3 Ways to Make Facebook Work for Your Business in 2018

Consider this: Facebook is the largest interconnected group of people that has ever existed in all of history. Without leaving your living room (a solopreneur’s dream come true), you’re able to reach a couple billion consumers. What an amazing opportunity for your business!

After all, your business runs on connections, right? Regardless of what type of business you run or what your primary form of advertising is, ultimately your sales are dependent on how many people you can effectively reach with your marketing messages. If you’re looking to make connections, then Facebook might just be the place to be!

Facebook’s algorithm and business

Now you might be thinking, “That’s great, except I can’t reach any of those people because of Facebook’s darn algorithm!”

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the past couple of years, you’re probably aware that their constant algorithm adjustments have consistently given business Pages less and less reach. In fact, at this point, posts from most business Pages reach only about 5% of that Page’s audience.

Understandably, this is extremely frustrating to many businesses who spent a lot of time attracting those Page fans. Many people feel that their effort to grow an audience on Facebook was wasted.

Also, many who haven’t already put in the work to grow their Facebook Page are now wondering if there’s even any point to doing so. If that’s the camp you’re in, then you’ll find the three ways to use Facebook for business below to be very interesting. (They show that Page likes aren’t necessarily required for you to get tangible results from FB...really!)

What Facebook really wants

Why is Facebook constantly changing? Why didn’t they just leave good enough alone and preserve the old, chronological feed that gave every post equal treatment?

Well, that’s effectively what Myspace did, and look where they are now. :/

In short, Facebook’s primary focus is to keep their customers happy and interested. The more time that people spend on Facebook (and the more they enjoy their time there), the more money Facebook makes.

It’s in Facebook’s best interest to keep their customers happy and interested, and they will always make the choices that support that.

The whole point of Facebook’s algorithm is to figure out what each user is most interested in seeing and serve them that content. This is determined through a variety of methods, primarily:

  1. Keywords: Has the user responded well to posts with similar keywords in the past?
  2. Broad categories: In general, FB users are most interested in the recent life events of their friends. Everything else (including promotional business posts) takes the back burner.
  3. Engagement: Facebook serves each post to small segments of users at a time to be able to gauge their reaction and decide how many more people to show it to. Facebook knows that the more likes, comments and shares a post gets, the more interested people are in the content -- and the more time they’re spending on FB as a result.

While the FB algorithm is incredibly advanced, it still takes shortcuts whenever it can -- after all, there are billions and billions of posts for it to sort through, so it (they) want to give preference to posts that are more likely to do well.

At the end of the day, that means your business posts get mostly booted off the feed. Facebook knows that their users are generally more interested in the lives of their friends than they are in promotional posts, so they’ve made it a default for business posts to get very little reach.

How to make Facebook WORK for your business

All this makes it sound rather discouraging, doesn’t it? Facebook doesn’t want your posts and Facebook is in charge! Should we just abandon the platform altogether?

Fortunately, that is not called for. There are actually several ways that we can harness the power of Facebook and use it to drive sales in our businesses. Keep reading to find out how.

1. Start or participate in Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are the equivalent of networking events, but so much more specific -- plus, you can participate from the comfort of your own living room! (Again, living the solopreneur dream.)

There is power in being able to connect with your target audience and actually talk to them. Companies have spent millions and millions of dollars on A/B testing advertising campaigns because they don’t know exactly what resonates with their audience. The fact that you can just chat with your target customers is an amazing innovation of Facebook.

Facebook Groups are also the only way to connect with people on Facebook who aren’t already your friends. If you look at your News Feed, you only see the posts of those who you’re already connected to, but when you join a Group, you instantly get access to hundreds, even thousands, of new people who are all interested in the same, relevant topic.

Another advantage that FB groups have over traditional networking is the ease with which you can further connect with people on a more personal level. If you want to follow up with someone you met at a traditional networking event then you’d better bet that you managed to get one of their business cards. Totally not necessary on Facebook!

2. Develop desired content

Really, you and Facebook kind of want the same thing -- you both want to promote content that generates interest. You can work with Facebook (it helps to have the big guys on your team) by intentionally creating and promoting content that is more likely to spread virally.

Many marketing studies have been done to determine exactly what causes some content to perform so much better than other content. In short, people are more interested (and more likely to share) content that they emotionally respond to. There are actually 10 different characteristics that viral content tends to have.

When you share content that has these characteristics, several key things happen. First of all, your posts will get more engagement. People will like, comment and share things that they feel passionate or intrigued by.

