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One of the things I get asked about the most is using FB for business. There’s so much to learn, and then once you get a handle on it, something on FB changes and you have to work out a new plan. But after building my small business that started out as a hobby into a six figure business with over 11,000 followers on FB by the time I sold the business in 2015, I guess I got something right. I can say with all certainty that I don’t know everything about it, in fact I only know a fraction of what is probably possible, and I am positive I got a lot of things wrong, but I do know enough to be able to share a few things with you!

So how did I do it? My business was horse show accessories, the main product was browbands, then all the little bits and pieces to match up and make the overall picture look great. I started the FB page around 10 years ago at a time when lots of people were still finding their way with social media marketing, and there was no talk of Instagram, Snapchat or any of the other popular formats today.

In hindsight I could have done a much better job if I have dealt with my general overwhelm in business and planned a little further ahead than the next 15 minutes, but that was part of my journey of learning. Once I did get my act together, I began to realise I had very little time and even less desire to spend all day on Facebook, so the only way around that was to plan ahead and schedule posts with a strategy in mind.

Here’s the main things I think I did ok with that business:

  • My posts were not all about selling a product. Some were, and some were not. Probably only 20% of the posts were offering a product for sale.
  • I mixed it up with posts with images, just words, links, questions, and interesting facts, to provide variety and interest in the page
  • I made sure my images of my products were all great, like, really swish images, all marked with my logo or business name
  • I made sure my posts that were selling something included information and a link to purchase the item, so it was easy for people to find.
  • My responses were always friendly and professional (as possible…) and I tried to respond to everyone that ever posted or commented.
  • My cover image and profile pic were professional and relevant to the market, and looked good on all kinds of screens, desktop computers and mobile devices. That took some fiddling, but it was worth the end result.
  • I had all the information on my page that people needed, link to the website, details about the business, etc.
  • I joined a heap of groups that my target market were in, and regularly shared relevant posts and specials into those groups.
  • I regularly checked my statistics on the page to make decisions about what was working and what wasn’t and adjusted the plan accordingly.

There’s just so many possibilities with using Facebook for business, and the right approach for each business it will be slightly different. I often say to people ‘suck it and see’ if they are trying to work out how to best use Facebook for their business. The beauty is that it moves so fast, you can change your approach and get into a new routine really fast and the past (last week’s posts) are long forgotten.

One thing that I think is important is to have a professional first impression. Take a look at your page, does it look professional? Can people see what you do from your page? Do you give them enough information? Are you easily contacted from your page? Do you respond promptly?

Another thing is to keep your posts relevant to your page. A few ‘behind the scenes’ posts are ok, but balance that with keeping it real for your followers, make sure everything you post is engaging or relevant in some way, or you will lose followers, or just as bad, gain followers that aren’t even remotely in your target market.

Horse business and social media

So here’s a bit of a Q & A for you – some of the common things I get asked, and my answers to them.

Can I run a like/tag/share competition on FB? Everyone else does?

No you can’t. Make it your business to go and read the Facebook Rules, and make a decision if you are prepared to risk your page or stick to the rules. At the very least, your post will be shown to a very tiny selection of people. At the worst, FB will ban your page. I like the live on the edge myself but I don’t do like and share competitions.

I have a few ideas for ads, which one should I run?

Run them all. It’s a form of split testing to see which approach appeals to your market the best. Think up a few different ads, whether it’s different images, wording, whatever, and run them all at the same time. You can follow the stats and if you find one is performing way better than the rest, kill the others and just run that one.

I have a few ideas for ads, which one should I run?

Run them all. It’s a form of split testing to see which approach appeals to your market the best. Think up a few different ads, whether it’s different images, wording, whatever, and run them all at the same time. You can follow the stats and if you find one is performing way better than the rest, kill the others and just run that one.

How often should I post? Won’t people think I am spamming them if I post three times a week?

There’s a million different opinions on the optimum number of posts you should post on your page. Rest assured you aren’t likely to be spamming people. At the very most, 5% of your followers will even be shown your posts on their newsfeeds, those that engage with your page will see more of your posts, those that don’t engage in any way will see less. You could easily post twice a day and still half your followers won’t see anything at all!

Can I share into a group from my business page?

No. Only personal profiles can join groups (like buy and sell groups and that kind of thing) so using myself as an example, Melody Semmler can join the local buy/sell group and share an Equine Entrepreneurs post into it. This is where I suggest people consider their privacy settings on their personal page, and also, keeping their personal page slightly ‘clean/appropriate’ at the same time, as potential clients may go looking on your page for an insight into who you are and what you are about.

I think the best approach with FB is to have a strategy, to plan your posts and strategy for what you are doing ahead of time, which makes it easier for you in many ways. Scheduling posts ahead of time also takes away some of the pain of feeling like you need to be on FB 24/7 (I personally prefer to live my life outside of FB, so the more time I can do that the better)

And remember, you can change your strategy at any time, nothing is cast in stone, so why not just make a start and see what happens?

EE can help you with your social media strategy in a number of ways.

We have a free download for 8 tips for a great facebook page. Then if you are ready to do some planning, why not grab a copy of our FB strategy planning template, that you can fill in and re-use over and over for your planning.

We also have a special offer for us to design you a professional and great looking FB banner, for just $34.95

EE can also help you create images to use for advertising, advise on specific strategies to help your business, and even manage your FB page for you if you need help with that. Drop me a line to chat about the options melody@equinee.com.au

Melody Semmler

Business Development Strategist

/ business development strategist
[biz-nis] [dih-vel-uh p-muh nt] [strat-i-jist]

someone that makes the hard parts of business easy and helps me get organised so I can get stuff done

I’m here to help. With over 25 years of experience in both large corporate business, marketing, branding and communication, and small home-based business, I’ve done a few laps around the block. As an added bonus, I have made every mistake in the book at one point or another and learned the lesson and moved forward. I turned my last small home-based business into an award winning, 6 figure, household name around Australia and then successfully sold that business.

What gets me excited is finding people in horse businesses who are passionate about what they do. That excited first meeting when they pour out everything they do and how it all came about to begin with. I love to help them grow their business, and be smart enough about it to be able to find time to ride/pay with their own horse/s as well! I love hearing the stories and thanks from those that I have worked with that are feeling so much more under control and reaching for their goals when before they felt like they were drowning.

With expertise in marketing, branding, copywriting, web and graphic design, along with some savvy business methods, I am a down to earth, real live person, that has been, and is, right on your level. I don’t ‘do’ fancy jargon and terminology to impress, and I explain things simply enough without making anyone feel like an idiot for asking.