Ah Facebook, how we love thee.
Originally a social network, Facebook is now also a professional network, and one of the best ways to convert potential customers into actual customers. Most of you likely use Facebook staying in touch with friends and family, but how many of you are correctly and effectively using Facebook to make connections with, and keep in contact with potential customers or other business and professional contacts? Facebook boasts an average of 500,000 active users. This is a captive audience, and one that you should really be making an active part of your web marketing campaign.
How to use Facebook for your business
First of all, don’t use your personal profile for your business. Set up a business page, with your exact business name. Your personal profile is inevitably going to be way too personal for the general public, and it will become confusing for your “friends.” The best way to do this is to set your existing personal account to private, and create a business page. This is nice because you have one login and password to remember and toggle back and forth between your personal account and your business page, using your account settings at the top, right hand corner of your screen.
You also need to completely fill out the business profile information, including links to your website(s) and add a profile picture. Remember that this is yet another opportunity for you to present your brand, and also to optimize your Facebook business page for search engines. Use good keywords and content that is similar to what appears on your own website to describe your business. Your profile picture should be your logo, or your business name, and should look like what you have on other web marketing sites or printable materials. You also should upload other photos related to your business or your industry. These will appear across the top of your business page, furthering the branding message.
Lastly, don’t forget to edit your setting so everyone who likes you can contribute to your posts and your conversations. Don’t shut your fans out!
Acquiring fans will take time. Start by inviting your own friends to “like” your business page, and ask that they invite their friends. But don’t be too pushy. They either will or they won’t, and don’t take it personally if they don’t.
Don’t forget to generate some Facebook code to put a “like” button for your website, blog, emails, newsletters, and so-on. There are many options and good instructions for using. Give your customers and other contacts you connect with outside of Facebook the opportunity to connect within Facebook. Also, engage with other businesses that are relevant to your business. It shows you are a team player, and what a great way to get noticed by THEIR fans! Using offers and other incentives, like offering great content only available on Facebook, is a great way to get people to “like” you. But then make sure to follow through and use incentives and generate great content!
How to generate great content
None of this is going to matter if you don’t generate appropriate, engaging content and conversation. While this IS a business page, with the ultimate goal of gaining customers and increasing brand recognition, it is VITAL to find a balance between advertising your business and creating content that is relevant to your business AND relevant to your followers. The Social Fresh Academy has a great paper that gives tips to generating content. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to generate good content:
1. Be genuine. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know your customers, and for them to get to know you. Create and build brand loyalty and trust. So remember the 80/20 rule – 80% for the fans, and 20% advertising for you.
2. Be short and to the point, and be excited about what you are posting! Yeah!
3. Post images and other media, and ask questions about them, or ask people to comment on what they like or dislike about it in order to generate ongoing conversation. This should be about something relevant to your business that is also relevant to follower’s lives. For example, I might post the album cover of Adele’s new album and ask how my followers like the font or other graphic.
4. Offer contests, deals, and promotions that are exclusive for Facebook fans (but make sure to consult the Facebook rules for this!).
5. Ask for submissions for top 10 lists that are relevant to your industry. For example, “What is your favorite website? I’m compiling a top 10 list!” Or, “What is on your list of most un-appetizing food logos?”
6. Talk about Facebook! Studies are showing that one of the most favorite things people like to talk about on Facebook, is Facebook!
There are so many more ways to generate great content, but remember – be relevant and engage! In addition to that, make sure what you post includes some sort of call to action. Facebook keeps track of your posts and how much people are interacting with them. If you don’t get interaction, (and “likes” on your posts don’t count) then Facebook removes your post from the news feed, and people will be less likely to see it unless they go directly to your wall.
Like I said before, this is likely a very long process that needs to be well thought out and well executed. I’m still in the process myself, but statistically speaking, I know that devoting the time and energy to this will pay off for me, as it will for you. So, first off, get yourself a business page. Make sure to fill out all the profile information and use photos and media to your advantage. Invite people to “like” you, and generate great content! This is really just the beginning of what Facebook has to offer. I am learning more every day about the capabilities of Facebook customization and paid advertising, and what it can do for your business and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Need help or more information on setting up a business page? Need help customizing a “like” button? “Like” me on Facebook and I will do it for you for free!