Two years ago, when I first started working for ShortStack, I had only used Facebook as a person. I mean, I know everyone who uses Facebook is human, but I had never used Facebook on behalf of a business. Nonetheless, helping with Facebook was part of my job.
While I was trying to learn how to use Facebook strategically, I quickly found my way to Mari Smith, who is otherwise known as the Queen of Facebook. Following Mari was like going to Facebook college (I exaggerate, but you get the point). Facebook can be a very powerful way for businesses to connect with both existing customers and prospects but there’s definitely a learning curve.
Here are just six of the most important lessons I’ve learned about using Facebook as a business or a personal brand:
Mari Smith knows Facebook like no one else. She’s written books about it. She blogs about it. She teaches online training courses about it. She speaks about it at conferences like Social Media Marketing World. And as a result, she has hundreds of thousands of fans who turn to her when they have questions about the latest goings on at Facebook. No matter what industry you work in, if you want your customers and prospects to seek you out, your Facebook Page should be a place where you share all sorts of industry related news and not just news about you and your products and services. (Remember the 70-20-10 rule, or at least some approximation of it.) The post below is a recent example from Mari’s Page. It’s a very explanation about the changes to Facebook Ads. Notice how she breaks down the post into small chunks and explains what the changes mean for everyone who advertises on Facebook, affirming her status as a “go to” person for Facebook-related information.
2. Talk with your followers, not at them.
If you’re not having conversations with your followers, you’re missing the point of social media. Mari does an excellent job of motivating her followers to have conversations on her Page, as evidenced by the post below. Notice how she offers her take on the topic, and then asks her followers to weigh in. She also makes a point of responding to many of the comments and questions her followers ask her. People on social media are there because they want to have conversations, so follow Mari’s lead and talk back.
3. Show some personality.
When I first started following Mari I noticed she would often sign off her Facebook posts, and her tweets, with a “tee hee” or a smiley face emoji or some other tidbit that seemed a tad …. unprofessional (sorry, Mari!). At first I was convinced she had a young intern “handling” some of her social media duties. But it didn’t take me long to realize that all that sweetness and light is an integral part of Mari’s personal brand. And it’s totally, authentically, Mari. I’m not suggesting that everyone, or every brand, should force something like this, but there’s nothing wrong with having a voice or an attitude that captures the essence of your brand and sets you apart from the herd.
4. Stay POSITIVE!
It is very, very rare to see a post from Mari that isn’t enthusiastic. She might not love all the changes Facebook makes, but you’d never know it from reading her Page. Instead, she usually makes a point to note the change and then suggest how we can all work with it. There are enough trolls on social media as it is and staying positive will go a long way in keeping them away from your Page. On Mari’s page you’re more likely to see posts like this one below that celebrates a recent Facebook change.
5. Don’t be afraid to share other people’s content with your fans.
At ShortStack we’re fortunate to have a circle of Facebook experts who we happily share posts and information with. Sending our readers to Mari Smith, John Loomer, Post Planner, Inside Facebook, All Facebook, etc. etc. doesn’t dilute our presence. In fact, we like to think that having a community of like-minded folks whose insights we appreciate so much that we often send our readers straight to them only makes us stronger. Here’s an example of a post Mari recently shared. She takes the ever anxiety-provoking topic of Facebook’s organic reach and links her followers to a helpful post.
6. Have opinions.
When Facebook released its new Messenger app, users went crazy, complaining about privacy and demanding that Facebook allow them to remove the app from their devices. Rather than piling on, Mari pulled together a list of articles that helped her fans learn more about how the app works, how to change various settings to get more control over how it works and what permissions are actually granted. “There’s so much information out there about this app and it’s really getting a bad rap,” she writes in the post that’s embedded below. She even points out that a television news station (she doesn’t say so but we assume this is the clip she’s referring to) gets 90 percent of the facts about Messenger wrong.
I hope you can see from the examples here that Mari Smith has a lot to teach us all about using Facebook. Do you follow Mari? Is there something else she does well that you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.