One of the most common questions I get is: “What platform should I use to market my business?” A lot of people ask: “Should I be on Facebook? Is Facebook still the best social media platform for business?”
The answer to that question is “yes” and “no.” There are a billion people on Facebook, but let's be realistic. There are only 325 million people in America, and out of that, there are probably … 75% of them who speak English and maybe 1/10 of 1% of them who could be perfect customers. If you have a local business, that diminishes it even more. You have to really start out by defining who your audience is.
Your Personal Profile
Now in my book and class, The Bacon System, I talk a lot about defining your perfect avatar. Who is your perfect customer? A lot of times it's multiple people. You have multiple perfect customers. You have to figure out who they are, where they're hanging out, and what they're doing. Once you figure that out, you can find a way to help other people become more successful and create an environment where people will love, respect and recommend you to others.
Let's look at Facebook as an ecosystem. There are many moving parts to it, and it's changing all the time. But, at its core, Facebook is a person-to-person peer network of people who you know, like, and trust.
Now if you're like me, a network includes a whole bunch of things. It includes my friends, neighbors, people who I grew up with in high school, people who are in associations or groups with me and people I volunteer with, customers, networking partners, and power partners. There's a whole range of people. As a person, it's really hard to define who you're talking to when you post to Facebook.
One of the things that I do all the time is I put up a inspirational quote in the morning on Facebook, and then I put up a caption contest at night. Now, maybe 10 or 20% of the people that like and respond and copy and share, and do all the things that helps a person grow in the Facebook algorithm, are truly my customers. But again, it's still part of relationship marketing – people who you have relationships with. You never know if they know are somebody who can use your services, whether they're local or national. It depends on what you do. I've got friends all over the world and people who I've met at conferences when I've been speaking. You have to take that into consideration, and you have to be mindful of who your audience is and who is interacting with you, because things have really changed.
Now one of the most popular things a little while ago was having a “business page.” I'm doing air quotes. I call them brand pages because you can have multiples of them. For example, I've got one for my books, Notaboutyu.com. If you go there, it's N-O-T-A-B-O-U-T the letter U .com, it's all of my books. I've got one for my Bacon System. I have one for Brian Basilico, the speaker. I have one for B2B interactive marketing. Now, I post my blogs to B2B. I post my podcasts to the Bacon Podcast.
The inherit problem is that Facebook does not show those in people's walls anymore. If you look at the wall, what you're going to see is very, very little interaction from pages. You're going to see sponsored posts. The only opportunity you have is to A, boost a post which will go out to the vast majority of the people who have liked your page. It's getting harder and harder to get people to like pages because there's almost no interaction with it. You can pay for advertising if you want to, but a lot of people don't want that. They want to get people organically to see their information.
One of the best tips I can give you is, keep posting to those business pages, but then go there and share those posts on your personal wall. Now keep in mind, you're sharing it to a very wide audience. When you share from your business page, you cannot pick and choose that this is only going to go to my customers or people who have liked the page unless you pay for it. The way that we're using business pages has changed.
The other thing that you can do is create groups. There are two kinds of groups, basically. There are actually multiple groups, but I don't have time to get into it. You have your own groups, and you have other people's groups. Now, I don't care what kind of group it is, if you start posting salesy information in other people's groups, a lot of time you're going to get booted out. But if you create your own group, you can control the information that goes in there. Everybody's groups are trying to do it for their own benefit, and so are you. But you've got to monitor it and make sure that you're not letting other people take over the group and post their own stuff in there. You have to have a little bit of tolerance because you do want people to engage, but you must take care to keep anybody from overtaking the group.
Groups are a really, really good way to get people to engage with you and your content. But, you have to invite them. They have to accept. It's basically considered uncouth or … I don't use that word very often, but it's not the right thing to go in and just start adding people to groups without their permission. You want to ask them, “Hey, you want to join this group?” If they do, then great. If they don't, don't feel hurt. That's just the way it is.
Video & Facebook Live
Now one of the other tools that has really, really taken over inside of Facebook is Facebook Live. Live streaming video is big across the internet. Live video on your wall is good, but it can be disruptive, meaning that it just says that so-and-so is live. Somebody's doing something live right now. Now, on mobile devices, meaning phones and tablets, you can post live video to your profile, to your business pages or brand pages, and to groups. That's a great thing to do. If you want to communicate with a group, you can post live video.
A new thing that's happened is, on your browser, meaning on your desktop, if you have a camera, say, on your Macbook Pro or whatever it is that you use for a laptop or a desktop, you can actually do live video, but it only works on your personal wall right now. You cannot post from a desktop device or a laptop to any groups. But, the number one thing that I suggest you do, whichever type of video you're doing to get the greatest audience is focus it. Make sure that you're talking to the audience you want to talk to. Put it up on your page and then share it to your wall, or do it directly to a group.
Here's a tip. Schedule it. Schedule it as if it were a webinar and let people know ahead of time, “Hey, I'm going to be doing a live video at 7 o'clock this evening and here's the topic. Come check it out.” Don't overdo it. Don't try to do an hour-long video, because most people don't have time for that. Try to make them short tips, 10 minutes, whatever it is that you want to do. Realize that you can do that from your phone. I've set up a complete studio in one of my kids' rooms, who have now moved out, so I could do my iPad. I've got a Microphone on it, and I can do live video streaming from that.
The last thing I want to talk about Facebook is ads. Advertising is an art. Let me tell you, I've tried all different kinds of things, and the ultimate goal with Facebook Ads, and everybody talks about this, is getting rich. Sure you can. If you spend a dollar per click, and you can make $2 over the course of x amount of people buying something, then you can make some money. But what most people fail to figure out is “What is the sales funnel?” I can do these advertisements, but if I don't have the entire funnel set up, I'm not going to drive them to a page where there is something to purchase or a webinar to come to, or after they purchase or sign up for the webinar, there's another product that they can purchase that will help them get the most out of that.
Facebook still has value. There are a lot of people using it and making money on it. I still get business from it, but you really have to have some kind of strategic plan for how to use the five parts that I talked about and make the most of every piece of it, every single day.
I would love to hear how you are using Facebook and what kind of results you are getting for your business from Facebook. Leave your comments below.