There are over 500 million active Facebook users. That’s a pretty big number…
The marketing potential of Facebook and other social networks are incredible, but creating a strategy that works for your business can be intimidating. You must always remember that social media is about engagement. Unlike billboards or newspaper ads, it requires a deeper level of interaction. It requires you to listen to your customer. It requires you to communicate something more than a product and a price. It’s about building a relationship.
I’m going to outline a few important things to keep in mind when using Facebook to promote your business. But before we dive in, there are a few things to remember. Facebook isn’t a substitute for a website. You should always have your own website that is completely branded to your business. A good website puts 100% of the focus on you and works 24/7 to showcase your products and services. That being said, Facebook can be a very powerful supplement to your online marketing. So here is a plan to get you started.
Create a Facebook Page
When promoting your business on Facebook, always create a Facebook Page for your business. Do not create a personal profile that simply contains your business information. There are many reasons why this is important. Other than looking professional, Pages have “Insights” ‐ statistics and data that helps you measure and grow your “reach” on Facebook. Also, some of the tools and widgets offered by Facebook are only available for Pages.
Creating a Page does require you to already have a personal Facebook profile. When logged in to your personal Facebook profile, you will be able to access your Facebook page as an administrator, without a separate username/password. You can even select other Facebook users to be administrators of the page as well.
You can learn more about Facebook Pages at: https://www.facebook.com/help?page=255100294550008
Setup a Custom URL
A custom URL will make it easier to direct people to your Page. Facebook allows you to select a specific address like “http://facebook.com/yourbusinessname”. To do this you’ll need to select a “username” for your page by going to https://facebook.com/username. You will have the option to select a username for your personal profile as well as usernames for your Facebook Pages. For branding purposes, you will probably want to use the same username for all your other social networks. Try to keep it short and memorable.
Customized Facebook Pages
Don’t settle for a generic Page! Create a Page that is attractive to your potential customers. You should provide enough information to generate interest in your products or services. You can setup photo galleries or post videos and other links to showcase them.
Be sure to include any information that might be important for your customers to know. Always include your address, telephone number, website URL and email address. Depending on your business type, you may also want to include hours of operation or a pricelist. I would suggest using your logo as the profile photo for your Page to help reinforce your brand. You should also ensure that any other photos used on your Page are sharp, clear and look professional.
It is possible to setup custom Facebook landing pages and require users to “Like” your page before they can access certain features. A web professional can help you establish these and othe features you would like to include.
Facebook ads require a small investment, but are very affordable compared to other traditional advertising methods. Facebook provides you with the tools to target your ads based on demographics such as geography, gender, age, relationship status, and even employer. It even gives you the choice to pay per click (CPC) or impression (CPM). Most importantly, you have the ability to track your ad’s performance. To get started, click on the “Promote with an ad” link below your profile picture, and customize the details for your advertisement.
Facebook Events allows you to promote your next open house, marketing event, product demo, or important meeting. Once created, Facebook users can be “invited” to the event and it can be “shared” by other users. This is a great way to generate some buzz about your next event.
Facebook Badges & Widgets
Never miss the opportunity to connect with a potential customer! Once they “Like” your Facebook page, you are able to regularly reach that individual with your brand and your message. Always include links to your Facebook Page on your website and blogs.
Go to Facebook’s Badge Page (https://www.facebook.com/badges) and select the “Page Badge” or “Like Badge” to display on your site. They are easily customized and include a “Like” button to allow people to “Like” your Page without ever leaving your website. Also be sure to include a link to your Facebook page in any emails and or other marketing materials.
There’s nothing like giving away free stuff to generate some buzz about your company. The idea here is to be creative and create an incentive for users to “Like” or interact with your Page. For example, offer a prize when you reach a certain number of “Likes” or once a certain number of “shares” are reached.
Please note that Facebook’s policies are constantly evolving regarding giveaways and contests. Be sure to check their Terms of Service before you begin any sort of promotion.
Content is King
Be interesting. Write fun and creative posts regularly. Make yourself memorable. You obviously want to make users aware of your products and services, but it’s important to use customer stories, photos and video, and other interesting and informative ways to get attention. You should avoid media dumps (publishing lots of posts all at the same time) and always maintain consistency and professionalism with the content you share. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and entertain users.
Remember that anything users might find interesting can be shared with their friends with one click. When users interact with your Page, those interactions are automatically visible to their friends, which can cause your post to spread exponentially –the most powerful part of Facebook.
Social Media Management
If all of this seems a bit too much to handle or you just can’t seem to stay consistent with your social media marketing, you may need to call in the experts. A web professional can help you setup and maintain your social media platforms. Some web and marketing companies offer social media management services to keep your business engaged.