Facebook is a great way to connect with friends, family, and co-workers around the world. Although it was designed as a top social media site it has become a highly effective business tool.
According to BizBest.com, an estimated 42% of small businesses in the U.S. now have a Facebook page. And about 70% of small businesses overall plan to use social media this year. It’s great for marketing your products and services, share contacts, and connecting with your customers. Here are some smart ways your business can use Facebook to their advantage.
Avoid the “business hours” trap
Most businesses post content to their Facebook pages during the middle of the day (roughly 10 am to 4 pm). But that’s not when most people are listening. New research shows that businesses posting content to Facebook either before or after those hours get 20% more responses. Your goal is to have your posts appear at the top of fan news feeds at a time when they are most likely to be looking. Services such as HootSuite, TweetDeck and others let you schedule your posts to appear whenever you want. Don’t post just because it fits your own schedule.
Day of the week matters
But it’s different for different types of businesses. Saturday is the worst day, followed by Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Most content is posted on Mondays, creating more competition and ”noise” to break through. Research conducted by Facebook shows that people are happier on Thursdays and Fridays (you can probably guess why), so engagement rates on those two days are nearly 20% higher overall.
Best days to post will also depend on what type of business you have. For example, weekends are for autos, and peak customer engagement for auto-related businesses is on Sunday, by a wide margin. No other day comes close. But according to Buddy Media, which provides social media services to big brands, few businesses in the auto industry have yet caught on to this. Here are best days for other industries: Finance (Wed. and Thurs.); fashion (Thurs.); Restaurants and Bars (Tues., Wed.); Healthcare and Beauty (Thurs.); Sports (Sun.); Travel (Thurs., Fri.).
Ask People to “Like” You
Don’t be bashful about asking people to “Like” your business on Facebook. According to Buddy Media’s research, the direct approach – come right out and ask for it – works best. In short, “fans” tend to follow directions well. But the simpler, the better. If you want people to post comments, for example, ask a direct question and request a response.
Avoid overtly promotional language
On Facebook, experience shows that for most businesses, a soft sell approach works best. For example, if you run a contest, using the words “event,” “win” and “winner” rather than “contest” or “promotion” will get better results. People get excited about winning, while a “sweepstakes” sounds more like you are trying to sell them something.