A couple months ago, we walked you through the setup of a Facebook business page. Hopefully you’ve gone ahead and created that page and took some time over the last couple months to play around with ways to engage with an audience. If not, go back and check out the February issue. It’s worth your while to do so!
This time around, we are going to walk you through a few tips and tricks as well as strategies to put that Facebook page to good use. An unfocused approach to social media can easily result in crickets rather than active and ongoing engagement from potential customers.
Now more than ever, the viewer is in control of what they consume online. In regards to social media – where the audience is global rather than local or regional – how effectively you leverage the advantages can have a substantial impact on your bottom line.
First things first – to get any kind of audience developed, you have to have a visible page. Many of you already have a devoted customer base and the word of mouth about your shop to help you kickstart an audience. It’s very likely that people have been searching for you on social media such as Facebook for years! Now that your page is active, you need to start posting to it. Tell the Facebook world you’ve arrived.
Facebook encourages posts that are more in-depth and text-heavy versus platforms such as Instagram where a simple photo and description is a majority of what can be done. Facebook allows for full stories to be written, multiple images to be shared, web links and longer form video, so don’t be afraid to create posts using all of these options.
With each post you send out, make sure you have a goal you’re trying to achieve with it. Some posts can be just for fun, but to make Facebook effective, post updates on your work load and shop activities. Tell your audience what projects you have going on, share what services you offer, maybe even post about the races you attend or activities the shop does outside of work. All of these things help engage your audience and offers viewers a glimpse inside both the shop and at you as the owner.
Posting can become a bit tedious, especially since you’ll want to make sure you’re posting a few times a week. However, platforms such as Facebook lend themselves to being able to plan out your posts for the week, month or further. But beware that too much scheduling of posts can actually backfire. Your audience will know you’re ‘phoning it in’ so-to-speak, but in a jam, planning and scheduling out posts can be helpful to keep your content fresh.
Facebook is a great tool for keeping better communication with your customers and potential customers, and it provides an avenue for your customers to feel involved with your shop. Your audience can reply to you through comments or direct message you to get answers or contribute to your posts. When people do these things, you’ll want to make sure you’re responding to keep engagement high.
That being said, not all engagement will be friendly. Most people visiting you on Facebook will support you and play nice, but there are people out there just looking to create trouble. It can be tempting to battle with them or reason with them, and those are lessons best learned as you go, but just be aware you’ll run into this sooner rather than later. Most of the community, however, is good about policing themselves.
There will be times when you may be tempted to delete someone’s comments from your page/post. I will caution you about deleting comments. Unless it gets too offensive, don’t be afraid to let those negative comments be heard. Try to neutralize the situation, but don’t fuel it by deleting the comments in most cases, because more often than not it only leads to further cruel comments.
Social Media Payoff
There’s really no better time to enter this realm, and there’s a huge potential reward in using these platforms effectively. Once you’ve built an engaged audience, you’ll be able to speak with them in a way that benefits your business.
Start talking about the engine platforms you’re capable of working on, the ancillary services your shop provides, your hours of operation, the experience level of your shop, etc. All of those types of posts should ultimately lead to more business.
Consistency is truly the key to utilizing social media well. The more you post on a regular basis and keep in touch with your audience, the more that audience will engage and grow. Don’t confuse this with posting all at once either. You want to post throughout the week versus 10 times a day. There is such thing as too much on social media.
At the end of the day, building up an engaged social media following on Facebook isn’t about figuring out how to dupe the system, but rather about using the platform the way it was designed and offering your followers useful, high-quality content on a consistent basis.