This is a post of my favourite – and what I consider to be the most powerful – features available to Facebook Page owners. I’ve also included some comprehensive step-by-step instructions of how to access each, so you can go right away and get on with implementing them.
Said wonderful features include:
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences
- Star Rating
- Pages to Watch
- Post Scheduling
- Activity Log
If you’ve used any of them, then good for you, they’re great – and if you haven’t, then prepare to learn some fantastically useful stuff.
1. Custom Audiences
Now, you may or may not have already used Facebook’s advertising platform. As it is, its extensive targeting options make it pretty great – but we won’t go into all that in this post. Instead, check it out for yourself – it’s definitely worth delving into if you want to achieve specific things like Fan acquisition, app installs, site registration, off-Facebook purchases, coupon claims, brand awareness etc.
However – even better, Facebook’s Custom audiences feature allows Page owners to actually upload their email database to Facebook, and then advertise to it.
Not sure why this is absolutely awesome?
Well, the people in your email database have already shown enough interest in your business to hand over their email address to you – whether that’s because they’ve signed up to a newsletter or they’ve actually gone ahead and made a purchase.
So. They may be interested in what you offer, but haven’t yet thought to come to Facebook and Like your Page. So if an advert for or post from your Page appears to them, they’re far more likely to be interested and engage with what they’ve have bought into than people you’re advertising. They’re much, much warmer to your brand than those who have never heard of or interacted with it before.
How does it work? Well, all you need to do is upload a spreadsheet of your email database; Facebook will then search its entire user database for any matches to the email addresses associated with its users’ profiles and create a target list for you to advertise to. According to Facebook, match rates for these Custom lists range from 50-95%, so it’s likely that a large portion of your database will also be active Facebook users.
How to create a Custom Audience
1. Log into Facebook and install Power Editor (this is a free browser plugin created by Facebook that lets Page owners bulk-edit their ads);
2. As the personal profile you’re managing your Facebook Page with, click on the cog (top left) > Manage Adverts:
3. Click on Power editor (left-hand navigation);
4. Click on Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience. A box will pop up, and it’s here you’ll be able to upload your email database (make sure it’s just a list of email addresses – no column headers or other columns).
Make sure you assign a clear name and description, because you’ll probably love this feature so much that you’ll create lots of Custom Audiences for different ad campaigns in the future.
(N.B. If you’ve got a massive email database, just upload it in 5k chunks – you could even use this to your advantage and split it up based on some criteria that’s common to each group, e.g. gender, or the kind of purchase they’ve made in the past – whatever you feel is most appropriate and might be useful when targeting in the future.)
A word of warning: When I uploaded to Custom Audiences for the first time, I got a weird error message that told me there was something wrong but didn’t specify what or even hint at how to fix it. Nice one Facebook.
After a bit of scouting around, I discovered that all I needed to do was turn off AdBlock Plus in my Chrome extensions. Just click on your stack of orange lines on the far right of your browser > Tools > Extensions > Disable AdBlock Plus. Cheers Travis Brodeen, whoever you are:
Another word of warning: Make sure you click Upload, as above. If you don’t, you’ll lose all your lovely changes. Might sound really simple, but it’s really not clear that you have to do this. Why don’t they just have a save button where you’d expect to see it?
Once you’ve traversed Facebook’s slightly tricksy upload process, hopefully with the help of this post, you just need to wait a short while for the status of your uploaded audience to change from ‘Waiting’ to ‘Ready’. This should take a matter of minutes.
2. Lookalike audiences
An extension of Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences allows Page owners to reach past the people in their email database to Facebook users who have a similar demographic (hence ‘lookalike’) to the email database you’ve already uploaded as a Custom Audience.
So yes, correct, you need to have followed the previous steps to create a Custom Audience in order to then create a Lookalike Audience – but this is now way simpler. Click on Audiences > your newly uploaded Custom Audience > Create Similar Audience:
3. Star Ratings
These were brought in just a couple of weeks ago, and to me, this is a really important move by Facebook – it’s their way of linking what your customers think of you offline to what they think of you online – and putting it right in front of everyone else.
(^ Just a little nod there to my favourite place in Leeds – it should definitely have 5 stars though, for the record.)
