The age of social media channels quickly surrounded the entire business marketplace – offline and online. Every respectable brand and business has a social media page that lies between their customers and products.
The technology advancements are heavily influencing the way the business marketplace works – the smart devices, the fast and cheap internet, and all the “digital” improvements have led to the development of a complex, sophisticated, and competitive marketplace.
Facebook is currently the most used (and most popular) social media network. It started as a social tool and then it expanded into a powerful channel that businesses from around the world use in order to reach new clients and customers.
Most people would assume that Facebook is a distribution channel suited mostly for online businesses, but that’s far from the truth.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for ways to bring some extra traffic to your local store, whether it is a restaurant, coffee shop, pet shop, or any business that incorporates a physical location.
You’ve landed in the right place, as today, I’ll comprehensively cover the basic and advanced features of a Facebook page. In this post, you’ll learn how to effectively create and optimize your brand’s Facebook page for local searches. Ready? Set. Go.
The Basic “Checklist” – Starting the Right Way
Considering that you have already claimed/created your Facebook page but haven’t finished the optimization process, I have a prepared a checklist that you should go through before moving on to the more advanced concepts.
Create the Basics – the “NAP”
In the online environment, a business’ name is recognized under the abbreviation “NAP”. This stands for Name, Address, and Phone. If you were to include your website in the equation, it would be called “NAP+W”. This is not critically important, yet it is essential to know by the time these terms appear in various future circumstances.
In order for search engines to rank you well, you should provide the same NAP details “everywhere you go.” Back to your Facebook business page. Here is what you need to complete:
- Name – You should use your business’ primary name – same as you present it to your friends. Don’t use legal or geographical terms.
- Address – Add the real-world address of your physical store. Make sure to add a validated street address, or else you’ll run into lots of problems later (you can imagine).
- Phone – Ideally, use a local area number – those are the easiest to maintain and pay for. Stay away from tracking numbers or toll-free numbers.
- Web – You should have a website by now. If you don’t leave this empty. If you do, simply copy-paste your website’s address link.
Prepare the “Other” Information
I believe that an aspiring local business can gain a competitive advantage as long as its online promotion is carefully done. By that, I’m talking about offering qualitative descriptions of your brand, products, and services.
Prepare these descriptions and be ready to use them once we get into the “advanced optimization tips.”
- Write a short description of your brand – This shouldn’t be longer than 160 characters (including spaces). In fact, this is your chance to place a bigger concept into a few crafted words.
- Write a long description of your brand – This one should be easier. Expand from your short description and offer only the details that really matter – the details that your future customers would actually care to hear. Keep this description to less than 3 paragraphs.
- Choose a USERNAME and stick to it on all your other social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on all the other networks that you will approach for promotion)
- Establish your business hours (if they are not already established) and have them ready.
- Create a public and professional email address. You can use Gmail or other reliable free email providers. Ensure that your email address stands for what your brand represents (ideally, it should be your firstname.lastname@example.org – but you can also opt for a different format. E.g. email@example.com. Here’s how to create a business email if you want to do it this way.
Edit the Business Information
Once you’re done with the very basics, you are ready to complete your profile’s information with as many relevant information as possible.
- After the Like, Follow, and Share buttons, you will find an “ … “ Tab. Click on it.
- Select “Edit Page Info”
There, you will see four tabs: “General”, “Contact”, “Location”, “Hours”
Go through all of them and complete as many details as you can. Use the descriptions you have prepared and try not to leave anything empty.
I insist on creating a complete business profile page (with all the details) because the search engines (and Facebook) seems to favor the businesses who provide comprehensive details.
Optimize Your Photos
The visual aspect of your brand has a great significance and relevance in the way your future clients and customers will perceive your brand.
If you look at the best brands out there, most of them keep their profile simple, meaning that they choose to place their brand logos in the profile pictures. I think that you should do the same. If you don’t have a professional logo, you should really consider investing in one as soon as possible. Your brand logo leaves the first mark on your customers, so you want it to be a positive mark.
