Tag Archive for Facebook

Does your business need a Facebook boost?

Facebook for Business course

Why Facebook for business?

More than half of the UK’s population and 76% of the UK’s internet users have a Facebook account. Despite reports of Facebook being on its way out, the number of people using Facebook far exceeds any other social media channel and there are still a large number of social media users who only have a Facebook account and don’t have any other accounts.

This is clearly shown in Ofcom’s most recent Adults Media Use and Attitudes report for 2017.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 12.10.57

So if you are looking for a way to talk to your customers, chances are they are on Facebook and your business could be making use of it to communicate with them.

It is easy to use, much simpler than a website to update, and can be managed any time, from anywhere, as long as you have a smart phone. If you need help, then I offer Facebook for Business training, but here’s some key things to think about.

You’ll need a business page, which remains separate from your personal profile, so you don’t have to mix the two if you don’t want to.  You can have more than one person who updates the page so if there are two or three people within your business who are keen they can all help manage the page.

What to post on Facebook?

Once you’re up and running you can let people know what your business is up to, any offers you are running, last minute changes to opening hours, or you could ask for feedback on new products or ideas.  It is best to post most days, and as well as information about you and your business you could also post links to relevant news stories or share posts from other pages that you think your customers would be interested in. People also love behind the scenes updates and information, it might be day-to-day stuff for you, but it builds a connection with your customers and potential customers.

You can also interact with other local businesses by posting on their Facebook pages and community sites such as Balsall Common.  If you add something interesting to their page they may share it with their fans, boosting your audience.

The only down side is that Facebook won’t show your posts to everyone who likes your page, there is a complicated formula that determines how many of them will see your updates each time you post, but there are ways to ensure you reach lots of people.

Facebook advertising

One of them is to pay – Facebook offers some very targeted advertising options, and you can select your audience by age, location, interests, and parents with children of a particular age. As prices start from just a few pounds, you don’t need a big budget. But you do need to be careful to select the right options to get the best results.

So what are you waiting for, your customers are on Facebook, are you making the most of it?

Learn more about Facebook

If you aren’t sure how to make the best of your Facebook page, why not come along to my next Facebook for Business training course. We’ll go through the differences between a personal profile and a page, the best times to post, the best content to post, how you can check whether your updates are working, and crucially how to use video on Facebook – a vital skill if you want to make the most of your Facebook Page.

Facebook for Business Training course

Election news bot cuts through the chatter

election news bot

Like many people, I was amazed to wake up to the news that Donald Trump was close to winning the US Presidential election. As the day has gone on the final result is gradually sinking in.  I’m a big fan of Hillary Clinton and wrote my dissertation on her transformation of the role of First Lady, so I was particularly disappointed by the result.

Not least because one of my main sources of US election news the New York Times Facebook Messenger bot, had updated me daily with the chances of Hillary Clinton winning, and not once did it drop below an 86% chance she would be victorious.

FB Messenger bot

However you’ve kept up to date with election news – in print, online, or via new technology – the polls were largely wrong.  I think the model the New York Times has used to reach people is really interesting. Social media has changed the way we consume news, it’s a long time since people favoured one paper, bought a daily copy and read it from cover to cover.  These days we get our news from multiple sources and in a variety of ways.

Twitter was a key channel on election night, with millions of tweets sent as the results came in. But it is becoming increasingly hard for publishers to make their content stand out among all the noise on social media.  The use of Facebook Messenger is one way to overcome this.  By signing up for the New York Times bot, I received daily updates with notifications. Had I liked their Facebook page I would only have seen a fraction of the content I did.

I liked the fact that I only got updates on a particular subject area.  I think we’ll see far more of this type of publishing in future, tailored to our individual interests, and in this way news organisations can reach more of their potential audience.  Sadly it can’t change the election result for this year.

The value of hyperlocal channels during incidents

I’ve been involved in the social media management of incidents many times, mostly flooding on behalf of the Environment Agency but also fires, and a major power cut too.

Yesterday was my first experience from the other side, as a resident and also as one of the admins for social media accounts in my local area.

I woke up to this tweet from Solihull Police

The location is about half a mile away from my house and so I retweeted the information on my own and the @balsallcom Twitter accounts.  I assumed it was a traffic accident and didn’t think too much more about it, until I saw some posts in a closed Facebook group of school mums indicating it was something very different. Shortly after that there were local news reports about the situation that I shared on both Twitter and Facebook. 

The incident was resolved around lunch time, and later in the day I was able to share confirmation that the road was open and the mother and child were no longer on the roof.

Experiencing this as a resident, there were three key things that I think it highlighted:

1. Hyperlocal social media channels are really important to communicate in an incident

They are the best way to engage with those that need to know what is happening.  The road in question is a busy one in and out of Balsall Common; the social media accounts for the village reach large numbers of local people who were then able to make alternative plans for their commute, school run, and other journeys. The Facebook post alerting people to the incident reached nearly 6000 people. From Facebook insights I can see that people reached and engaged this week live largely within a few miles of Balsall Common.