Customer ratings are a massive trust signal anywhere on the web, and are by no means anything new (I never make an important purchase or book a restaurant/hotel without stalking review sites first – yep, I’m one of those).I’d highly recommend that all Page owners allow their Fans/customers to rate and recommend them on Facebook. Let your customers tell your other customers how great you are – it’s the modern way.
I also suggest that you actively encourage people to begin/continue rating your business on Facebook in an emailout and/or Facebook post, or even onsite. It’s always best to link up your marketing channels and use each to cross-pollinate the other.
How to get your Star Rating displayed
If your customers are able to rate and recommend you, then it should be appearing automatically.
If you can’t see the star rating directly below your Page name, then it’s because your Page hasn’t got the Reviews feature enabled… Which is simply because you haven’t added a street address to your info. Here’s how to add a street address:
1. Go to Admin Panel > Edit Page > Update Page Info;
2. In the Address field, enter a street address:
3. Check the Box to “Show this map on the Page”
And hey presto – just watch all those 5-star ratings roll in.
4. Pages to Watch
This is another relatively recent feature that Facebook has added, presumably to ramp up competition between businesses… Page owners can now keep an eye on up to five competitor Pages, tracking how they fair against them in the audience acquisition stakes:
There’s no deeper insight available other than Page Likes for now, unfortunately – but I definitely expect this to change, and can confidently predict that Facebook will add KPIs like the Talking About figure and organic reach of the Page to this feature at some stage.
How to add competitors to your Pages to Watch list:
Your Pages to Watch module should appear in the admin panel, where your Page Insights module used to be:
5. Post scheduling
Now this isn’t a new feature by any means, but I thought I’d throw it in because it makes managing a Facebook Page and its content strategy reeeeeeally easy. It’s great.
And Facebook has recently updated it, which makes its inclusion here even more legitimate: we no longer have to go through the rigmarole of picking the day, month and year from separate dropdowns – it now throws up a simple calendar. Hurrah, because that was a bit of a mission.
One thing to note, you can’t edit the copy or photo/video attachment once you’ve scheduled your post. If you need to make any changes, you’ll need to delete it and start from scratch, which is a bit annoying. Apart from that though, it’s a really great feature that all Facebook marketers should be utilising the socks off.
How to schedule a Facebook post:
Just click on the little clock icon circled below – situated at the bottom left of your status update box:
6. Activity Log
Again, nothing new, but it’s important if you want to make use of the post scheduling feature, as the activity log goes hand in hand with it, enabling you to see all activity, past and future. And what’s more, you now have visibility on what posts are pending posting right from the admin panel, which is a new and welcome addition.
How to see your Facebook Page’s Activity Log:
There are three ways to access your Activity Log:
1. Right after Scheduling: Click View Activity Log in the box that pops up when you hit Schedule on your status update:
2. From the Edit Page dropdown the Admin Panel: Click Edit Page > Use Activity Log:
3. From your Notifications in the Admin Panel: This is the handy new improvement to the Post scheduling/Activity log – we are now notified of posts that are scheduled for imminent posting, right from the admin panel.
Handy, because if you’re in the habit of scheduling way ahead, it’s easy to forget what’s coming up, and when. It’s nice to be reminded every time you log in:
And here’s a view of the Activity log, once you’re in: you’ll see all your upcoming posts at the top, and then all your previous posts and two-way interactions below that:
One thing to note though, if you’ve scheduled a load of posts and can’t see them all in your Activity log, and are bewildered and starting to panic about where in heck’s name they’ve gone, calm yourself.
I’ve tested it and found that no matter what’s in your scheduled posts, Facebook only displays four at a time (whether they include only copy or copy + rich media).
After the fourth, there’s a sneaky little Show More link – see the screen shot above. I’ve been caught out by that one before – pretty distressing if you’ve gone to the trouble of carefully crafting lots of lovely posts, only to think that they’ve disappeared into thin air. I’ll say it one more time, Facebook: nice one.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my round up of what I consider to be Facebook’s most powerful and useful features for Page owners.
If you’ve got any that you particularly like using that aren’t included here, then I’d love to hear about them, and why you think they’re so good. Sharing is caring..!