Facebook’s kind of a big deal.

Facebook’s kind of a big deal.

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At least, it is according to its 1.4 billion users, 42 million pages, 9 million apps, and countless niches. Everybody and their mothers (especially the mothers) log on to the social media megaphone to connect with peers and businesses in the same scroll of a mouse.

Seems like a pretty solid place to boost your business, eh?

Depends.

As it snowballed from its startup in 2006, all a savvy business needed to do was create a page, egg users to “like,” and sit back and watch the numbers rise. Around 2011, Facebook got savvy itself and began making a business out of businesses making it on Facebook. It’s no longer the “free advertising” it once was. Just like any other part of your strategy, this social media plug is an investment. Treat it as such and reap the rewards.

Do you really need it?
Want to open up dialogue between you and your customers? Fabulous. Carve Facebook promotions into your budget if your page seeks to engage consumers. Make it a two-way conversation by posing questions and material that sparks discussion — but only if you’re willing to interact in real time. Facebook isn’t for everyone, regardless of what your mama told you.

But maybe your focus is informing. Period. And that’s okay. If your business benefits more from pumping out a stream of updates and news releases, consider a more one-way platform like LinkedIn, which can help build customer connections as you blast posts. Or, brush up on brevity and reach audiences in 140-characters or less with Twitter’s advertising options. These social medias may get you more bang for your business’ buck.

Boost, promote, and track
If your main game is driving customers to your website, Facebook can help. Consider Boosted posts: running like a regular status update, photo, video, or offer, these paid spots are more likely to reach audiences because they claim the top of their News Feeds. Link your website’s URL to the post, and metrics let you follow just how many users were driven to your site via Facebook.

Further push traffic to your website with Promoted ads. These spots look less like posts and more like traditional advertisements, popping up in the middle of News Feeds and on the right side of monitors like banner ads. Promoting your page lets you specify age, interests, and other specifics of your audience, whom you also get to dictate. If you’re aiming to build awareness or boost foot traffic, Promoted ads have the added benefit of creating “local awareness” by setting a location radius surrounding your business to reach locals and visitors.

Mind the red tape
Facebook revamped its rules and got picky with the “thou shalt” and “thou shalt nots” of copy on your paid space. Take its 20% rule: the text on your ad’s image can take up no more than 20% of space. A picture of your business’ front door that flashes the logo is kosher, for example, but a picture of the logo itself? No dice.

Be wary of your wording, too. Facebook’s policies for advertised products and services outline their specifics for every business, from health and fitness to financial services. Prepare to trim and tweak your copy to flex with the rules.

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