15 Facebook Post Ideas for Businesses

Dear Copy Bitch: You had a recent newsletter about status update ideas for company pages on Facebook. I thought it was a helpful article — is a digital version available so I can share it with friends and colleagues? Thanks!

—Susan W., Boston

Answer: Ah, yes. It’s summer. The web guy is busy drinking margaritas on the beach. So we’ll be adding it to my newsletter archive at some point. In the meantime, I’m pasting the ideas in full below. Enjoy!

15 Facebook Post Ideas for Businesses

Here’s how I see it: more and more companies, large and small, realize they need a Facebook company page. But most don’t know how to leverage the page effectively. A Facebook page is not another way to spam your fans. It’s not the place to promote, promote, promote. Why? Because it’s NOT all about you and your company.

Think about it — if you go to a party and you’re cornered by someone who wants to talk about only himself, what do you do? Exactly. The same thing will happen to your fans if you abuse them.

Think VALUE

I think most companies go into Facebook wanting to do it the right way. But they’re just not sure how. One of the best ways to use your company page is through status updates. But you have to be careful: these status updates show up in your fans’ newsfeeds, so the bottom line is that these updates need to be valuable in your fans’ eyes.

And that’s what stumps many businesses owners. “What the heck should I say when all I do is sell products A, B, C or services X, Y, Z?” Remember, value doesn’t always mean money. Some people value humor. Others value education. Still others value being involved in your company’s decision-making process. Think about your customers. What do they value? This will help you craft the right status updates.

Still need ideas? Not to worry — the Copy Bitch to the rescue! Below, you’ll find 15 ideas for valuable Facebook status updates that almost any business can use. Customize them. Tweak them. Let them inspire more ideas.

15 Status Update Ideas

1. Promote contests taking place on your site. People love contests.

2. Run a contest on Facebook. This can be a little trickier to do since Facebook has some pretty stringent rules regarding contests on its site (it also has rules governing the promotion of outside contests on its site). You’ll need to plan this one out, but, if done right, you can really engage fans.

3. Run a poll/survey. There are poll apps, but if you don’t feel like dealing with figuring those out, simply asking a fun, easy, and/or provocative question can work well.

4. Ask a question about your products or services. Remember, you’ve got some hardcore fans — i.e. customers — in your fan base (along with the band-wagoners). Retailers are especially good at this. For example, a clothing boutique might show two different handbags and ask fans which one they like better. Talk about instant (and free) market research! Fans appreciate this because they feel their opinions matter, which, of course, they do. (They do, right?)

5. Think holidays. No one is expecting Status Updates of Enlightenment every time you do an update. A simple, “Merry Christmas to all our fans” is enough. It doesn’t have to be the major holidays either. Did you know July is National Baked Beans month? The offbeat holidays can make for some really fun (and funny) updates and comments. A good source for this material is Chase’s Calendar of Events.

6. Think trivia. Every industry has trivia — and not just the boring kind, but interesting stuff. Do “On this day in history” updates or “Did you know…” updates.

7. Think quotes. An occasional inspirational quote — even if it’s not directly related to your business — can be a nice way to add some spice to the usual updates. The Quotations Page lets you search via keyword or author.

8. Think in terms of “the millionth customer.” Remember when supermarkets and banks used to make big deals about the millionth customer? There’d be cameras and balloons and an oversized check for $5000 (or something like that)? Make a big deal over certain milestones on Facebook. Do a shout out to the 100th fan, the 500th, the 1000th, etc.

9. Answer an FAQ. Come on. You get them all the time. The status update is a great place to answer these questions (and educate your fans while you’re at it).

10. Announce new product lines or services. Let your fans know that they are the first to hear about it. You can make a short announcement in the status update and then link to a page on your website that gives all the details (a great way to drive traffic back to your site).

11. Share video. People LOVE video. Remember, YouTube is your friend. You’re bound to find something related to your business. Or, again, you can occasionally post one of those viral videos that’s going around, just to do something different.

12. Broadcast your blog. Speaking of your blog (you have one, right?), you should definitely broadcast it to your fans. You can do it manually, meaning every time you write a post, you grab the permalink and then use it in your status update — along with a little intro.

