Social media on hand with blue backgroundIt’s no secret to Fortune 500 companies, marketers and small-business owners that Facebook is one of the most valuable tools for advertising and marketing. And yet, so few massage therapists utilize the platform correctly.

To provide you with the top Facebook tools to help grow your clientele and revenue in 2017, we need to take a quick look back into why so many people are struggling with their Facebook marketing.

Back to the Future

First and foremost, everyone has a Facebook profile—and I do mean everyone. With 1.29 billion monthly users, the opportunity for all businesses to reach and communicate with prospective or current customers is apparent.

It absolutely makes sense to have a Facebook page if you’re a business. While most business owners understand that Facebook provides an immense opportunity to reach new customers, they fail to understand how social media marketing is different from using social media on a personal basis.

Facebook’s leaders understand that their colossal user base and the data they collect is gold to businesses and marketers alike. Facebook’s team also understands that if it does not consistently keep users active and engaged within the platform, the company faces a major problem in terms of revenue.

Many businesses become frustrated with Facebook marketing for a few reasons, including:

  • They do not see immediate return on investment when they post sales, discounts or promotional posts on their pages.
  • They immediately assume that because they have a Facebook business page, customers will find their page, like it and consistently engage with it when they provide little to no value to that potential customer.
  • They become distracted by shiny, new platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, and scale themselves out to the point where they are not making an impact because they have too many platforms to post on.

Most importantly, many businesses fail to understand what Facebook is at its core: a communication platform between friends and family. Users are not on Facebook to communicate with brands and businesses, which is why it takes time, patience, smart goals, and effective, strategic planning to be successful as a business on Facebook.

If you’re looking to excel on Facebook in 2017 and beyond, you’ll need to look beyond what you’ve done in the past and focus on what core tools Facebook provides to help you reach your target market. Here, we’ll look at three of those core tools: Facebook Advertising, Messenger and Live.

Marketing Plan on post-it note and white speech bubble, with notebook and blue background, and megaphone to drive revenue

Marketing Plan on post-it note and white speech bubble, with notebook and blue background, and megaphone.

1. Facebook Advertising

What most people need to understand about having a business Facebook page is that it is pay-to-play. As mentioned above, Facebook understands that users log on daily to interact with friends and family, not businesses. To make sure this remains the case, Facebook has a complicated algorithm that will only show specific posts within a user’s newsfeed if they frequently engage with that friend, family member or business.

The amount of content created on Facebook every day is astounding. If Facebook decided to show you every post from every friend, family member and business that you liked or followed, users would be bombarded with content and most likely leave the platform. Hence the algorithm.

Here is an example of how a business page might show up on Facebook: Sherry’s Mobile Massage Facebook business page has acquired over 15,000 likes on Facebook thanks to the valuable content Sherry provides daily through Facebook posts. But because Facebook has an inordinate amount of daily content flowing through its system, Facebook limits the number of Sherry’s fans who see her daily posts to about 1 to 2 percent of her total fan base.

So, on average, every time Sherry’s Mobile Massage creates a post on Facebook, only 150 to 300 fans will see that post initially. If the post starts to receive more engagement—likes, comments and shares—her reach may expand to 5 to 10 percent of her total fan base.

The rapid decline of businesses’ reach has become a thorn in all businesses’ side, from large to small. The social media tool Buffer recently reported that its Facebook traffic has declined by 75 percent over the last year.

Many businesses owners will be asking themselves, “If this is certainly the case, how do I reach all of my fans along with growing my following on Facebook?”

The answer is Facebook advertising.

Facebook has created one of the most effective ad targeting platforms in the history of advertising and marketing. Utilizing the data that most people submit when they create a profile page, like other Facebook pages or engage with certain posts, Facebook Ads Manager is one of the least expensive and most self-man¬ageable tools for business success.

But before a business owner dives into Facebook ads, such as through using the boost button, there is a significant learning curve she should navigate to learn about the different ad varieties and tech¬nology Facebook offers.

While we won’t be covering Facebook Ads in their entirety, there are a few critical pieces that you’ll want to implement. Here’s an order of operations you’ll want to accomplish when just starting Facebook ads:

  • Create an Ads account for your Facebook page. You can usually do this right from your page settings.
  • If you have a website for your business, you’re going to want to implement the Facebook Pixel. This tracks traffic on your website and reports it to Facebook, and allows you to create custom audiences to target your Facebook Ads, such as people who visit your website or a specific page on your website.
  • Create custom audiences. Facebook allows you to upload your list of email addresses into its Ads Manager, which allows you to target those specific email addresses or to exclude them when you are advertising for new clients.
  • Utilize Facebook Audience Insights. This is a tool within Ads Manager that allows you to dive deeper into types of interests, pages liked, and a slew of demographic data about your fans. This is marketing gold to help target specific interests when you run an ad for your business.
  • Lookalike audiences. Once you create a custom audience, Facebook allows you to form a lookalike audience, where they will create a list of people who are similar to who you are targeting and show your ad to those people. It’s effective if you’re not exactly sure who to target.