Second, every time your post is shared it will get exposed to that user’s friends -- giving it even more opportunities to be shared further.

Third, when Facebook sees all that engagement, they will identify your post as one that their users (at least certain sectors of them) are finding interesting and give it additional reach.

Finally, all those likes, comments and shares will give your post a lot more social credibility. When additional users see your post and see that other people reacted to it, they will be influenced to believe that your post is, in fact, interesting. That makes it significantly more likely that they will also engage with your content.

And then the cycle repeats!

Bonus tip: Facebook really likes when you use its live features when developing content. If that sends chills down your spine, start here.

3. Understand when to invest in ads

Many people seem to have the idea that Facebook Ads are expensive or that they’re not sure if they can afford them. Really though, Facebook Ads are an investment, not an expense, and when done right, they will earn you far more money than they will cost.

What’s not to love about FB Ads? If you strategically use them to enter customers into your business’s sales funnel then you’ll be making money while you grow your brand. So long as they are earning you more than you’re spending, you have a perpetual machine to drive list growth, brand exposure, and future sales.

Not sure if your business is ready for this more powerful tactic? Check out this article: Are Facebook Ads for me?

Don’t feel like FB Ads aren’t for you just because you have a small budget. Really. Even with just $5 a day you can start to scale. As sales come in, you can reinvest your profits into progressively larger campaigns.

Facebook Ads are the silver bullet of advertising, allowing you to drive traffic and close sales for pennies. You can get started by talking to an FB ads expert who can help you figure out the best strategy for your campaign.

The right Facebook strategy for your business in 2018

Any of these strategies has the potential to uplevel your social media marketing strategy, but probably one or two of them will give you the very best results.

If you’re still in the research phase or you sell big-ticket services (such as advanced consulting, web design, or large branding packages) then FB Groups are an excellent place for you to start. Connecting with customers one-on-one can allow you to develop mutually beneficial relationships that result in qualified referrals.

Viral content can be a powerful tool for any business, but generally works the best for content or service-based businesses that can teach something impactful to generate leads.

Facebook Ads can be effectively used for many different types of businesses, but create particularly amazing returns for product-based businesses. Whether you sell physical products (clothes, decor, etc) or digital products (especially courses), FB ads can double your sales overnight, exponentially growing your brand.

Considering these three powerful ways you can use Facebook to promote your business, I think you’ll agree that Facebook marketing is alive and well. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Over to you: What’s your Facebook marketing strategy? Which of these three ideas would have the greatest impact on your business?

How (and Where) to Find a Graphic Designer

First off, congratulations to you on doing your own thing - be it starting or growing your business! One lesson you will quickly learn (if you haven’t already) is that you cannot do everything yourself. Most entrepreneurs quickly grow accustomed to the Jill-of-all-Trades syndrome but let’s face it, you simply cannot be good at everything. There are a few things you can attempt to do on your own, but others should be left to those that specialize in those areas, graphic design being one of them.

There are a lot of misconceptions about design these days--particularly that it’s easy and anyone can do it, which is just not the case. Graphic design is a communications tool used to build awareness and influence people to do or buy things and it includes a mix of research and discovery, problem-solving and creativity. Thus, good design can add an enormous amount of value to your business.

But how do you go about finding a graphic designer to meet your needs? And where do you find one? It will take some work, yes, but breathe easy, it’s not as hard as you think.

1. Start with yourself

In order to figure out where you’re going, you need to know where you are. Give some thought to who your customers are and how you want to communicate to them. If you are your business (as many solopreneurs are), think about your style and how you want to present yourself to the world. Be able to articulate what your business goals are and what you want to achieve as these are questions you'll be asked (or at least should be asked!) by any designer you contact.

You also need to establish a budget. Graphic design is not an exact science and you will find that prices can vary drastically. So while you may have to interview several designers in order to find one that can stick to your budget, knowing what you have to spend will help you in the process. Bring it up early on in the discussion to avoid wasting anyone’s time. Keep this simple concept in mind when evaluating prices: good work ain’t cheap; cheap work ain’t good. Rudimentary yes, but you get what you pay for.

2. Get referrals

Start with the people you know and trust- ask them if they have or know a designer they would recommend. Is there a place you frequent- like your salon, a local coffee shop or even your neighborhood bar- whose design you admire? Ask the staff who did it. Word of mouth is still the one of the strongest marketing tools around. Many websites list the web designer in the footer of the site, so scroll to the bottom to see if a link or name has been included, then email the site owner to see if they would recommend the designer.

