Facebook has an enormous part of the social media space, and around the world people use the platform. If your customers are on Facebook, it’s likely that you should be too… or should you?
In this session, you’ll look at Facebook from a business point of view. We’ll consider ways of building a community there and keeping your presence fresh.
Can Facebook help you grow? Can it help you make more sales? The answer to that is multi-faceted and will depend on where your customers are, as well as what you have to offer.
Facebook is an internationally successful social media platform that, in 2011, had amassed over half a billion users. This is an enormous market for any business; if your prospects or customers are on Facebook, you need to establish a presence there too.
Businesses are not allowed to sell directly on Facebook. Instead, they can offer information, make connections, develop relationships, and share news by creating interesting posts, notes, and so on. We refer to this process as building a community. Some contests are allowed, but you need to check their terms of reference (which change regularly) to make sure your approach works with their site. Otherwise, your page could be shut down by Facebook administration.
Before you set up any kind of business page on any social media site, review your marketing plan. This will help you to make sure the page fits with your plan, supports your business, and is not going to take you in a different direction.
Visit www.facebook.com. If you don’t have a personal account, you cannot set up your business page. You might not want your personal information shared with all of your employees or customers, naturally, and you have the option to adjust your privacy settings so that people can see only what you want them to. This means you can set up your personal page along with your photo (perhaps a way to contact you), and that’s all anyone else has to see. It’s really up to you.
An important note about Facebook is that from time to time they change their privacy and visibility settings. This means it is essential that you keep an eye on their terms of service and that you check your account and privacy settings. As an example, in June 2012, Facebook changed every person’s e-mail contact information to a Facebook e-mail address. This outraged some subscribers and people were rapidly making adjustments so that their information reflected their personal e-mail addresses. You simply have to be ready (or assign someone on your staff to be ready), alert, and flexible.
Now You Can!
From your personal Facebook page, you can set up a business page that visitors can visit. If they want to see your updates in their own news feed, they can click “like” on your business page.
Your updates need to be interesting and capture attention. If they don’t, even people who have “liked” your page may hide your posts and not see them. This means that you are not trying to gather numbers. Instead, you must focus on developing relationships and interacting with your community.
Building Your Community
There are lots of ways that you can engage your community. Initially you may find yourself getting a bit frustrated with the amount of work, so we’re encouraging you to keep the faith and stick to your social media marketing plan!
At first, you want to get people visiting your business page, adding comments, and engaging with you (and possibly each other). Encourage them to click links to your hub site, if you have one. (There are plenty of small startup companies that include craft operations, family businesses, and more, that are starting out with just a Facebook page). Get people talking on your page, interested in your business, and sharing the link. You can encourage them to post recommendations if they get great service or like a product, post pictures of themselves with your products, and more.
You can also use the page to post pictures of your products, your location, the people who work with you, and more. Businesses will post information about charity events they get involved with, teams they sponsor, and more.
As the administrator of your business page, you will receive an e-mail each week that shows the interactions on your page. When you have enough of a community presence that you can start leveraging your analytic information, you can make marketing decisions based on that too.
Taking it Further
When you initially set up your business page, it looks like all the other business pages: the colors will be similar and the layout format will be the same. Make sure that you learn how to use features that allow you to tailor the page to your business, incorporate some of your brand, and to demonstrate the connection between the page and your company.
In addition to the business page, you can also advertise on Facebook to promote your page. Facebook has some pretty sophisticated advertising so that your ads are directed to the right people. Users will see these ads on their personal page, along the right margin.
You may have noticed that if you are visiting a particular business page, those will be the ads that start appearing in the margin. This is targeted advertising that businesses pay for on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. (Pay-per-click is a way for you to pay for your advertising as you go. You design your ad, supply a credit card number, and then assign a limit to the number of times you want people to click on your ad. If you can only afford to pay for 2,000 clicks, for example, you set that limit and your ad is pulled after 2,000 people click on it. As well, your account will be charged accordingly. See our course on Basic Internet Marketing for more information.)
Depending on the nature of your business, you can have several ads on the go at one time. Just watch your statistics because a catchy ad can get clicked on a lot! Keep in mind that if your social media marketing plan has no budget available, you cannot afford pay-per-click advertising.