Social media is an amazing tool for business owners and entrepreneurs to get themselves out there without a dedicated marketing team, but it can be hard to keep up with the intricacies of Zuckerberg's social platform if social media isn't your sole focus. We've already put together our top Facebook hacks for regular users — so here are our best tips for those who also have a business page to manage.
Use The 70/20/10 Rule
The 70/20/10 rule is a great way to get into the mindset of using your Facebook page properly. You shouldn't think of Facebook like an ad, think of it instead like a place where you can connect with your customers and even form a community. This is where the 70/20/10 rule comes in. 70 per cent of everything you post is original content, 20 per cent is shared content and 10 per cent is promotional. Of course, not every business can afford the time to create that much original content every day, but you should make sure that amount of content is something that's highly relevant and interesting to your audience.
You can schedule your 70 per cent in advance using Facebook's inbuilt scheduling system, though sharing content directly from other pages is more difficult — shares can't be scheduled like created content can. Instead, consider using Facebook's 'save' feature to save a whole collection of links for sharing that can easily be accessed on your saved posts page.
Check Your Page Roles
How many admins do you have on your page? Do they all need to be admins? If you need help running your page but don't want to give someone else full access to the page, you can assign page roles to control how much access they have.
Admin is the highest level of access and allows people to access everything you can access as page creator. Editor is the default page role for new people being added to the page. Editors can post content and send messages, create ads and view insights. Moderators can respond to and delete comments and messages, but can't create content for the page aside from ads. Advertisers can create ads and view insights. Analysts can view insights. Each role has its uses, but don't restrict access to your page moderators just because you can. Sometimes it helps to have people who are able to jump in on any level of Facebook management.
Is Your Page Formatted Nicely?
Facebook is always adding new ways for you to customise your page, and it's worthwhile to go through and check these every so often. The easier it is for people to access the relevant parts of your page, whether that's your videos, your photos or just your posts, the more engagement you'll see.
You can edit the tabs that sit under your cover photo (Timeline, About, etc) — and I would recommend shunting the 'Video' tab in instead of the 'Likes' tab that is there by default. Speaking of video, if you have a collection of interesting videos on your page then you should definitely pick one to be your featured video — this will sit at the top of your videos tab, and in the left bar on top of your contact details.
You can also rearrange this left sidebar, if you want to put your videos at the top, for example, or give pride of place to your customer's posts on the page. The more of Facebook's functions you use, the more boxes you'll likely have (such as one for events, for example). Note that you can't move the Info or About boxes, which are stuck to the top.
Facebook also now allows you to pin posts — so what are you waiting for? If you have an event or an important milestone coming up, don't hesitate to pin that to the top so that people are reminded of it whenever they visit your page. Make a pinned post look nice with a relevant image, or even a video.
Set A Preferred Page Audience
You've probably seen the ways Facebook can target a certain demographic when you pay to boost a post, but you can also do this for your whole page. In your settings tab is an option called "Preferred Page Audience", which includes parameters like age, gender, location, language and interests. "Anyone can find your Page, but we'll do our best to put it in front of the people who matter to you most," Facebook says.
Set Up Auto Moderation
Do you have a particularly unruly bunch of users on your Facebook page? Do you not have time to moderate your comments often? Facebook provides two ways to deal with this, both of which are found in your General settings tab — one is an automated 'profanity filter' which you can set to 'medium' or 'strong' settings, though it has little space for customisation.
If your business is a bit more relaxed and you don't mind people swearing (hopefully when they're just excited rather than angry) then you can use the 'auto moderation' tool to block specific words and phrases that may be problematic on your page. Any wall posts or comments containing these key words will be automatically hidden.
Are You Breaking Facebook's TOS?
Barely any of us read the terms of service when we tick the box to agree to them, but this can mean that you're unaware when your page is breaking Facebook's rules. If Facebook catches you breaking their TOS, they can remove your page (and with it a good chunk of your social media presence) without warning. Here are a few things that you could be doing that are against Facebook's Page terms:
Do You Own Your Cover Photo?
Social media platforms can often lead people to play fast and loose with copyright laws — but you could get your page taken down if you don't own the copyright to your cover photo. Even though it might be tempting to use that pretty image you found on Google for your cover (as many people do with personal profiles), you're best to stay away from anything you can't clearly claim rights to. Facebook's page guidelines also state that "Covers can't be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else's copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines."
Think Twice Before Hosting A Competition
Facebook has relaxed its rules regarding 'Wall promotions' or contests run over Facebook, but there are still a number of common types of Facebook contests that are actually against TOS. Facebook leaves it up to you to run your contest properly — which under Australian laws requires you to provide terms and conditions with a number of elements covered such as eligibility requirements and offer terms.