3. Be a social butterfly

With all its outlets, social media is like the world’s largest bulletin board, available 24/7 to people all over the world. Start with the platform you know, use and are most comfortable with.

  • Facebook: Broadcast your search for a designer to your connections or use the Facebook search function. Try searching for terms like “design” or “designer.”
  • Twitter is another great option that a lot of creatives use. Again, broadcast your needs to your network and ask for recommendations. Using hashtags like #freelance, #graphicdesign or #designjobs will allow your message to potentially travel farther and be seen by those you’re seeking. You can also do a hashtag search using those terms to find someone yourself.
  • Meetup is another resource for finding a designer who is local to your area. Search for graphic design groups and email the organizers. Ask them to post your contact information in their member area or discussion board. Keep in mind, however, that with this route you are opening yourself up to a lot of people. So if want to keep it more intimate, I’d start with the methods above.

There are a number of websites you can search in lieu of getting a personal recommendation. Remember, you are starting from scratch here, so it can be a bit more work. If you decide to go this route, I’d start with AIGACreative HotlistCoroflot, or Freelance Switch.

4. See for yourself

Once you’ve collected a few names, check them out for yourself. Basically, GTS (Google that shit). Take a look at their portfolios--do you like what you see? Is their work in a style you could see for yourself and your business? Like people with their clothes, designers also have a style- make sure it’s something you like.

Read the designer’s about page to get a feel for their personality and communication style. Read their services page and get an idea of their process, how they work and what they offer. Go through the various pages on their site and see if it jives with you. From here, make a shortlist of people you actually want to contact.

5. Hear it from the horse's mouth

Now’s the time to contact the people on your shortlist. While it may be old school to pick up the phone, being able to hear and/or see someone is the best way to really get a feel for if you’re going to mesh well. You can hear their voice, understand how they communicate (are they speaking a language you don’t understand?), and even see them (thanks, Skype).

While it has to work for you, it’s got to work for them as well. It’s really an interview that goes both ways. You should find a designer who is willing to invest in you the way that you are willing to invest in your clients; a designer who is as passionate about creating something for your business as you are about providing your products or services.

I like to think of the relationships I have with my clients like that of making a new friend or even like dating. There’s a getting-to-know-you phase where you find out what each person likes, dislikes, their tastes, their communication style and generally whether you mesh well. Find a designer that you would be friends with, one who you trust and feel connected to and is willing to dive head first into your project.

6. Be Realistic

Chances are, if you’ve found a designer whose name came up repeatedly and is quite popular, they are going to be hard pressed to get you in immediately. Be realistic with your budget and timeline (clearly communicate both) and be willing to make some adjustments if necessary, whether that means saving a little more money or waiting a little longer to begin your project.

This is by no means a comprehensive list or the end-all-be-all to finding a designer, but it should at the very least give you a frame of reference to start your search. Hiring a designer is an investment and doing the work to find one you can build a relationship with will benefit your business and your brand. If you’ve done your homework then you can make a decision based on both knowledge and instincts!

P.S. A shameless plug from One Woman Shop- be sure to look through our Designer Profiles if you're in need of great graphic design. Morgan will be featured soon!

How To: Make Your Facebook Photos Bigger

Welcome to our How Tos, where we provide you with specific step-by-step instructions for common business questions. 

You're scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see a small thumbnail -- and then you scroll further and see a big, bold photo that grabs your attention -- which are you more likely to click on? If you're like us, the big photo will naturally draw your eye. So, as a small business owner working to spread the word about your brand, why would you stick to using small thumbnails that people will likely pass over in their newsfeed when you can be using stronger, bigger visuals that actually capture attention?

Here's how to leave those thumbnails in the dust and replace them with attention-grabbing images!

  1. First, find or create an image (ideally 403px by 403px) that you would like to include in your Facebook status and save it to your computer
  2. On your Facebook page, insert your desired link under “Status." Facebook will automatically pull in a thumbnail from the link, like this:

how to make facebook photos pop

Yikes! Do not post yet- we've got to fix this biz up. Click the x in the upper righthand corner of the box that contains your new link:

how to make facebook photos bigger

Click “Photo/Video” then “Upload Photos/Video” like this:

make facebook photos bigger

Find the photo on your computer that you would like to upload to the Facebook post and select it.

increase size of facebook photo on timneline

Click “Post” then voila! A big, pretty image, like this:

example of a big facebook photo on timeline

Much better, huh? If you liked this trick, spread the word by clicking to tweet below:

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