In this issue of “Your Expertise Edge,” we’re drilling down into the topic of Facebook for business. Normally, I tend to think of Facebook as a platform for personal use, and that for business, LinkedIn is more appropriate (I went into that topic in Post #21, How to make LinkedIn posts work for you).

My business coach, Heather Prestanski of Homefront Marketing, has been trying to pull me around to the idea that Facebook is a good platform for business as well, due largely to its huge user base and the effectiveness of its advertising program. So, I spoke with Heather about how to use Facebook for business.

Here’s a lightly-edited transcript of our conversation – my questions, Heather’s answers in her irrepressible verbal style.

What’s the best way to use Facebook for business?

One thing that’s really important to remember about Facebook is that it’s a community building tool and not necessarily sales and marketing tool. That being said, for sales and marketing it can drive that sort of business, and the reason that it drives that kind of business is because people become almost like a family around your business.

Russell Brunson from ClickFunnels talks about creating a movement around your products so that you’re not competing based on features and benefits. People are going to buy from you because they’re a part of the community that you created, and that’s really around social media whether it be Facebook or some of the newer ones like Instagram or Snapchat.

Most people make the mistake of just constantly promoting their own business on their Facebook page, and they see this typically with anybody who’s outside of the online marketing space. They think it’s a business page so “I need to share about my business, I need to share about my offers, I need to share about my recent sales.” And it’s sort of like “This is me, this is me, and this is me.”

Instead, it needs to be: “This is for you, this is for you, this is for you.” It needs to be all about giving and not about the receiving. Now the way that you do that, the whole goal of Facebook from a marketing perspective is going to be to take them from Facebook onto another platform, your website, your email list, something like that where you’re going to own that content and own the sale essentially.

So how do I build community or following on Facebook?

When it comes to building up a following, your first step is where do we find the people that follow us, and that’s what takes the most amount of work. It used to be that Facebook was fairly easy to get people to follow you. Nowadays it’s next to impossible because Facebook’s organic reach algorithm is very, very tight, meaning that your content is only probably going out to about 1.5 to 2% of your total fan base.

So if you have 100 people who Like your page, it might only be a couple of people who actually get to see the post that you’re creating on your page, which can be frustrating when you’re marketing on Facebook, right? Facebook tends to be the tightest in terms of organic reach.

So we need to get that number up, and we also want to use it as a tool to drive traffic to a more engaging platform, where we can make sure that they’re seeing more of our content, like an email list. Or, it could be to drive traffic to a Facebook group so popular that a lot of people will invite people to it, and Like it.

How you get those members, and get more reach to more people right now is through doing Facebook Lives. Traditionally, you’d do it through your phone, or you can use something like Wirecast (a paid service with a free trial) or OBS (Open Broadcast Software, a free service) with which you can essentially livestream through Facebook Live from your desktop, and you can schedule it as well.

So if you have a video that you’ve already recorded, if you’re a little bit nervous about being face to face and doing Facebook Live and the potential of messing up live in front of everyone and just having it out there on the internet, you can prerecord something and you could play that video through OBS to stream to your Facebook page, which is really cool.

If I were going to do one thing, it would be Facebook Live on your Facebook page. The second thing that I would do is posting the blogs there and getting that traffic back to your website where then you can retarget them and pixel them through ads.

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How can we use authoritative, substantial free content through Facebook?

My best lead magnet offer that we have and now -- it’s kind of our only lead magnet offer -- is a course on Facebook ads and we give it away for free. We can easily charge $1000 for it, but the reason we give it away for free is because people go crazy over it. I had 200 people sign up to it just by posting one post to my Facebook page. And I don’t have very many fans -- less than 3000.

Those types of things can help your post go viral, which will really help in that community boosting. Just realize that everyone is giving away freebies these days, so how can your freebie be bigger, faster, stronger... and to create that viral effect? Sometimes you have to create ten things before something hits. Sometimes you’re like, “This is really awesome!” and then nobody wants it. And that’s common. That’s just part of the game.

I would say when it comes to online marketing the way that you can hedge against that would be to conduct really good client research. So get on the phone with people, or talk to people inside of Facebook groups. Make sure they’re your customer and make sure they haven’t had exposure to you before, because if they’ve had exposure to you already it kind of hurts your messaging and they’ll look subconsciously for the answers that they know you want to hear. We tend to do that as humans, we tend to want to please people.

