Getting started on Facebook and building an audience can be a scary challenge for a small business. Many struggle to kick off their social media presence because once their account is set up, they don’t know how to. Furthermore, most will not have the budget to get a head start by advertising online.
Former HR Business Partner – Harry Purewal launched her business – House of Colour Huddersfield – in March 2016. With no prior experience and limited knowledge of using social media for a business, she is managing to successfully build a Facebook audience with relative ease. However – being seasoned digital marketers – we know there has to be more to this story!
So we caught up with Harry to find out exactly what she is doing to build her audience – and her top 3 tips for keeping her followers engaged.
Be pro-active. Start building your networks early.
‘‘I have to say Facebook is probably my favourite social platform because I’ve always been on there regularly with a personal account. So I had already built a good network of friends and family” explains Harry.
”Also when I launched the business last March, I was really blatant. I put out a post with a clear call to action to all of my Facebook contacts: Go-Like-My-New-Business-Page-And-Share! This doesn’t always work, especially if you haven’t built up a network elsewhere.
I would recommend to get your personal networks going 6 months to a year beforehand to get that engagement going and increase your network of friends.
The other thing I do is invite people to my page when I’m networking. For instance, during a pitch I ask for support. And when I see somebody is a really good networker, I build up a bit of a relationship first and then ask them to invite their network to like my page. Plus if anyone likes a post of mine, I invite them also to like my page. You just have to be very proactive and genuinely enjoy connecting with people!”
However, she warns that from her own experience, try not to solely rely on family and friends to move you forward –
” I was lucky to have some real superstars who like and share often but others who are just not interested in even tapping the like button. Don’t take it personally, develop a thick skin and focus your energy on those who will support you”.
Be generous. Support each other’s business pages.
Harry comes from a family of people who are self-employed, and this she stresses has also been a factor in helping her to build an organic audience on Facebook. It’s because she knows how tough it is for a start up to get itself out there and how vulnerable a small business owner can feel.
”I have always made a point of supporting others pages long before knowing I would set up on my own, and this has inadvertently helped me. There is a lot of truth in the old adage givers gain”.
In addition, she’s also set up an informal support group with other franchisees and entrepreneurs across the country who are not her immediate competitors. They have an informal agreement to like each other’s posts as well as comment.
To her there is another important reason for this, “It’s a lonely thing running your own business – and so it’s great to have a support mechanism which is so easy and accessible because it’s through social media”.
Be visible. Boosting posts and Facebook Advertising increases reach.
When asked if she has tried promoting on Facebook using paid advertising to generate leads, she replies, ”I’m not convinced I’ll get clients through Facebook – but it’s probably because I haven’t been doing it long enough and I certainly haven’t used all the sophisticated targeting tools available. For me, the little paid advertising I have done has been about the exposure it brings me.
When I have boosted posts, the reach I get is far wider. For example, a post can reach 2K people or more. I don’t know if it translates into bookings, but it has got me page and post likes”. And with Facebook advertising – it’s been a bit hit and miss:
I did a Facebook ad for last Father’s Day ‘’No socks for Father’s Day’’ campaign. I didn’t have men call to book but I did have women get in touch for themselves having seen that ad!
I believe that people just need something quick and easy to go and look at. Your Facebook page is the best portable business card you can have. And even though it’s not an indicator of how much revenue your page is generating – people do look at how many likes you got!”.
Be patient. Generating Facebook leads can take time.
Like most business owners who persevere with their social media, Harry has found that to get leads through Facebook is a slow burn. ”People will be following me for a while who haven’t committed to liking my page, but I will after a while receive a message saying that they’ve seen what I’m doing on my page and are interested in a consultation.
What I’m discovering is that the people who do show an interest to book a consultation, tend to be friends-of-the-friends who received likes and shares from people who support me regularly on my page”.
Harry’s 3 Top Tips to engage your Facebook followers.
1. Publish posts which are authentic and in your voice
My whole business is about clients embracing their authentic self and to empower them with real confidence – I have to be as honest with my clients as I am with my friends. So my posts need to reflect my voice.
As social media is about having a conversation, I try and publish posts in a way that comes naturally to me. Often it shows different aspects of my personality: the professional; a friend; and being a mother.
I’ll do a little bit of self-deprecating stuff at times which really does come naturally to me! Such as the whole thing about being stressed out by your teenagers!
2. Mix it up with the type of posts you publish
I try to publish a mix of posts. For example I’ll do a few boasts – sharing some good news such as a testimonial, which always gets a lot of engagement.
However, when you do too much of ‘Hey look at how brilliant I am; how much fun I’m having’, people will start to think – oh god there she goes again! So it’s about getting a good balance.
Also I make sure to post useful and interesting information and not just sales promotions. If a post is all text, then I make sure the first two lines get my message across as they don’t want to read the rest of it. Of course, videos get the best engagement and whenever I publish photos of myself, clients and colleagues.
3. Post and react to posts at the right time
You will need to test different times for a while to get an idea of when your audience is likely to be active on Facebook. I’ll react to other people’s stuff during the peak times – mornings after the school run and then after tea time. That way I am in their notifications throughout the day.
It doesn’t matter how often you’re going to post, just commit to sustaining the frequency. Your followers won’t commit to you if you can’t commit to them.
For my own posts, I actually only post once or twice a week. I find Sunday evening and Saturday morning are good times, when my particular audience of women tend to be online; and late at night when the competition is asleep!
Thanks Harry 😀
If you would like to know more about how to get started on Facebook or get more engagement on your Facebook page, just drop us a line. For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!