The hardest photo selection is the cover photo. Here, you must find something that truly resonates with your brand’s identity, purpose, products, or services. For example, Nike uses variations of its tagline “Just Do It”. However, for the majority of the time, they love to keep it simple – a dark background along with a simple text font that says “JUST DO IT”.
Your business should be different than other businesses. It should offer a unique value proposition – the thing that sets your products and services apart from your competitors.
To figure out what cover photo to choose, identify your unique value proposition first. Understand why your local business will be perceived as “different than others” and try to illustrate it through a picture.
This picture could be, for example, the team behind your business. It could be the unique prototype you’ve invented (in a quality photo). Or, it can be an illustration of the benefits you’re offering (through a carefully crafted picture design).
I focus so much on photos because most of the times, people use their visual senses to remember brands. Offer both pleasurable and relevant visual experiences to improve your brand’s awareness and reputation.
Customize Your Tabs
Your Facebook’s page tabs should not be left on default.
- Go to “Settings”
- On the left side, click “Edit Page”
- If you like the current Template, leave it. If you don’t press “Edit” and check for yourself.
After choosing the template, you should organize your tabs (you will see them listed below the Template section.)
You can remove, edit, or change the order of your tags depending on your business’ unique characteristics. If you’re selling clothes, your “Reviews” tab should be at sight. If you sell art, your “Photos” tab should be visible.
Figure out what your customers would like to see first and select your tabs according to your own intuition. After all, you’re the one who should know both your business and your specific target audience the best.
Customize Your “CTA” -Call-to-Action Button
Your CTA (call-to-action) button which is featured on the Bottom-Right side of your Cover Photo (it is usually blue, but you can change it if you want) is one of the most important optimizations that you must take care of.
Your CTA button will serve as the primary link between your customers and your business. Here, you have a choice. You can focus on connecting with people through messages/phone, you can focus on selling (if you also have an online store), and you can focus on educating your audience.
For example, if you wanted to teach your recently met prospects how your physical products work, you can choose the “Call Now”, or “Message”, or the “Learn More”, or the “Watch Video” button. This depends entirely on your business strategy.
To figure out what CTA button would bring the most results, you must first establish the way you’ll connect with the new prospects. Some businesses sell directly while other businesses offer free, educational content to their potential customers with the purpose of gaining trust.
Verify Your Business Page
Lastly, you should “legally” verify your Facebook business page so that Facebook (and Google) will recognize you as a legit enterprise. Don’t skip this process because if you do so, your page will be limited in the future.
- Go to “Settings”, find “Page Verification”, and click “Edit”
- Click “Verify this Page”
- Insert your phone number and click “Call Me Now”
- You’ll receive an automatic call that will offer you a 4 digits code.
- Enter the code, and you’re done.
Advanced Optimization Tips
The basic optimization tips are as important as the advanced ones. You should always take things step-by-step, especially when it comes to your local Facebook page optimization.
Quick tip before we get to the next techniques – If, in time, you believe that some of the basic details you have completed must be modified, do not hesitate to do so. Keep everything updated and don’t allow stupid mistakes (like the wrong address, wrong phone number) step in. Your potential customers will be disappointed and that will surely disadvantage your business in the long run.
Ensure You Understand Your Audience Well Enough
To be able to excel in any form of marketing, be it online or offline, be it on Facebook or on any other social channel, you must get to know your audience.
What does this mean?
Well, a business, in its essence, is an exchange of value. The business offers a solution to an existing problem/need, while the customer exchanges their value power (money) for that solution.
“In order to be profitable in business, you must understand your solution. That is easy, as you have created it. The second step is to understand how your potential customers and clients will interact with your solution.
The interaction starts the moment you try to promote your business (online or offline). If you create an interesting angle, people will pay attention. But that is not enough. Once you have their attention, you must be able to carefully harness it and direct it toward the end-step, which is the purchase.”
Therefore, every time you’ll optimize your Facebook page, you should do it according to your current understanding of your target audience. To make things easier, you should develop a “target persona”. This is the ideal customer of your business and the ideal searcher in the search engines.
