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There are certain parts of inbound marketing that rely heavily on social media – mainly when you are attracting new visitors and exciting current customers into becoming promoters of your brand. One of the most common problems with corporate Facebook pages is that businesses often see it as just another method to sell, sell, sell. Even though there aren’t many written-in-stone rules for Facebook, there are some things you can do to make your Facebook page more of an interactive experience and less of a Billy Mays infomercial.

The most successful brands on Facebook don’t use it as a tool to push merchandise. They know that people don’t want their news feeds filled with sales and advertisements. What these brands do extremely well is interact with and engage their followers. They take the time to listen to questions and feedback and they provide helpful answers that genuinely meet people’s needs and support great causes.

I support many great causes. In fact, I volunteer my unwanted opinion daily.

So how can your business start playing like these big boys? Try working these tips into your Facebook marketing strategy:

1. Post often

For small businesses, weekends may not count here but this is essentially a top of mind issue. The shelf life of the average Facebook post is only around 2-3 hours. During that period, your post will receive 75% of the eyeballs it’s ever going to get. Experiment with different times of day and keep an eye on your statistics to see what is more successful for you. For the best time of day to post, we’ve put together a nifty infographic to help you out.

2. Focus on engagement by making things fun

Remember that Facebook is a social community. It’s a place where people come to have fun, nurture relationships and have open forum discussions. By focusing on posting helpful tips, interacting with people and building those relationships, you can interact with potential leads without just being a product pusher. Entertain your audience while staying true to your brand.

3. Use the 10-4-1 rule

If there’s ever a golden rule to follow when mapping out your social media strategy, this is it. The 10-4-1 rule means that per posting cycle (let’s say one week) you should be sharing 10 pieces of helpful content that you’ve found that is relevant to your brand, 4 pieces of original content – be it blogs, infographics or even one liner tips. Finally, introduce one legitimate offer. So if we spread that out amongst a typical work week you have an original piece of helpful content every day (including one offer) with 10 sprinkles of extra goodness that puts your brand top of mind.

I had a cupcake this morning without sprinkles. This new diet sucks.

4. Use targeted calls to action

Whatever piece of content you share, make sure there’s a clear call to action for people to engage further. Whether it’s watching a video, sharing a post, linking to a downloadable ebook or something else, you should be focusing on funnelling that traffic back to your website.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a Like either – just don’t base your success on your number of likes or followers. The whole point of being on Facebook as a marketer is to grow your presence by building a community that is excited about following your brand. The more quality content you produce and share that people enjoy, the more leads you can generate by using targeted calls to action that drive people back to you.

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