13. Promote your vendors. Do a shout out to vendors. It could be a vendor directly related to your business or it could be a vendor who delivers really amazing service, like whoever/whatever you use to deliver packages. This info could be interesting/helpful to fans, and it’s a nice way to recognize someone outside of your company.

14. Think current events. Current national events or world events can be good topics to do a status update on. Avoid controversial topics — your fan page is not the place to endorse a political candidate. Instead focus on current events that everyone is talking about (such as a sporting event). A caveat: anything you say should be delivered in good faith, i.e. your company backs what it’s saying.

15. Think product or service names. Ask your fans to help name a new product, service, or promotion. On the AJ’s fan page, we sometimes do this when we get a new shirt in and we want a fun name to go with it.

Two bonus tips:
1. How often should you post status updates? This is going to depend a lot on your fan base. To start off, do a daily update. Experiment with your updates, and see what types get people “talking.” As you build your base and your community, 2 to 3 times a day can work (especially for b2c industries) IF what you’re saying provides some sort of value.

2. Ugh! I can’t do this by myself. If you’re a sole proprietor, get in the habit of going to your company page at least once a day and doing an update. If you have employees, share the responsibilities. It’s easy to make people page administrators (i.e. when a person logs into his or her personal Facebook page, the person will be able to toggle over to the company page in one click, do an update, and then toggle back to his/her personal page). Here’s a good resource that walks you through setting page admins (it’s easy, trust me!)

Need help coming up with social media posts? Hi. Allow me. Learn more about my social media services.

In Social Media, Do One Thing Well

When it comes to social media, the biggest mistake I see business owners make is starting a Twitter account, a Facebook account, launching LinkedIn, and a blog. What’s wrong with all that? It’s simply too much at once.

I’m a big advocate of the “do one thing well first” philosophy. Choose the social medium that makes the most sense for your business and dedicate yourself to it for, say, 3-6 months. Ignore the people who tell you that in addition to that medium, you can easily spend an extra 10 minutes a day on this medium or that medium and increase your reach. It’s a great idea in theory, and some people might actually succeed, but the majority of us mortals will eventually slack off. Slacking off begets more slacking off, because once you get behind it seems impossible to catch up.

I know this sounds familiar to many of you.

So buck the emerging trend that you must be doing all these social media thingies at once. You don’t. Choose one. Do it well. Once it becomes second nature, add in another medium (if it makes sense to do so) and start the process all over.

Doing One Thing Well – A Real-Life Story

I recommend this to all my clients, and occasionally one will actually listen to me. One of my clients is an online retailer who owns two brands, a western wear shop and a casual leisure shirt shop. When we first started working together she wanted to blog and do Facebook and do Twitter. I shared my “do one well first” philosophy, and she listened.

We started with Facebook. Anyone who’s created a company page knows how frustrating the platform can be (which is when I remind myself that it’s free, and I have no right to complain). My client and I read e-books and articles on creating engaging company pages. We experimented with ads. We worked hard to build a fan base. One of the brands did better than the other, at first, and the fan base shot up. We then brought on another person to help engage the struggling page, and watched as its base finally started to inch up. We worked and experimented and failed and won and tried again. We’re now humming, and both fan bases are over 1700 people each, which isn’t bad for a small business that’s had a presence on Facebook since late last fall.

My client didn’t bring up Twitter at all during this time, but we recently talked about whether we’re ready to add it in. And that’s when I heard my words coming back at me. My client said, “I listened to you about doing one thing well, and you were right.”

Warmed the cockles of this copy bitch’s heart, let me tell you.

So follow my advice: when it comes to social media, focus on one thing first. Do it well. Get really good at it. Then consider your next step.

Need guidance? I can help! Learn more about my content strategy services.

Marketing Resources for Facebook Fan Pages & Blog Submissions

Dear Copy Bitch: Do you have any resources on how to create a Facebook fan page and how to promote my new blog?

—Suffering from Social Media Angst in Annapolis

Answer: Sure do, Social Media Angst (okay, I’m starting to feel like “Dear Abby”). Check out Jennifer Laycock’s article called “The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket – Part One.” And check out The Social Media Marketing Guru’s “48 Top Places to Submit Your Blog.” Good luck!

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