Utilizing this Facebook target¬ing technology will greatly increase the relevancy and success of your Facebook ads. If you want to learn more about how to utilize these fully, a great person to follow is Jon Loomer. Loomer is an expert in Facebook Advertising and provides easy-to-consume content to implement a Facebook Ads strategy.

When it comes to advertising and marketing your business, Facebook Ads is one of the best ways to reach your audience. Whether it is brand- or business awareness, lead generation or Facebook page growth, the opportunities to reach potential customers are endless.

Hand holding blue computer software window on paper speech bubble. Internet concept.2. Facebook Messenger

While Facebook is one of the most popular apps in the world, Facebook Messenger is a close second. Facebook decided to create a separate app for messaging because there are so many capabilities beyond just chat messaging.

Facebook seems to be integrating more functionality with Messenger on both a personal and business level.

Not only can users message their favorite brands and customers directly from their page, but you can now embed a Facebook Messenger icon on your website, allowing website visitors to ask you questions through Facebook.

In early 2016, Facebook also released chat bots. Chat bots are an automated messaging service that allows users to chat with a computer that has pre-canned responses. While this probably isn’t currently ideal for massage therapists, it has the ability to evolve into an automated appointment-setting program.

Preferably, you’re going to want to have potential customers and clients communicate through Messenger, because of capabilities like video chat for pre-session consultations, the ability to send money through Facebook Messenger, and future text message marketing campaigns.

Social media formula concept, with notebook on blue background.3. Facebook Live

Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. You may have noticed that more videos are showing up on your Facebook newsfeed, and for good reason. Videos are beginning to dominate Facebook and the internet.

Why take a picture when you can view an entire video?

Facebook realizes that the preferred method of consuming content is video, so they created Facebook Live. Facebook Live allows users, along with businesses, to live stream directly from their pages and profiles into newsfeeds.

Initially Facebook Live was a slow rollout to a test group of users, but as of late, the company has beefed up its marketing campaigns to promote the use of Facebook Live, and it’s available to most users and businesses.

Reasons to consider using Facebook Live for your business include:

  • There is significant data from Facebook that suggests users consume video at a much higher rate of engagement than text-only posts.
  • When a user or business goes live on Facebook, most will get a push notification to their mobile device, which is much more effective than waiting for someone to log onto their newsfeed in order to see the live video.
  • Recently, Facebook made an update that allows you to schedule a live video, which allows users to be notified when the video goes live.
  • Facebook Live is still in its infancy, and as it is adopted by more users, the technology will also improve.

Any Facebook business page can start using Facebook Live by downloading the Facebook Pages App in either the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Facebook pages may also use Facebook Live from a desktop or laptop computer. Once you’ve connected your business page, there will be a setting to start a live video.

Tips for filming Facebook Live Video:

  • You’ll want to make the video interesting. You can offer some short tips on what to do before or after a massage therapy session; have a Q&A for first-timers going for a massage; or offer some recommendations for self-care between massage sessions, as examples.
  • Most people think you can only shoot Facebook Live in portrait mode, but that’s not the case. You are allowed to shoot horizontally, as long as you start the video in that position. Once the video starts, you won’t be able to switch between the two.
  • You’ll want to make sure there is decent lighting around you. The video doesn’t have to be professional quality, but you’ll want to make sure you have a presentable background for viewing.
  • Keep it consistent. Your first video won’t be your best, but as you consistently produce more and more, not only will your Facebook fans start to engage more, but you’ll start to create higher-quality videos as well.

Facebook Live is a product that can effectively connect you with your fans and customers on a personal level, so make sure to create and deliver valuable content that addresses pain points and frequently asked questions.

Push Past Dabbling

If you’re fully devoted to increasing your business or brand in 2017, you’re going to have to push past dabbling in Facebook. Fully commit yourself to the available technology and opportunities it provides in order to reach your customers effectively. When you’ve fully committed to a marketing strategy on Facebook, you can then truly judge the success of your efforts.

About the Author

Chad Lio is the director of content marketing for MASSAGE Magazine, Chiropractic Economics and beYogi. He has created social media strategies for startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. His favorite social media platform at the moment is Snapchat, although you can always find him engaging on Twitter.