Facebook can be a powerful tool to increase website traffic, drive sales, and provide an interactive platform for customer service. Not sure you’re getting everything you can from your Facebook efforts? Sarah Benoit has shared some tips for success in a recent Digital Drop-In webinar for the JB Media Institute. We’ve highlighted her top tips here. You can also watch a replay of the webinar in its entirety.

Tip #1 Start Live Streaming

When promoting a business on Facebook, live streaming allows followers to see who represents the business, allowing for more personal interactions. Clients and customers appreciate authenticity. Invite followers in advance when you plan to live stream to make sure there is an audience for your video. There are several options to notify followers. Two commonly used strategies include creating a schedule or events calendar that allows followers to see when a live stream will take place, and asking followers to set their notifications to tell them every time there is a live stream.

Now that your live stream is planned, it’s time to make sure you are prepared to deliver a quality video post. Be sure to test the equipment and make sure the camera and microphone function properly. Depending on the intended quality, you can even use higher quality equipment in the production as well. Third-party tools like ecamm.com, BeLive.tv, and BlueJeans.com are also helpful resources. When beginning the live stream, introduce yourself, and let your followers know what makes your business unique and different from the competition. Cover topics relevant to your audience. When you create content that educates, inspires, or entertains, followers will want to continue following you.

Tip #2 Make Customer Service a Top Priority

Owning a business means attending to customers’ needs, and today that means on social media platforms like Facebook. Today’s word of mouth is often a recommendation on a social network like Facebook with a link to the company’s business page. A new potential customer heard about you via Facebook and wants to learn more, so make it easy for them to do so and be responsive to their outreach.

A critical first step is to provide all the requested information for your own Facebook business page. By providing more details, followers have the information they need to visit the business website, contact you, and so forth. Followers may choose to message you on Facebook, but don’t worry because Messenger works just like the texting app on a standard smartphone. Make sure that you respond to followers’ messages in a timely fashion. For those times when someone cannot respond quickly to Facebook messages, consider activating automated replies. These pre-written messages, sent to followers every time they send a message, can include important information or answer frequently asked questions. Don’t forget to respond with a personal reply to their specific inquiry later.

Tip #3 Explore the Power of Chatbots

Another innovation in the field of automated messaging are chatbots. Generally, bots are an automated software that can provide useful information to businesses such as: automated subscription content, receipts, shipping notifications, and customized instant responses to messages. Although we mentioned the helpfulness of automated replies in our second tip, they are only pre-written responses to alert followers that you will respond to them soon. Chatbots, however, are a marvel and truly show that the future is here. Chatbots can interact and have conversations with customers based on past interactions, creating new dialogue. The bot engine in Messenger is advanced, but Facebook has created an easy-to-understand tutorial so anyone can use it.

Tip #4 Stay in Touch with Those Who Know You

Truly effective advertising requires promoting the right content to the right audience. Advertising to existing customers on Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch, get repeat sales, and encourage referrals. The most powerful way to reach those who are already buying from you or interested in your business while they are on Facebook is advertising to them using the Custom Audience feature. Custom Audiences are created from a list of existing customers and those already familiar with your brand that you import into Facebook, such as an email list or website visitors. Facebook then shows your ad to them.

Tip #5 Reach People Similar to Current Customers

Once you have an established list of engaging customers, Facebook is able to create a list of new followers based on those with similar characteristics. This is called a “Lookalike Audience.” While that may sound like an odd name, that is exactly what it is. Facebook identifies the common qualities, demographic information, and interests of one audience group, like those from your email list or your current followers, and compares them to people who have similar characteristics or who “look like” them but are not yet aware of your brand. This concept is based on the idea that those with similar habits and characteristics are more likely to care about the same things. Facebook can then target ads to this group of people who are more likely to become customers. These targeting features help ensure that your ads are shown to the right audience. Now all you have to do is create content that gets them to take action!

Working with Custom and Lookalike Audiences really takes your advertising to the next level. This makes your ad spend much more valuable and effective. By putting your ad dollars in front of either an existing audience group, or new potential customers that share similar characteristics, the customers are more likely to convert.

Bonus Tip: Install the Facebook Pixel

How can your ads be more effective and target more qualified audiences? If the Facebook pixel is installed on your website, it’s possible to target people who have visited your website in the past via Custom Audiences. The Facebook pixel is a piece of code from Facebook Ads Manager and is added to the pages of your website. Once installed, it tracks which Facebook members have visited your website before and exactly which pages they visited. You can then build a Custom Audience with this data and target remarketing ads to people who have been on specific pages of your website and are more likely to convert. This strategy works best when you have a minimum of 1,000 website visitors per month.

Next Steps

Now that you have explored our top tips to increase your engagement on Facebook, it’s time to take action. Make a plan to incorporate live streaming, provide better customer service, implement custom or lookalike audiences in your advertising, and/or install the Facebook pixel. These changes can help get more conversions from your presence on social media’s largest platform. Want to learn more about social media, SEO, online advertising, or online PR? The JB Media Institute can help. New online cohorts take place throughout the year.

About the Author

Michael Evola is a fourth year student at the University of North Carolina at Asheville interning with JB Media Group this summer. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Management with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.