Step 3: Post Relevant, Interesting Content on Your Page
You want to give people a reason to “like” your page and want to interact with you. The only way to do this it to provide content that they like, want and need. And you want to be posting regularly. If someone pops over to your page and your last post was a month ago, they won’t see you as very relevant.
The good news is that getting content isn’t as hard as you think. Remember those big dog pages I told you to like? They are great sources of content to share on your page.
Other dog trainers’ blogs are also a great place to find some stuff to post. You should subscribe to a bunch of blogs so you have a regular selection of material coming right to your inbox or e-reader. If you have a Google account you can set up Google alerts for specific key words (I have “puppy training,” “dog training,” and a few others set up) so that you’ll get emails whenever those key words are used anywhere online. Really great way to get content for your Facebook page delivered to you.
You don’t need or want to make all your posts informative (articles or links). Use photos and videos whenever possible – they always get much higher engagement than links alone.
Your goal is to get people to interact with your content: click like, leave a comment or share it. When they do that it improves your “Edgerank,” which is Facebook term for how relevant you are to each individual. The more someone engages with your posts, the higher your posts are placed on their news feed and the longer it stays there.
This is very important because you need people to see your stuff to get noticed. So you want to encourage them by including calls to action in your posts. Something simple like asking a question or telling them to “like” the post can help prompt people to engage.
As far as how often to post, I recommend one to two times a day on average. That’s usually enough to keep yourself out there and on their mind but not too much where you’re seen as spammy. Just don’t post stuff just to post stuff. Make sure your content is valuable.
Step 4: Interact with People
It’s called “social” media for a reason – it’s based on friendly interactions and sharing. So to get the most out of Facebook you need to reach out and interact with others.
The really great thing about using social media as opposed to face to face interactions is that you get lots of time to think and edit exactly what you want to say. I’ve had many situations in the real world where I wish that was possible.
The best way to leverage the social power of Facebook is to leave comments on the posts of other local business pages. When possible your comments should add value or information, however you can sometimes just leave a simple response. All you’re doing is putting your name and page out there for everyone who sees that post.
You should also try to respond to some people who have already commented in the post by name. This kind of personal touch gets people more interested in you and increases the likelihood that they will check out your page. You can even respond to multiple people within one comment. Just try to keep your comments as short as possible. There are lots of distractions in the Facebook world and if you get too longwinded you’ll lose people fast.
Anther cool thing you can do is include a website address in your comment and Facebook will automatically put in an image from the page as well as some copy. This is a great way to get your comment to stand out.
The best way I use this is if I have a blog post that’s relevant to the conversation I leave the link in my comment and get some people to click over and check it out.
Step 5: Automate the Process
The biggest detractor of Facebook (and all social media) for most people is that it can be a huge time suck. This can definitely be true mostly because it’s kind of addicting and it’s very easy to get lost in the mass of information scrolling by.
The key to not letting Facebook take up your whole day is to remember that you are here for a reason – to grow your business and should keep your time focused on only marketing your business. Not checking in on the latest gossip, chatting it up with friends or getting lost looking through a hundred cute dog pictures. You can do that stuff, but just don’t complain that you don’t have time for Facebook marketing.
Once you poke around and get the hang of it I would recommend you use some of the free tools to automate your posts. I use two sites that allow me to do this very well so I don’t have to keep logging on at different times of day to make a post.
Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) is a great tool that allows you to schedule your posts in advance. That way you can spend a hour or two on a Sunday night scheduling your posts for the whole week. Very useful to space your content out and lets you post even when you’re out working. Hootsuite is free but also has a paid version. Personally the free one has been fine for me. You can even use it for multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Linkedin, etc.).
The other free (they also have a paid version) online tool I just started using is Buffer (www.bufferapp.com). Buffer allows you to choose when you want your posts to go out (it posts the same times each day) and then put them in a queue. You can install a button on your browser so that whenever you see a cool web page (article, blog post, etc.) you can add it to your queue with one click. Once you put them in your Buffer they will line up and post them in order according to your posting timetable.
Using both of these allows you to maximize and streamline the time you spend posting to your business page.
Social media is living large right now and if you’re not utilizing it’s power to grow your business you’re really missing out on a great, free opportunity to get more clients. Like everything else, it’s a skill that needs to be learned and practiced to work effectively. Don’t expect to get five hundred fans and a flood of phone calls the first week you set up your page. You need to work at it and give it time. If you can stick it out and give it some time and attention it has the potential to really expand what you can do.
So go create your page, start experimenting and give Facebook a try. Learning these (and other) Facebook business skills will allow you to do things that aren’t possible using any other promotional medium. Good luck and happy posting.
For more tips and advice on the business side of dog training check out Fern Camacho’s site: www.businessofdogtraining.com