If Facebook were a country, its 400 million users would make it the world’s third biggest nation. Every man and his dog are there, and you have an unprecedented ability to reach them if you use Facebook for business.
Before you dismiss it as being irrelevant to your target market, consider that over 8 million Australians are Facebook users (around a quarter of them over 50 years old), with an average of 130 friends each.
Still not convinced? Here’s a real life example of how powerful using Facebook for business can be. While watching my kids play Auskick recently, I overheard a woman telling a friend that she’d been buying great baby blankets from a business she’d come across on Facebook. Then and there, the other mother whipped out her phone and joined the Facebook page her friend was talking about. In the space of just a few seconds that lucky business owner gained the ability to talk directly to a prospective new customer on an ongoing basis.
If you want some of that action for your business, follow these five principles for using Facebook for business.
1. Have a plan
It’s vital that promoting your business on Facebook forms part of your overall marketing strategy and plan. Your offline activities, fancy new website and your Facebook page are not separate. They all have the same purpose: putting dollars in your pocket.
You need to have goals and formulate an effective strategy, just as you would with any other successful marketing campaign.
Central to your plan will be determining how you’re going to attract members to your Facebook page. Besides thinking about what you’ll post, consider competitions, Facebook advertising and special offers. Be creative!
2. It takes work
The most successful Facebook business pages are successful only because somebody has worked hard to attract members. It might be a different story if your name is Brad Pitt or Demi Moore, but soloists need to put the hard yards in.
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3. Remember, social networking is about people
You need to give in order to receive. To attract more members, you need to engage and share with the ones you’ve got.
If you post ad after ad to your members, no one will listen. But post a handy hint or some good advice, and you’ll start to see the number of comments and ‘likes’ you get increasing.
If you’re not prepared to respond to members’ questions and comments, don’t start a social networking campaign. The golden rule is to reply to every post by a member. The most successful business Facebook pages are the ones that actively communicate with their members and post good content regularly.
4. It’s all about content
Good content encourages your members to share it, comment on it, or like it. This is the real power of Facebook, and it’s not going to happen if you’re posting ads or blowing your own trumpet.
As with all other types of marketing copy, using Facebook for business works best when your posts are relevant to your readers, rather than all about yourself!
5. Keep your Facebook page alive and active
Facebook is littered with forgotten pages that businesses never update, and in many cases they’re still actively promoting those pages though their own websites.
As an example, I recently visited the website of a restaurant I was interested in eating at, clicked on the very large Facebook button, and was taken to a neglected page with a four-month old post. My first reaction? ‘Oh. That’s a shame. They must have gone out of business.’
If you don’t have time to keep your Facebook page alive, please close it down! Neglecting it could do your business more harm than good.
How’s your Facebook page coming along? Please share your tips, questions and comments on using Facebook for business below.