According to Facebook, there are more than 65 million active business pages, and most likely, your small business has one as well. Here are six ways to maximize the benefits of a Facebook business page in order to help engage with, and possibly increase, your customer base

Link your Facebook page to your website, or make Facebook your main online presence

No website yet? No problem. Many businesses use Facebook as their primary online presence. But remember, you want to build your brand, not the social media site’s brand. Creating a website does not have to be as big of an expense as it once was. There are several templates out there that make it easier today to give you and your business the online presence you desire. However, keep in mind, that some of them may not be very search engine friendly. It’s a place to start, but not one for an extended visit.

If you already have a website, make sure to include social sharing buttons so people can easily like and share your content on their social media channels.

Share relevant content

Your Facebook page is not just a place to communicate basic information about your business to customers. You can also post about news and upcoming events, upload photos and videos, celebrate milestones, or even share links from other sources that support your business’s message. Better yet, provide a link back to your website, if you have one, to drive more traffic to your site.

One important tip: craft posts that are relevant and valuable to your followers. With the information overload that many Facebook users experience every day, the key is quality, not quantity. Remember to post consistently, for some it may be once a day or more and for others, once a week. Create a cadence and voice so that your followers will know when and what type of posts to expect from your business.

Engage with customers

Your Facebook page is also a channel to engage with customers instantly, and in a two-way conversation. Monitor and listen to comments on posts and any customer reviews and be sure to respond. Reply to issues that you can resolve, and say thanks if it’s a positive post. With the Pages Messaging feature, customers can send you private messages. You can also send back automated or saved replies to customers who message you, and even note your average response time to questions – keeping customers informed, happy and engaged. Engaging with your followers will help your posts show up more often in their timeline. That is why it’s so important to share content that is engaging.

Create an offer or host an event

Facebook business pages make it easy to create special offers like discounts and coupons for your customers to redeem. You can also hold a special event and invite all of your followers. When people accept your invitation, it’s added to their Facebook calendar as a reminder. Plus, you can see who is going to your event and who is interested, so you can properly plan attendance. To get started, just look for “Offer, Event +” at the top of your status update field.

Advertise

With consumers spending more time on social media, you may want to consider this advertising channel. Ads on Facebook give you the opportunity to promote your business to a massive user base for as little as $5. To get started, settle on an objective for your campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness, find new customers or generate leads? This will give you direction on how to best target your message based on:

Location
Demographics
Interests
Behaviors
Connections
Then, decide where you want to place your ads (news feed, right-hand column, etc.), set a daily budget and start tracking performance. Be sure to monitor your campaign and optimize content that does well.

Another option is to boost a post. This features allows you to promote an existing post on your page to not only the people who like your page, but their friends and beyond. Just set your budget and target audience and Facebook will do the rest.

Measure performance

Rule number one in marketing is to know and understand your audience. Facebook Insights is a feature that gives you a look at who your followers are (age, gender and location), how often they visit, how many people like, comment on, or share your content, and what content is resonating with your audience. Take this information and use it to make future marketing decisions that will improve engagement with your customers, and ideally add to your bottom line.

Getting your business on Facebook is just the first step. The platform offers an assortment of features that can help you boost your presence and engagement with customers. Marketing on social media can be different for each small business based on your industry, location and customer base, so test the platform out and see what works for you.