So we want to find people who haven’t had exposure to you, and we want to reach out to them and ask them what are some of their biggest challenges and goals with regards to what you offer. And what we’re listening for is the overlap, so if you do this to anywhere between 12 to 20 people, you’re going to find that there are a lot of people saying the same thing over and over again, and when that happens you could ask some other questions, like what have you tried in the past that hasn’t worked, or why do you think that hasn’t worked.

Now you’re going to be able to find that one little thing that they tried in the past, it didn’t work, and this is why... even if that’s not the real reason why, we need to know what they think the real reason why is so that we can then create something that solves that problem and then dig into what their real problem is.

So, for example a lot of people think, “I need more likes on my Facebook page in order to make money,” and the truth is really they need more traffic in order to make money, so they need a Facebook page to run Facebook ads, but they can easily use Facebook ads to create traffic.

I think that the most important thing to really take away from this is that it’s not the number of fans you have that matters, it’s how engaged they are and how close they are to being your core audience.

How do I use Facebook Live effectively to show expertise?

If somebody has Liked your Facebook page, then they’ll be notified when you have an event on Facebook Live. That’s really great because when you just post a blog post or a picture that’s intended to send them to your email list, which only goes out in their feed. It doesn’t give them that notification about a live broadcast.

You don’t need to go over 30 minutes for your Facebook Live broadcast. I’m working with one of our Facebook ad clients, and caught her Live the other day. It was ten minutes and it was really, really engaged. She went through five or six steps essentially to whatever it was she was teaching, and we got so much engagement on that, that now we’re retargeting the people who engaged with that video.

So that’s the other cool thing that you can do on Facebook. Anybody who watches your video... you can retarget people who watch three seconds of your video, ten seconds of your video, or 25, 50, 75, or 95 percent of your video. So then those people, if you keep boosting your posts to those people every week with your Facebook Live, your audience grows and grows and grows, because now they start to see you on Facebook Live all the time.

Facebook Live is also a great way to get around Facebook’s restrictions around promotional content. That’s because when you post something promotional on your Facebook page like “Sign up for my course” or “Hey, buy this from me,” Facebook recognizes that and they just won’t show it to people, because they know people are on Facebook to talk to their friends and family or to look at pictures of cats or funny GIFs or whatever. They’re not really on there to do business.

But there’s a reason why so many people are so effective at building businesses on Facebook. I have a client we’re working with right now who when she started was probably only spending $50 a month on Facebook ads, now has ranked it up to probably $10,000 a month or more and is making well into seven figures, and all of her business comes from Facebook. So it can be really profitable, but it takes time.

You might only have three people show up for your Facebook Live the first time. But then if you can get those three people back the next time, eventually once you get to 50 or 100 people then you could start boosting the post and that’s going to start to accelerate your business.

What’s a good strategy for Facebook groups?

On Facebook, there are groups for just about everything. You can either join somebody else’s group, and there are groups out there for engineers, lawyers, and chiropractors. There are also groups out there for people who want to learn more about marketing.

The more that you hang out in the group and provide value, the more you become known as the expert. Then people will start tagging you in things and it becomes part of that community thing.

We find that Facebook groups have a lot more engagement than Facebook pages. Sure, it can be difficult to build a Facebook group, but if you don’t own a group then there can be a lot of rules. Usually you’re just not allowed to promote anything, which is fine, because if you give enough value and answer questions and things like that, eventually people come to see you as an expert on your topic.

Once you find one or two groups that match your target clients, what will happen once you enter the group, on the right-hand side you’re going to see suggested groups. That will help you find other groups with people you want to reach.

So unlike Facebook pages where really you’ll need to post once or twice a week and Facebook Lives are the best thing, your strategy for groups is different. Most group owners won’t let you do a Facebook Live session inside their group because they don’t want you to kind of take over the group.

So your best bet is posting inside the group as long as you’re abiding by the rules, and also just going in and answering as many questions and providing as much value as you can, but for groups it’s more important that you’re showing up daily. That’s the only way to really stand out and build a reputation as someone with answers to offer.