If you haven’t been watching tech news closely over the last year or two, you may have missed some very innovative ways you can – and should – use Facebook for business.

In case you aren’t sure if your customers are using Facebook, here are some recent stats for you:

  • Facebook has over 1 billion daily active users (Facebook Newsroom)
  • 95% of Canadians who use social media use Facebook (Mintel Data)
  • 59% of Canadian adults use Facebook, on average 9 times per week (Forum Research)
  • 71% of American internet users use Facebook; that is 58% of all American adults
  • 70% of Facebook users engage with the site daily; 45% do so several times a day (Pew Research)

Today I want to share with you some of the ways you could be using this amazingly valuable social media tool that you may not know about yet.

1. Call To Action

Facebook Mobile Call to ActionEarly in 2015, Facebook rolled out its Call to Action (CTA) button. You can see this button on any Facebook Page within the cover photo banner area, next to the page name, to the left of the Like button on the desktop version of the page or highlighted beneath the page name on the mobile layout.

You can choose of a number of CTAs and direct them to an appropriate page on your website, app store or any other location on the web that makes sense for your business:

  • Book Now
  • Call Now
  • Contact Us
  • Send Message
  • Use App
  • Play Game
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video
  • Send Email
  • Learn More

You can choose whichever CTA is right for your business, but keep in mind the growing use of mobile devices being used to browse Facebook and know that the Call Now CTA becomes a single-click phone call for the page visitor to connect directly with you.

2. Facebook Live

You can now broadcast live from your mobile phone direct to your Facebook Page. This has new feature offers every business the opportunity to showcase what it is that they have to offer. Own a gym? Broadcast a fitness class. Realtor? Take us on a property tour. Accountant? Do a little education session on tax tips. In a band? Show us a rehearsal. The opportunities for live video are as infinite as the types of business pages out there.

Here’s how you use it:

Facebook Live

  1. Navigate to your Facebook Page on your mobile app and click “Publish”
  2. Choose “Live Video”
  3. Turn the camera to landscape at this point if you wish – don’t change it after starting. You can choose to keep it in portrait view if you like
  4. Enter a description that accurately describes what the viewer will see. This is what will be posted to your fans once you click “Go Live”
  5. Point the camera away from you to capture whatever you’re showing; hit the flip camera icon to switch to selfie view on the fly

Pro tip: People will be able to comment on your video as they’re watching; keep a laptop or tablet nearby to see the comments as they come in and respond to them while you’re rolling. It’s a good idea to use a tripod/stand to keep your image stable unless you need to be walking around.

3. Instagram Ad Integration

Instagram Ad

Facebook ads are now fully integrated with Instagram with all the same target audience segmentation tools that have always been available in Facebook. You can now present single-image ads, video ads and carousel ads right within Instagram and take advantage of the features offered only to sponsored IG posts: multiple screens (Carousel Ads) and a Call To Action link.

Pro tip: Even if you’re not willing to invest heavily in Instagram, I recommend securing your business profile page and username, writing up a description, placing a profile photo, setting your URL and adding at least a few posts so the profile isn’t blank. That way, when customers want to tag you in their IG posts, they can… and you can respond and thank them for sharing their excitement about your business.

Side note: The Planoly app ad I grabbed as a sample looks like a pretty cool product

4. Facebook Canvas Ads

Facebook Canvas

Click for full description & larger image

Facebook Canvas Ads rolled out a year ago, but not too many small businesses have dug in and used them. They are really an immersive ad experience within the Facebook platform – the user basically navigates through a full micro-site for a product without ever leaving Facebook.

Canvas Ads are reported to load 10 times faster than the average mobile website and include amazing functionality allowing for creation of an ad in 10 minutes or less:

  1. Header with logo
  2. Full-screen image
  3. Text block
  4. Button for offsite links
  5. Image carousel
  6. Auto-play video
  7. Full-screen tilt-to-pan image
  8. Product set (catalogue)

Here are the full instructions for creating a canvas ad in Facebook

5. Facebook Pixel & Custom Audiences

Facebook gives you several options for creating custom audiences:

Facebook Pixel

Within the Facebook Ads manager you can create a Facebook Pixel – a piece of code that you copy into the <head> code of your website. This Facebook Pixel gives you the ability to serve up Facebook ads to people who have visited your website.

Once the pixel code has been added to your website you can begin building your custom audience for your Facebook ads. You can choose all visitors to your domain or visitors to a specific page on your website. The latter allows you to target people who have taken a specific action or viewed a specific product with highly relevant creative content to continue interacting with them after they’ve left your site.

Targeting Your Email List

Facebook allows you to upload a list of email addresses and serve up your Facebook ads to those email addresses that match personal profiles in Facebook. You must have permission to send or display marketing material to these email addresses and ensure you are compliant with anti-spam privacy legislation where you do business.

Lookalike Audiences

In addition to the custom audiences created with the Facebook pixel or your own business email list, Facebook will create lookalike audiences for you, which target other people who have similar geographic and demographic attributes as those in your custom audiences.

6. Facebook Messenger

Facebook MessengerFacebook offers an easy page plugin that allows you to not only promote your Facebook page, but also to let people use the Facebook Messenger app to message you right on your website. Allowing your website visitors to message you via Facebook Messenger gives them a no-hassle way of contacting you without giving away their personal contact details. Depending on your notification settings, you can get immediate notifications to your mobile device that someone has reached out to you. This is a great way to promote dialogue, increase trust and build confidence in your customers.

7. Facebook Video

Facebook Video

Several years ago I would have recommended you upload all your videos to YouTube and then shared them from YouTube into Facebook to increase the reach for that video content. Today, I offer a completely different recommendation. It’s no secret that Facebook has changed how they serve up videos now and no doubt preference is given to native Facebook videos than to links to external content when it comes to reach for business pages. Facebook has made a huge investment in getting more engagement from video content; you can see this in action with their latest video viewer that streams similar content video after video after video. There’s even a new Apple TV app that sorts and serves Facebook videos based on the viewer’s preference, which will further expand reach for this valuable content.