With more than 800 million active users,
Facebook is one of the premiere social networking tools for businesses.
Additionally, Facebook indicates that the average user is connected to more than
80 community pages, groups, and events, which means Facebook is a great way to connect
with local consumers. Here, we'll talk about some ways that you can use Facebook
to improve exposure and communicate with customers.
Facebook Pages & Groups
There are two Facebook tools you can use for
your business; Pages and Groups. A Facebook Page is similar to a traditional Facebook
profile, in that you can post updates and upload pictures, but rather than a friends
list, you'll have a fan list. The primary difference is that Fans cannot post to
your Facebook wall (though they can comment and "Like" items you
post), so only your updates will appear on the Facebook Page. Any update that you
post will appear on your Facebook Page and will also appear in your Fans' lists
of status updates, which you can utilize to deliver updates about new products
and services or any other piece of news you want customers to know about.
Facebook Groups require that any members
must be approved by or added to the group, and there are a number of permission
settings to give you the ability to restrict access. Unlike a Facebook Page, the
communication options for a Group are many, including chats; shared images and documents;
and scheduled group events. Group admins can send updates to members, but because
the group requires effort to manage, it's often best-suited to host quick discussions
or other small-scale projects that require collaboration. For mass
communication, a Facebook Page makes for easier interaction.
Here's an example of a Facebook Page
Create a Facebook Page
To set up the Facebook Page for your
business, open your Web browser and go to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php,
where you'll find options for all types of companies and brands. Note that if
you haven't already set up a Facebook account, you'll need to do so before you
can create a Group or Page. Small businesses will likely select the Local
Business Or Place option, but if you have one product you specialize in, you
may also want to select the Brand Or Product page to highlight your unique product.
Depending on what type of Page you select, the setup options will vary, but
generally, you'll upload a photo, invite fans, and provide basic information
about your business.
When creating a Facebook Page, you’ll
be able to select from local business, organization, and brand options.
Create a Facebook Group
Visit www.facebook.com/groups and
click Create Group, which will bring up a Create New Group window. Enter the group
name and add members to participate. Under Privacy, you can select among the Open
(anyone can see the group and posts), Closed (anyone can see the group, but not
the posts), and Secret (only members can see the group). Once the group is
created, you can post, ask questions, add images, and create events.
You'll want to link your Facebook page to
your website and vice versa. For example, Facebook offers a number of social
plug-ins that you can add to your website so visitors can easily connect with
you. A Like button on the individual product pages will let visitors share the
Web address with their friends on Facebook. You may also want to create a unique
name for your Facebook Page with a custom URL that'll be easy to list (as well
as remember) on a business card or website. Note that you'll need at least 25 followers
to receive a custom URL. The Comments plug-in is also handy because it lets visitors
comment on the bottom of any Web page. If you're looking to help users register
for your website, consider the Registration plug-in that lets your visitors use
a Facebook account as a login.
There are a variety of ways for you
to attract fans to your Facebook Page.
You can add members and control what
type of privacy is set up when you create a Facebook Group.
It’s important to upload a current
logo or other business image, so that people identify your brand when they see
your Facebook Page.
Facebook Pages are primarily designed to
give you an easy way to interact with customers, so this is your chance to give
them a good reason to continue patronizing your business. A variety of
marketing techniques are viable here, including special promotions and links to
positive reviews. That being said, not everything you post should necessarily
be a sales pitch, or you may turn off prospective customers. Asking fans for
their opinions or having them vote on a poll provides you with some meaningful
interaction, as well as an opportunity for new ideas. Alternatively, you can
give your fans a reason to check in with your business by providing advice
about topics in which your business specializes. For example, an accounting
firm could cover common mistakes people make or deductions that are often
overlooked when filing their taxes.
Adding a Like button to your website
makes it easy for fans to follow your Facebook updates.
Maximize The Facebook Page
Whatever your business, there's a way you
can use Facebook to market your products and services. Keep in mind that
Facebook Pages are indexed in Google search results, so it also provides
you with another avenue for people to find you on the Internet.
Facebook DO’s & DON’Ts
Here are some key things you’ll want to
keep in mind when adding content to your Facebook Page.
Do add content to the Facebook Page that matches
up with the message you want to send to prospective and existing customers.
Do mix business posts with messages that give
fans an idea of the personality of your company.
Do post updates that keep fans interested in
what you’re doing, whether it be a new product or special deals.
- Don’t spam fans with commercial
- Don’t post images that are too personal
or casual for business purposes.
- Don’t ignore messages from fans or user