Promotions are also required by Facebook to include "A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant" and "Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook", but the most important part is that you're not allowed to use private Timelines to administer your contest — meaning you can't ask users to either share the post or tag a friend in order to enter.
Are You Making Spammy Posts?
As part of Facebook's continued quest to serve its users more relevant content, it's also training its machine learning algorithms to recognise particularly spammy posts, reducing their reach. While this factors on a number of different elements including the way users interact with your post, one of the biggest indicators Facebook uses to identify spam is a practice called 'like-baiting'. We've all seen this come up at one point on Facebook — "Like if you agree!" "Share if you like it!"
"It’s OK to encourage discussion about your posts’ content," Facebook says, "but you should avoid asking for likes or shares to get more distribution." In other words, it's onto you.
Let Your Customers Tell You What They Think
You can turn off the ability for users to post on your wall, or restrict what they can post (banning videos and photos, for example), or automatically hide all posts until you review them — but should you? In some cases, the ability for users to post on a page wall isn't useful, but for most businesses you will want to keep this feature enabled for transparency — through page posts, people can see the feedback other customers are giving to your business.
If you get bad feedback, do your best to respond to it in a gracious way and provide a resolution for your unhappy customer, as having this kind of conversation publicly available can be valuable. Remember, you're responsible for comments posted on your page, so make sure your users aren't engaging in false advertising on your behalf.
Messages Are Key
You can turn off messages for your page — but you probably shouldn't. Considering Facebook is hyping Messenger as its next big platform, and rolling out heaps of new features to help pages message easier, it's clear that they're encouraging you to use your messages. Will Facebook prioritise messaging pages over non-messaging ones? Who knows, but what we do know is that customers are turning to social media with their problems and questions more and more often these days, and having that shiny green button proclaiming your page has good responsiveness to messages is only going to increase your customers' trust in you.
Consider Going Live
What is Facebook Live? How does it work? Can you use it? The answer is probably yes. Facebook Live is Facebook's answer to live streaming video already popularised on Twitch and YouTube, with the distinction that anyone can start streaming live, straight from their phones (or other compatible device). Because it's their new technology, Facebook will show your live video to more people than it would show a video to — and Facebook native videos already get more reach than photos or links do.
All you have to do is use the Pages Manager app on your phone to start a new post, click 'Go Live', add a title and then stream away. Remember to make it something relevant to your business or page. If you're a baker, for example, you could invite customers to watch the process of you baking bread. Facebook Live is a more personal platform, often allowing customers to see the behind-the-scenes of their favorite businesses and pages. It's also highly interactive — remember to watch and respond to those comments!
Make Use Of Your Insights
Facebook's Insights has grown ever more complicated, and while some of the data can be confusing or even outright useless for your business, they're still a great place to start to be able to look at your customer base and to refine the type of content you should be posting (and when).
Aside from the main Insights page, which you should remember to go through regularly, each post comes with its own mini-insights panel. To access it, simply click on the "XXXX people reached" link underneath your post. This'll show you reach, engagement and clicks for that single post.
Getting A Lot Of Unlikes?
Depending on how many likes you have, this is totally normal. Facebook is always culling fake accounts, spam accounts, deactivated and inactive users, and you'll see the results in your insights. Rest assured that most of the unlikes that Facebook shows you in the 'Likes' tab of your insights aren't people actively unliking your page — for these stats, go into the Reach tab and scroll down to "Hide, Report as Spam, and Unlikes".
If you go into the Posts tab, you can also compare posts with the number of unlikes or 'hide post' actions that coincided with their posting. Most of the time, your number of negative feedback actions should coincide with the amount of reach the post had — the more people it reaches, the more likely someone is going to want to hide that post or hide your page. If a post has a disproportionate amount of negative feedback for the reach it got, however, you should take note and avoid those types of posts in the future.
Do You Share Outgoing Links?
Should you post outgoing links? Shouldn't you? The prevailing theory has been that Facebook is a 'walled garden' — they're bringing traffic and content in from all sorts of places, but that traffic is a one way flow. When it comes down to it, it depends what type of content you're posting.
YouTube links are one type of content that Facebook won't give much reach to, considering they're pushing their Facebook native video platform. Unfortunately, you can't monetise Facebook video like you can YouTube, but one way to share your YouTube links may be to post a snippet of the video on Facebook, with a "Watch More" call to action at the end.
If you have an online store, this is another type of link that Facebook might reduce reach for, as it wants to encourage business owners on Facebook to use their ad platform to drive traffic to stores and websites. If you're advertising a sale or a deal, consider using Facebook's Offers feature.
One type of link that will probably get decent reach is news articles — as Facebook is currently pushing its site as a news platform, news links may even get increased traffic. If you're using the 70/20/10 rule as outlined above, find a couple of interesting and relevant articles to share as part of your 20 per cent shared content.