw was a truth resistance could have blinded me to. I love writing and I love the groups I’m involved in and my roles in my communities - they bring me great joy and stimulation. I love to be involved and I love doing a job well. But my priority is my family and just because my interests feel good and are important, they’ll never top what matters most. Thankfully I was shown a mirror this morning that perhaps suggested a slightly different picture, or at least the potential to develop into a very different picture. The point is, I couldn’t see it myself, but someone close to me could and now I see more than if I was looking with my eyes only.

 

Make the time to do the things that are important to you, honour your priorities and commit to them fully. When you’re with that thing, or with that person, be with them fully, give them your whole attention. You can’t connect with people fully, you can’t get jobs done properly, neither can you feel the full benefit of the things that are really important to you unless you give them your best. Listen to your mirror holder-upperers, be brave enough to look and have the courage to see resistance as a sign of something you need to address.

 

And on that note, you may notice that this is a shorter post than usual. Well that’s no coincidence - I would love to write all day because I do love it, but have other priorities that also need my best attention ;-) 

Photo credit: Mirrors from Bhaktapur, Nepal, by Sukanto Debnath via Flickr

Connecting on Facebook isn't real connection

Ok so we've all heard it a million times, connecting with people via social media isn't 'real' connection, right? Well, yes that is right, we probably have all heard that before, but is it right? Are social media connections false connections? I would say yes, of course they’re false if they’re false. Unless the connection is ... real. 

 

Whether it's via Facebook, or in a supermarket, over dinner, via email, a game of golf, a telephone call, or text messages, whether the connection between people is real or not has less to do with the medium through which it's conducted and more to do with authentic engagement.

 

For a start, you can't connect with Facebook because Facebook's not a person. We connect with other people. It's a big part of what makes us human. Nothing new. And we 've always needed avenues to facilitate connection, which before technology even existed were all physical, face-to-face interactions, then encompassed written interactions, and eventually telephone interactions. 

 

So without technology you could pretty much talk directly to someone, or write to them, but does that mean that all interactions were 'real'? Real in the sense that they were genuine, authentic and honest engagement between two or more people. Not necessarily. I mean you can be as fake in real life as you can be over the phone, or in a letter, or email, or on Facebook, can't you? You can be dismissive, pompous, guarded, rude and pretentious on the phone, or over a meal, or a game of golf, and you don't even need a selfie to back it up. It's just that sometimes that's the way we are. We're human.

 

But the truth is that since technology has advanced to the point of endowing us with a plethora of tools and vehicles for connection, we're spoilt for choice. Connection is everywhere, on everything, available always and never switches off if you let it. We've got all the stuff we had before; there's still golf and phones (for talking), and letters and supermarkets and dinners and emails and all that, it's just that there's a whole lot more on top.

 

So you see, it's not that social media, or any other conduit for that matter, is not conducive to 'real' connection, it's just that we're still adapting to so many opportunities for connection being available. What this does is makes us 'connect', or be engaged in some form of social conduit constantly, because remember all the old ones still exist, but we've just got technology on top.

 

Always 'on' means we're not always engaging genuinely and authentically and when that happens, you don't have a 'real' connection. 'Real' connection doesn't have to be face to face, it doesn't have to be voice to voice or even one to one, it just has to achieve connection where two or more people are authentically engaged. You can achieve that on Facebook, just like you can achieve it over the phone or at the supermarket or by writing a book.

 

Social media is just another tool for human connection. Whether that connection is real or not depends on the humans participating in that engagement, not the conduit. Sure, we've never before been more overwhelmed and possibly overburdened by the opportunities for connection, but the quality of the connection itself still comes down to how human beings engage and communicate with one another.

 

You can make real and genuine connections on social media. It's all in the way you use it. For some people it's one of the only way they can make connections with people. Take people who are geographically isolated. Situationally isolated by illness or disability, either their own or otherwise. People who are shy or introverted. Who feel overwhelmed by physical interactions with others. So because they connect with others via social media, their connections aren't real? Ridiculous. I'm sure the the same was said about telephone conversations when they were first invented too, and you know what? Some people still believe it. And that's because your preference for connection is a matter of opinion, but the quality or the 'realness' of that connection depends on you and who you're connecting with, not the medium. Always has, always will.