Twenty-one million South Africans use Facebook – and not for just a few minutes a day! On average, we spend two and a quarter hours a day on social media. Putting your business on Facebook not only improves your client engagement, it also gives you access to other Facebook users and anyone who googles you – all potential future clients.
Setting up a Facebook page for your brokerage is quick and easy. But you should plan to spend some time on it to make sure it is professional, easy to read and adds value to existing and new clients. After all, your Facebook page represents you, and sells you and your brokerage – you want it to look good!
Set up a Facebook business page
Step 1: Create a business or brand page
Facebook has personal pages and business, brand, or community organisation pages. Ideally, set up a business or brand page for your brokerage because this page allows you to tell people about and sell your business, rather than focusing on personal information.
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To create a Facebook page, you need to have a Facebook account. If you have a personal Facebook page you already have a Facebook account and can create a business page using this account and your existing sign-in and email address. If you have a different email address for your business, you can set up a new Facebook account and create a business page using your brokerages’ details.
Facebook has step-by-step instructions you can follow to help you set up your account. You can open a new page using an existing account in a matter of minutes.
Top tip: If you create a new page from your existing Facebook account, make sure your personal account is private, so no personal information is shared on your business page. You can do this in “Settings & privacy” on Facebook.
Step 2: Name your page
Your page name should be your brokerage name, such as “Smith & Jones Financial Advisers”. Names should be original and give an idea of what you do. Fun or personal names can be too obscure, and users and clients may struggle to find you online. So, keep it clear and self-explanatory.
Top tip: Do a Google search on your name to see if there are any other businesses using it. If there are, you may need to find a new name or add a location to your name, such as “Smith & Jones Financial Advisers South Africa”.
Step 3: Add your business’s details
This is a short “About” section that tells users who you are and what you do. Think of this as an elevator pitch – the first thing a person sees, and an opportunity to introduce and sell yourself and your business in a sentence or two. This is where you really should take your time. Write a short paragraph, think about it for a while, edit it until you are happy, and get a colleague or client to read it before publishing.
You shouldn’t make too many changes too often to your “About” section, but if your business changes, or you feel your “About” could be better, edit and change it.
You can also list your services (keep it brief) and contact details.
Top tip: Add hours of operation and any other social media handles, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as your company website details if you have one.
Step 4: Add images
You will need two images for your:
- Cover photo: The large picture on your Facebook page.
- Profile picture: The smaller picture inset into the larger picture on the bottom left corner.
What image should you choose? Your image, as much as your name, can tell users who you are and what you do. You may want to use an image of your office, or your brokerage’s logo, or an elegant business card (well photographed). You can also use a team photo for one of the images. Alternatively, you could use a lifestyle image, such as a happy family or financial image.
Just make sure that you use images that are royalty-free, or you could find yourself in trouble down the road. Sites such as Unsplash and Pixabay have images that are free to use.
Top tip: Use quality pics. Don’t stretch or skew images you download, and make sure they match your business’s image. Don’t be afraid to ask an expert such as a graphic designer for help with these images: the fee will be worth it.
Making your Facebook page work for you
When your page is set up, you can start posting, engaging, sharing, and liking – and building followers! It isn’t too difficult – but it will take some time and commitment.
Social media works for you when you work on it. This is key. A Facebook page with one post from 12 months ago doesn’t achieve anything and won’t impress clients or increase your likes and followers.
Here are some tips on how to get your Facebook page working for you and build followers:
Consistency works, so set up a manageable schedule for yourself, and ensure you stick to it.
You can schedule posts ahead of time, which means you don’t have to remember to post them at particular times. This also helps if you are going to be away – you can simply schedule some pieces that aren’t time-bound, such as why life cover is so important, or 10 things to know about saving for retirement.
Other ideas are: sharing what is happening in your business, such as introducing a new team member or mentioning a training course you’ve completed and how it can help you and your clients. You could even highlight an article from your latest newsletter.
Remember posts don’t have to be too long – sometimes a paragraph or two will be enough to get your thoughts across. But posts do need to be relevant to your business, your clients and any users looking for financial advice.
Top tip: Set up a yearly calendar and break it down into manageable quarters. Then commit to posting or sharing articles regularly, such as twice a week. Tie posts in with special days and months such as Youth Day in June (things to do with your first salary), Women’s Day (why women may need to save more for retirement) and Movember (the importance of cancer screening and how dread disease cover can help your clients financially).
Always be professional
Avoid commenting off the cuff, sharing fake news, unsubstantiated claims and personal information or stories without consent. Think before you post: How will this look, will I regret this in the morning, will I offend anyone?
Remember your business Facebook page is subject to POPI regulations, and general rule of law. Don’t share clients’ or employees’ personal information or give advice without conducting an FNA.
Have an opinion
As a financial services professional, you have specialist knowledge of financial topics such as how important it is to have an emergency savings fund or build life cover into your budget. Don’t be afraid to share your professional knowledge – in a caring, non-judgemental way that adds value to the people reading your posts.
Interact and engage
Like and share posts and say why you’ve shared them. You can also ask your followers how they feel about the post to stimulate discussion and engagement. Don’t forget to respond when a user asks a question, or you feel you may be able to help. Comment on posts shared on your feed and thank people for sharing.
Advertise your Facebook page
Tell people you have a page and invite them to follow you. And don’t forget to add a link to your Facebook page to your website and email signature.
Ready, create, post!
With some planning and time, you can create a Facebook page that will build your brand and reputation. Keep it professional, post regularly and your users will become followers, and perhaps even ambassadors for your business.