Love it or hate it, Facebook is still the number one social network and first-stop web destination for a majority of web users. Despite this, many entrepreneurs are still unsure of best practices for using the site to benefit their small business. The truth is, Facebook is one of the best ways to market your products and services, increase brand exposure, and offer improved customer service and engagement with the company. While it’s difficult to put a value on engagement, social media is a free (or very low cost) avenue for product promotion and customer interaction that should not be overlooked.

Read on for five ways everyone from company leaders to budding entrepreneurs can leverage Facebook for the benefit of a business and turn engaged users into paying customers.

1. Be Consistent

This is the key aspect to managing a Facebook account for business. No matter what type of content you decide to post and share with friends and followers, the important thing is to do so regularly. It is not vital that you post every day, but four or five times a week is a good goal to set. The best way to get people talking and interacting with your site is if you show that you are actively using the platform for this purpose.

2. Ask Questions

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What is a surefire way to generate comments on a status update? Ask questions. Everyone likes to give their opinion – especially when it comes to brands that matter to them. If customers think they have a say in new products or services, they will likely share their ideas or vote in any Facebook polls or surveys.

Online Trading Academy, a financial education company that originally struggled to engage with their following, decided to start asking questions about various day trading strategies. They received numerous responses and bumped up their page’s reach by the influx of comments.

3. Use Images

Photos are another great way to engage with users – especially those who ordinarily wouldn’t stumble across your Facebook page. Images, more than any other type of media, are likely to be shared across social networks. They rank highly in the main newsfeed and therefore are exposed to many more eyes than basic text updates, links, or videos. The more exposure a photo gets, the more engaged users will be with your page. A single like or comment on a photo will cause it to rank higher in that user’s newsfeed and boost exposure even more.

One successful Facebook engagement campaign with Online Trading Academy featured day traders at their personal workstations. The series of photos generated numerous “likes”, comments, and shares on Facebook and when one of the investors posted the link on alternate social media sites, it ultimately ranked second on the subreddit /r/investing.

4. Update Cover Photo

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Important actions like updating your profile picture or changing the cover photo rank highly in the Facebook algorithm and typically get pushed higher in friends’ newsfeeds. Most businesses and brands want to avoid constantly changing the profile picture or logo, but the cover photo affords more room for creativity. Try replacing the cover photo every few months with a background that is relevant and timely. No matter your industry, you can design a cover photo that incorporates the specifics of your business with a current event or holiday.

5. Promote Posts

If engagement still feels low after following the above tips, you can try promoting posts. For a nominal fee (seriously, less than $20!) you can promote a status update (ideally an image or link) that extends beyond existing followers. You can customize the promotion to include “friends-of-friends” and increase the number of people who see the post and interact with your content. Generally, promoting a status will lead to a couple of new likes and, if nothing else, boost visibility for those previously unfamiliar with the brand.

Facebook is an important social network for business. No matter the industry, regular interaction with followers and interesting, relevant updates will increase engagement and brand familiarity. Put in the effort to make your social media business accounts great. You will reap the rewards down the line when a Facebook friend chooses your services over a competitor’s.

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