Build a Facebook page the smart way: from scratch
Published: January 23, 2015
Author: Joe Stanton
You’ll read many, many blogs on running a successful Facebook page written by those who’ve been there and done it. But how many people fail to get past the first hurdle when creating a new page? Every great Facebook page needs a great start, and often those who cannot get off to the right start with it fail to see the long-term potential returns and, as a result, give up on it.
The first thing to think of when starting a Facebook page in 2015 is whether your business truly needs one. Given how Facebook has changed in these past few years, no longer would it be safe to assume that every business needs to be on Facebook. Why? Because being successful on Facebook without spending any money is now very, very difficult, especially for pages just starting out. While you can make significant leaps with just a small investment, trying to get a page off the ground with no spend can often be a stumbling block for new businesses.
Start with who you know (and who knows you)
Say you get that far, and you’re happy to proceed with creating a new page, how should you do it? Well, the important thing here is that we want to try and set up a page and fill it with, at least in the short term, only people who have a pre-existing affinity with your brand, be they email subscribers, visitors to your website, or other parties who have expressed interest. You want to do this because your first priority should be getting fans who are more likely to interact with your content, and these are likely people who already know about your brand. Once you have a page that gets good engagement, then build on it further.
Build some ads and target wisely
Fortunately, Facebook has become much more sophisticated with its tools. Long ago, to gain likes you’d just create a like campaign, put in a few broad parameters, and hope for the best. The like campaign would likely be very effective, but results were often hollow. You’d gain likes but your page could still feel like a ghost town. But now Facebook allows you to target the people closer to you.
Both of these methods use what Facebook call a “custom audience”. The idea is taking information you have, matching it with Facebook’s user base, and making a Custom Audience from the users who correlate. Once you’ve got an audience of a big enough size – usually you’d want a few thousand people before proceeding – you can then create an advert targeted just at that specific group of people.
Say, for instance, you have an email database. You can upload that database to Facebook, and it will match up its audience for you. Your conversion percentage of email users to matching Facebook ones will vary, but in certain circumstances I’ve seen 60-70%. You can also get even more clever with this tool. Take a specific email campaign that you’ve sent, extract the users from that who didn’t open the campaign, then upload that database to Facebook. You could then target a campaign or a message to those people who you know didn’t open your campaign – zero wastage.
But that’s often, largely, a one-time thing. To make that work long-term, you’d need a big database of subscribers, or at least one that was growing quite quickly. You want something a little more fluid – say, visitors to your website? Remarketing is nothing new to most advertisers, but Facebook tools (specifically, their conversion pixel) allow you to do just that. Embed the pixel into your website, and Facebook will gather users who visit your website logged into Facebook and will create a marketable audience.
The whole point of this is to say that Facebook now has tools where you can get your brand in front of people who aren’t “cold”, who you aren’t going against blind. Not only will this enable you to create and grow an audience of people who know who you are, they should also enhance you page as it begins to grow because they’re more likely to interact. While these tips are applicable to pages of all sizes, it is especially pertinent for new brands.