On 27 April, I hosted a workshop with Yorkshire for Business. The focus was on Facebook and how best to use it to market your business in 2017 and going forward. We covered a huge amount of ground and focused on the effective use of Facebook Groups, interactive posts, and Facebook audience insights.
We also recorded the event. If you want to watch the video first, please click here.
If you have any questions on anything we spoke about, please get in touch with me at email@example.com.
By the end of 2017, 77% of all small businesses in the UK will be using social media to promote their goods and services. Facebook is the biggest social media network in the world, with 30 million active users in the UK alone. If you don’t act now and use Facebook to promote your business, you’re going to get left behind. In the workshop we covered the following:
- How to create posts that get attention
- Using Facebook Ads properly
- Building an audience
- Facebook Groups
- Why video is the way forward in 2017
How to create posts that get attention
When was the last time you went to Facebook with the intention of buying something? Exactly. Too many businesses promote their services on Facebook in a far too obvious, in-your-face way. Make sure you don’t treat Facebook like you’re putting an ad in your local newspaper.
Remember that people go onto Facebook to check on what their friends and family have been doing. Facebook is a sociable network. Nobody goes there with the intention of shopping for something. Whenever you post on Facebook you must remember the 80/20 approach: 80% social, 20% selling.
What should I post?
Look for local news events. Share a funny story about your business. If you live in a tourist destination, then use Facebook groups to find photos from local photographers that you can share on your page. Here’s an example that includes photographs in Scarborough.
A recent post that I particularly enjoyed was this one by La Rosa Hotel in Whitby.
They aren’t selling anything. It’s just a picture of one of their bathtubs and some excellent writing.
Using Facebook Ads properly
When you submit a post to your Facebook Business Page, you assume that all of your followers are going to see it. Wrong! Latest stats show that only 3% of your potential audience will see your post. Why?
Remember that Facebook itself is a business. It needs money to survive. As someone I respect massively when it comes to Facebook says all the time, “You have to Pay to Play”. A large chunk of that money comes from companies who want to use Facebook to advertise. If you want your business to get noticed on Facebook, then you need to give them money!
To be fair to Facebook, it does make giving them money fairly straightforward. At the bottom of every post, you’ll see a button entitled “Boost Post”. Click that button and then click on “people who have liked your page”. This is the easiest way to use Facebook Ads. But it is also the laziest, costliest, and most ineffective way, too. Think about it: just because someone has liked your page doesn’t mean they are going to buy from you, does it?
Think back to when you first created your business page. What did you do? Most people immediately invite all of their friends to like their page. This is a good indicator of people who like you, not an indicator of who will buy from you.
The second thing to consider is this: If you have ever run a competition, you will have had a lot of people like your page who were only doing so in order to enter the competition. Consider how many Facebook competitions you have entered in the past. Chances are that you would have had to have had to like the business’s Facebook page in order to enter. Would you ever consider buying from that company in the future? Maybe, but it’s unlikely.
Instead of taking the easy route, you need to invest some time to set up Facebook Ads correctly in the first place to ensure that every penny you spend has been invested wisely. How do you do that? You need to pick your audience.
Building an audience
Did you know that you can fine-tune your ads so that the only people who will see them are the people who you want to see them? The first thing you need to do is open up Facebook Ads Manager. (Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help finding this). Then, go into “Facebook Audience Insights”.
In this section, you’ll see charts of information as well as a filter system. It’s worth remembering as you approach this next section that FACEBOOK KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYBODY. You can use this filter system to work out your local audience.
For example, if you are a wedding photographer based in Leeds and you want more people to book you for engagement shoots, then you can use this section to find out how many people got engaged in Leeds last month. You can then create an advert that will come up on the Facebook walls of these people offering them a great deal on engagement photos if they book with you. Likewise, if you sell baby clothes for newborns, then it’s possible to narrow your audience so that you only target people who’ve just had a baby.
From a hotel owner’s perspective, you can narrow down your targeted audience to people who live within a 30 mile radius of your hotel. If you’re based in Scarborough, for example, you can also target people who have also visited Scarborough in the past year. This ensures that you are being a little more tactical in the way that you spend your pennies and pounds.
To help you further, Facebook offers you a “Pixel” that you can add to your website. This is a free tool Facebook uses to collect data from your website in order to enhance your ad. For example, the Pixel lets you create an audience of Facebook users who have visited your site in the last three months.
For a hotel, this means that you are building an audience that solely consists of people who visited the booking page on your website, but then left without booking. You can put together a very specific ad directed at these people.
On the back of this workshop, I recorded a video on my YouTube channel showing you how to create an audience in full, which I have posted right here. If you want my other material on Facebook advertising and training for the hospitality industry, click here or contact me at email@example.com.
