Facebook’s clean and beautiful design is a double edged sword for small businesses.  On the one hand, you don’t need to hire a web designer to have a page that’s both professional and functional. On the other, it’s awfully easy to blend into the crowd.  Here are ten tips and resources that will help distinguish you from your competition.

1. Cover Photo

Some of your best resources are provided by Facebook itself. Your cover photo is a great example of this. Too many businesses choose a photo or brand image and only update it once or twice a year (if that). What a waste! You can change it as much as you like, and it’s your biggest piece of “real estate” on Facebook. Use your cover photo for seasonal décor, to show off your new promotions, to advertise a deal or coupon code!

Look what we did for Christmas for instance:

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2. Pin Deals and Promotions

This is another resource native to Facebook, but it’s so often under used—or used in less effective ways. Use the pinning feature on deals and promotions WHENEVER you have them. Every single time (and update them when the deal is over). For one thing, people are not going to scroll very far back in your timeline to catch things they missed. For another, they will really appreciate the convenience.

3. Unique Visuals

Now, let’s look at some off-Facebook resources that can help pump up your page’s personality. There are so many studies on how effective adding visuals are that it’s barely worth finding one to link you to. There is zero debate on this topic. Unique visuals added on a regular basis attract attention. One of the easiest ways to add to your visuals is by creating quote/inspirational images.  Adding a completely unique image in the background really ups the chance of your followers sharing it. And if you’re thinking “I can’t use some fancy software to do that, I don’t know how,” or “I don’t have time…” Yes you do! Just head over to www.canva.com.  It’s easy, fun, and totally point-and-click.

Here is how we do it. Be inspired by these four examples.

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4. Engagement

When users interact with your page, it stands out.  And when it stands out, more users want to interact with it! So, how do you boost interaction? Well, some interaction will (hopefully!) happen organically. But why stop with wall posts, when you can entertain your followers and generate even more interest with a service like www.Binkd.com? Binkd helps you design and implement contests for your social media sites, and contests and games are a fantastic way to up engagement.

5. Use Your Analytics!

Yes, analytics can look boring, and you don’t have to live or die by them. But you might be surprised to see that a post you didn’t think much of did great, or one that you spent a lot of time on didn’t.  Knowing that saves you time in the future and helps you give your followers what they want, which will always make you stand out. SproutSocial is a great choice for analytics, but of course, you can use Facebook’s own as well.

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6. App Thumbnails

You can edit the app thumbnails on your page— but sadly so few businesses bother to! Next to your cover photo, this area is one of the most prominent on your page and it showcases visual content—which we have already discussed is important. But thumbnails are not always easy to come by, and unique ones take a bit of skill to create… right? Well, Fookes software solutions has changed that with a free thumbnail creation utility!

7. Value Add With “Personal” Posts

It would be great if just posting deals and promotions and advertising your brand were enough to make you stand out on Facebook.

Newsflash: That’s not the case. Surprise!

Facebook is where people come for interesting info and entertainment, or news related to their interests. You know something about your followers interests because they are interested in you.

Plan posts that address seasons and holidays, ask questions of your followers (What’s your Halloween costume this year? Send us a picture!), etc. If you are stumped for ideas, social media management solution www.PostPlanner.com has hundreds of status ideas to jumpstart your creativity.

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8. Games and Apps

Make your page more entertaining and informative for your followers by adding a few games or apps. It’s a great way to incorporate third party content, and it’s super convenient to do because it’s accessible from within Facebook. There is no need to go overboard with it, either. And definitely feel free to change up your offerings periodically!

9. Value Add with Curated Content

DrumUp is a service that presents you with curated content from all over the web based on interests and topics you choose.  Just as you plumb your reader’s interests for personal value added posts, you can do the same for posting third party links, etc.

Why would you want to send your users to a third party page that isn’t promoting your stuff? Well, because your followers simply aren’t going to sit around all day reading advertisements for fun, right? And there is only so much entertaining marketing content you can create on your own. What you can do, however, is become known as a resource for them to find other fun, entertaining content.

For example, if you sell snowboards, and your followers know that you will be posting links to substantial articles about competitions, innovations, etc. they will start to look for your posts.

10. Automation—Within Reason

Yes, automation, specifically social media automation, has been a big topic for the past year, and you will see plenty of people touting it as the best thing since sliced bread. But don’t use automation to detach entirely from your social media pages. Use it in conjunction with all of the above to add value to your page when you can’t be there, or to streamline posting. You can’t automate personal interaction, your personality, or caring for your customers.

Check out AgoraPulse or Buffer for some great automation options!

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