Should you be using Facebook to grow your training business? In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons.
Facebook business pages in numbers
There are currently more than 60 million active Facebook pages and more than 200 million small businesses worldwide using Facebook tools, such as pages, groups or ads.
The latest stats also show that 48.5% of B2B decision-makers use Facebook to research suppliers (second only to YouTube)
After following a brand on social media, 91% of people will go on to visit that business’s website or app.
As we can see, Facebook continues to be ‘the one to beat’ when it comes to popularity and engagement, and it would appear that customers expect to see businesses on the platform.
The pros and cons of using Facebook to market your training business
Using Facebook as a marketing tool has many advantages – the users are there, people expect to find businesses on the platform, and engagement can build trust, reputation and sales.
On the flipside, one of the biggest challenges for Facebook page admins is how to build engagement without a big budget. The first step is to get people to like your page but to do this you need to create targeted content that people want to like, comment on and share with their wider network. Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithms mean that not everyone who likes your Facebook page will see what you post. People have to keep interacting with your page if they want to see your content but how can they do this if they don’t see what you post? Many people feel this is a vicious cycle for small business pages.
There are several ways around this. It’s important to be strategic about using Facebook to build your training business.
- Who do you want to reach?
- What do you want to say to them?
- What do you want them to do?
- Are you trying to build your reputation?
- Do you want people to click through to your website and book?
- Do you want to build your network?
By understanding who you want your Facebook page to appeal to and why, it’s far easier to create content that the right people will want to like, comment on and share. Once a person starts regularly interacting with your page, they should see your content more often.
In terms of maximising your organic reach, I’ve found that the best strategy is to be consistent. It is better to post on a daily basis (preferably several times a day) as, when you leave your page silent for days or weeks at a time, your organic reach can significantly drop off when you become active on the page again.
Using Insights from the Facebook Business Suite
The Facebook Business Suite shows you the backend data for your Facebook business page, including insights that will help you to identify your most popular posts. Are they statuses, photos, questions, videos or something else? Through the insights, you can see which content gets shared, what attracts comments or likes, what time of day people use your page, the demographic of your audience, and much more.
Recent stats suggest that Wednesdays are the best day for engagement on Facebook but you might find that another day and time is better for your business, depending on the demographic of your likers.
When people do engage with your page, it’s important to respond quickly and professionally – answer messages as soon as possible, like or reply to comments, and make it clear that there’s a human being behind the page. I think this is especially important for training businesses as clients are looking for rapport with their trainers.
You may reach a point when you want to consider boosting important posts or paying for Facebook ads, which can be carefully targeted to your high-value clients to make the most of your advertising budget.
Hubspot has an excellent blog about creating Facebook ads that work. Many businesses agree that, once you get to grips with Facebook ads, they are incredibly effective.
Create a Facebook group
The ability to set up a group on Facebook is great news for freelance trainers. Creating a group is quick and easy – you can make it open to anyone, closed or even secret, so you decide whether you have an open-door policy to grow your network or whether you want to invite select members in for collaboration and networking.
Facebook groups are free to create and run, and you are able to set the agenda. You might want to create a mastermind group, a group for associates, a networking group, a group for clients…the options are endless. Alternatively, you could join an existing group. I find that being active in groups, responding to questions and generally being recognised as someone who wants to support other people can be a good source of recommendations and referrals.
My top ten tips for using Facebook
Using Facebook for business is a topic that could run and run. I know a major concern is the amount of time that you can waste on social media, which is why I always stress that it’s important to be strategic and use any social media platform with a plan.
Facebook has a scheduling tool to enable you to schedule your posts in batches so you don’t have to be using the platform throughout the day. You can also use a tool like Missinglettr, which is how I promote my blog articles and podcast.
Another helpful tool is the Facebook Business Suite app, which lets you manage every aspect of your Facebook page from your phone or tablet – great for when you’re out and about.
Finally, I’ve put together my top ten tips for making the most of your Facebook business page:
- Check your notifications and messages daily and respond to each message
- Update your status at least once a day
- Like two other pages a week from your business page that will appeal to your customers (or even pages of your potential customers)
- Like, comment on or share at least four posts on other pages every week – this will help you start a conversation, build your reputation and grow your network
- Post an article that’s relevant to your high-value clients every week (preferably from your own blog)
- Ask happy clients to share their testimonials on your page or post testimonials you have received from training sessions
- Use photos and videos on your page as they are great for engagement
- To encourage activity, make sure that you tag a person or business when you mention them (do this by typing @ before their name so that Facebook gives you the tagging option) – this will notify the person or page that has been tagged
- Use hashtags so people can find your page when they search for a specific topic or find all the content you have posted that features a particular topic
- Use the ‘call to action’ facility on the header of your Facebook page to get sign-ups to your newsletter or free download, or to encourage bookings
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