As discussed in the workshop, Facebook Pixels is a full subject in itself. If you would like more guidance in this, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some amazing free tools on Facebook which can be used to boost business awareness. The main one is Facebook Groups, and it is something that many people aren’t utilising properly.
As previously mentioned, only around 3% of all your posts will be seen. With groups, however, this percentage increases dramatically.
If you’ve never joined a Facebook Group, then give it a go. There are plenty to choose from and it will provide you with some quality real research which you can later use.
When you first join a group, you’ll have to manually let Facebook know that you don’t want it to send you notifications every time someone posts in the group. The majority of people don’t do this, so when you paste in the group, not only will you come up in people’s newsfeeds, but they’ll also get a notification. This is a great way of filtering your Facebook Fans into the people who LOVE what you do, your SUPER-FANS, if you will.
The example I used in the workshop was The Grainary’s “VIP Facebook Group”. We had over 7,000 people following our business page, but I wanted to filter this group down to the people who actually LOVE what we do. In other words, I wanted to target the people who come to all of our events and stay with us frequently.
I wanted to create a group where we would share everything we had to say first. If we were to announce an event, we’d post it there and sell it out. Whenever we’d have a special rate, we’d post it to the group first so that our biggest fans would have the first option.
When we created the page, we had 100 people join instantly. Now we have around 300.
Make sure you create a Facebook Group for your business and use it.
You can also take advantage of any other groups you are a part of to get your business seen. Whenever you create a post you have the option of “sharing” it with a group. Do that to boost your exposure!
Live Post Demo
At the workshop, I ran a live demonstration of a post. I posted a competition on the Grainary’s Facebook page. The prize was a £5 voucher good for the Tea Rooms. Here’s the Grainary Demo Post that I used.
Knowing that not everyone was going to see the post, I proceeded to share it in some local “for sale” groups. The audience here is massive. 100,000 people follow the groups that I posted in. This helped the post reach a whole new group of potential customers who might never have heard of The Grainary before.
Note: It’s important to familiarise yourself with the group rules before you post to them. Specifically, make sure that they allow businesses. If you can’t tell, message someone from the admin team.
Facebook Hack: You can see everyone who has liked your Facebook post. Go into your post and click on the “Liked” section. Up comes a full list of the people who have liked that item! Not only that, but you’ll also be able to see whether they like your business page or not. If they haven’t, then you can invite them! This is the best way of boosting your likes for free.
Why video is the way forward in 2017
The final thing we spoke about at the workshop was live video, as this is something that Facebook has turned its attention to in recent months. We actually recorded the workshop on Facebook Live, and the results were great. There were people who couldn’t attend the live workshop, but who were able to watch from home or from their office. We had expanded our reach using just our phone. You can do that with your hotel, too!
Why is using video necessary?
Live video is new on a lot of the social media networks. When a network as large and influential as Facebook launches a feature like this, everybody sits up and takes note.
As it is the latest thing, Facebook gives preference to posts featuring live video feeds. Remember the 3% rule with regard to Facebook posts? With live video, this figure rises to around 50%. The issue that most people have is knowing what to post. They may also feel that they “don’t have anything to say.”
There are actually a number of things you could do in the hospitality industry. If your guests are happy to give a testimonial about their stay, then why not ask them if would mind doing a live video testimonial?
I recently stayed in India at a small B&B. The owner would use his phone to do a live, interview-style testimonial for every guest that checked out. It was fun, we joined in, and more importantly, we used our phones to find the video and to share it with friends and family.
The advice I would pass on regarding videos is as follows:
- Unless the event is a workshop or educational, keep all live videos under five minutes long.
- Make sure you can be heard. Buy an external microphone if needed. These can be easily purchased from online stores, including Amazon.
- Make sure you have a good WiFi or 4G connection.
- Keep the camera steady. Waving it around will distort the viewing quality.
The use of live video for business is very new. My advice would be to play around with it until you’re comfortable. At the end of the day, it’s free! If you only get one viewer, or if nobody interacts, then you can either try again or consider video something that you’ve crossed off your list. Then, you can move on to a marketing strategy that works better for your business.
We ended the workshop with some general Q&A. Again, If you want to see the full live video then have a look on Facebook – Yorkshire in Business videos.
I hope you got something from these notes!
Here’s a testimonial from the workshop: Lynn Moore of Food For Thought Counselling has been sharing her results with me via a Facebook Chat. I was so pleased to see someone take on what we spoke about and put into practice straight away.
Make sure you then follow Yorkshire in Business on Facebook. The work that Jenn and the team do there is amazing.
While you’re following people, check out Boostly on Facebook. I also post daily videos on Instagram that document my journey as a business start-up and how I juggle that with family and other everyday requirements. Find it all on Boostly on Instagram.
Finally, don’t forget to add me personally! I’m Mark Simpson on Facebook.
If you would like a copy of the Customer Avatar Form I spoke about at the workshop, please drop me an email at email@example.com.