2. Don’t trust the wider media to pass on information correctly

The Daily Mirror got the geographical information horribly wrong. But even ITV Central had the wrong location on their map. Presumably they’d googled Kenilworth Road, Balsall Common and then uploaded the result to their website. Unfortunately they did this without realising the road is a few miles long and the pin was at least half a mile out of place. The true location was off the bottom of the screen shot they’d taken – not helpful for drivers and others needing to navigate around the incident. Also worrying for people living near the pin.

ITV Central map

ITV Central map and news story headline



3. Organisations need to tell people when an incident is over

From a practical point of view drivers and others need to know whether the road is open or not for their journey home. There was also huge concern for the woman and her child locally. Fellow mums and other residents were anxiously waiting to find out whether the situation had been resolved.  Informally some of us found out from nearby residents but it was a while before we had official confirmation from a trusted source.  Thanks to West Midlands Fire Service for letting us know via Facebook. Solihull Police sent a great initial tweet alerting people to the situation with precise road closure information, but more than 24 hours later that is still the most recent tweet they’ve sent.

A dramatic day and one that I hope isn’t repeated any time soon. Another local resident, summed up the thoughts of us all perfectly.

10 things I learned from Facebook for Business

Facebook occasionally put on events to offer insights into their latest updates and developments, with a few interesting glimpses at what they are planning next. Although partly motivated by their desire to increase their revenue, nonetheless I spent a fascinating morning learning more about the latest News Feed changes and advertising options:

  1. Competition is growing for News Feed placement – at any one time there could be 200 updates in there from friends, family, groups and organisations
  2. Therefore organic reach for business is dropping rapidly and eventually is likely to be zero – Facebook are unapologetic about this, your content has to be brilliant to bump updates from friends and family or you have to pay
  3. If it’s not mobile friendly, don’t bother. 20 million out of the 25 million UK FB users on today view on a mobile, this number is getting bigger all the time
  4. The future of the news feed is ‘sight, sound, and motion’, video is becoming increasingly important
  5. Facebook offers the most sophisticated targeting platform for advertising, with a range of tailored options and the ability to select an audience by demographics, interests, behaviours, and even by device used to view.
  6. Facebook advertising works on an auction system so the cost of reaching a particular audience varies, young males are more expensive during big sporting events
  7. In general new mums are the most expensive people to advertise to because there is a lot of competition to reach them
  8. New features are being added all the time, the latest, Local Awareness advertising, allows you to reach customers within as little as a one mile radius of your business
  9. Messaging for pages is becoming more important as a customer service channel
  10. Instagram advertising is coming in September

If you’d like to know more about how Facebook advertising could help your business please get in touch.

Why am I seeing this? – the science behind Facebook advertising


I recently took part in a Wolf Run. I’m glad I can tick it off the list but I won’t be rushing to do another one, it’s the only run I’ve ever finished wanting a blanket and a cup of tea.

As with lots of things that I get involved in I liked the Wolf Run Facebook page, mentioned the event in posts before and after the run and was tagged in photos from the day, covered from head to toe in mud.

Trainers covered in mud

Since then, I’ve noticed something very interesting. For the last month these are the ads that have been appearing in my Facebook timeline.

Facebook adverts for runs


Pretty much exclusively. I haven’t really seen adverts for anything other than running events, especially of the outdoor, muddy variety, and physical challenges. A click on the ‘v’ symbol and selecting the ‘Why am I seeing this option? ‘ tells me why.

i don't want to see this

ad preferences


Facebook thinks I am interested in running and physical fitness, which is a fair assumption based on my recent activity. But it does highlight a flaw in a computer generated algorithm – there is no account of the ‘never again’ feeling I have about another Wolf Run or similar.

Facebook is keen to tailor updates and ads to your personal preferences so if you are seeing ads in your Timeline that you don’t like, make sure you have a look at why you are seeing the ad and change the topics you are interested in if they aren’t accurate. You can’t remove ads from your Facebook timeline altogether but you can make sure they are for stuff you might be interested in.

On the other side of things, as an advertiser, this ability to target is brilliant. You can advertise to people based on their age, gender, location, interests and habits. Plenty of people who did the Wolf Run loved it and will be signing up for the next one and other similar events so I’m sure some of the ads I’ve seen will have been very successful. The cost of those adverts will also have been far less than in a printed publication.

Interestingly one of the few non-running adverts I’ve seen recently was for Land Rover and that was because I like Volvo, so companies large and small are using Facebook adverts to target potential customers.

So, next time you’re on Facebook have a look at the ads in your feed and why you’re seeing them, it might give you ideas for how you could use Facebook advertising and how to tailor them.