Before you optimize your Facebook page and before you start investing time, energy, attention, and money in it, you should “get to know” your target persona. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What does my target persona need the most?
- What are my target persona’s biggest struggles/challenges/issues/problems?
- What would my target persona want to accomplish right now?
- What would make a difference in my target persona’s life?
- How could I grab the attention of my target persona?
- How old is he/she? What political/religious/cultural affinities does he/she have?
- How much money does my target persona have/like to spend/hate to spend?
Don’t stick to these questions only. Ask more. Another thing would be to actively study your niche forums. This way, you can collect direct feedback from people who you already know that might be interested in your products and solutions.
Customize Your Page’s Unique URL
Your Facebook’s page URL can (and should) be modified accordingly. Many entrepreneurs who start Facebook pages simply neglect this feature because they either don’t see it important or because they don’t know of it yet.
When you reach 25 likes on your Facebook page, Facebook allows you to modify the URL of your page, giving you a huge benefit of acquiring backlinks every time you share it on other platforms.
Instead of a random link, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brand-Name/8574693759?ref=ts, you can modify it to https://www.facebook.com/Brand-Name.
You can easily find the options in the Settings.
Seek to Capture Constructive Customer Testimonials
When people check pages on Facebook, one of the aspects they are interested in the most is the “Reviews” or “Testimonials” tab. That makes sense because most of the customers who seek products and services online will need something to make them feel “safe” before they decide to buy.
Capturing constructive customer testimonials is an essential key to both improving your brand’s overall success and your visibility in the Facebook’s search engine (and Google’s search engine). The more positive reviews you get the more authority your page and business will get – both in the eyes of the social media networks and in the eyes of your future customers.
How can you encourage more positive reviews? Here are some good techniques on how to do that:
- Organize contests with prizes – whoever leaves a great review receives X or Y product/discount/etc.
- Engage with your customers directly (through comments and later through emails) and ask them kindly to review your services in the most honest way. Ask nicely and the results will surprise you.
Offer Quality Products
Branding and promotion is one thing, offering real value are another. You see- you can’t expect your Facebook page to be successful unless your brand is successful. Facebook is a social network…or rather…a distribution channel that you can use to acquire the attention of your prospects.
If you know that your products and services are below the standards, trying to excel at Facebook marketing will be a harsh process. Even if you get to attract the attention and lead potential customers to your local store, providing bad services will hurt you more than you think.
People hate to lose time. If your Facebook page is extremely optimized and well-made, you will attract lots of people. Now. Once these people leave your store, many of them will feel the urge to leave a review that details their experience.
Offering a bad experience (low-quality products/services) will trigger negative reviews. When that happens, many newbie businessmen prefer to ignore the review and hope that it’ll just pass. If you get negative reviews, make sure you answer all of them in the most professional matter. If you must, apologize. If you must, promise a better experience. If you must, offer a free service to compensate for the customer’s inconvenience.
Consistently Post New Useful Content
Even though you’re running a local store, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of content. If you haven’t heard of this phrase, “Content is King”.
Why is it king?
Because the digital environment (that includes social media channels like Facebook – that includes your specific business page) is dependent on content. After all, how else can you present something if not through communication?
Therefore – optimizing your page is one thing, offering useful content to your brand’s followers and customers is another. As I’ve already mentioned, many local stores create content (that they post online) in order to get closer to their audience.
This content can entertain, inform, educate, inspire, and so on. Depending on what you sell, you should figure out a content marketing strategy that should run on your website (and should be consistently distributed on your Facebook’s business page.)
Optimizing your page for local searches will serve your business extremely well, especially because the “smart devices era” is already here. Most millennials and Gen X individuals are already using their phones every day, relying on them for useful information and directions.
Taking the time and attention to optimize your Facebook’s page will guarantee you better business results, as the offline and online are now interconnected. Read this post twice and get through all the steps in a sequential order – see what needs to be fixed and what needs to be improved. Most importantly, never stop optimizing. This is not a one-time result but rather a long-time process!