Facebook has become a global phenomenon. You hear the social network being discussed
in everyday conversation, whether it’s in an office, classroom, or home. It’s allowed people to connect with each other anywhere in the world and is now a vital resource for businesses and brands too. Facebook is a virtual and free way for businesses to promote
themselves, reach potential customers, and communicate with existing clients. Once
you have a following, you can use Facebook to advertise new products, offer discount
programs, and announce company news.
Sure, Facebook may have been created by a couple of college kids for college kids originally, but today everyone and their grandmother is interacting, “friending” and “Liking” on the uber-popular social networking site. More than one billion users are active on Facebook today – including many in your community. Neighbors are chatting about the takeout they just had. Parents are recommending kid-friendly excursions to one another. Colleagues are sharing career tips and beach reading suggestions.
As a small business, Facebook offers a convenient, and often free, avenue to connect with potential customers, build relationships with existing customers and become a fixture in your community, whether that’s a small town or a worldwide virtual network of fans and aficionados. When people Like your Facebook Page, they’re opening your message to their own social network. When they comment on, or Like a status update or post, it will appear in some of their friends’ Facebook news feeds, sending your business viral – whether on a small or large scale. And when they Like your page, there is an opportunity for them to tag you in their own updates as well – again, opening you up to their friend list.
The Facebook Page: It’s like your personal account page, but instead of having to approve friends, anyone can come along and click the Like button, saying “Hey, I’m a fan.” Your Page contains information about your business (as much as you want to add). On your Page you can update your status, add links to interesting articles or webpages and receive comments– both privately and publicly. If Facebook users Like your page then your updates have the ability to reach more and more people as those who Like you interact with your Page.
The number one key to an effective Facebook Page? Engage your fans. You want the people who Like your Page to read status updates, comment on and even share your updates with their friends. This is important because the way Facebook decides what to show users in their news feed is based on whom they regularly interact with. If you want to be part of that – without paying for the privilege – then you need to be worthy of their interaction.
Facebook Pages aren’t for the lazy, but neither do you have to be an expert, or post to your Page a billion times a week. In the next sections you’ll learn how to create an effective Facebook presence and have plenty of time to run your real-world business.
Setting Up an Effective Facebook Page
You’ve probably already created your Facebook Page. But do you have the right information on it? It’s not enough just to create a Page. You need to create a useful Page that is regularly updated and managed in a professional manner. Start by making sure the information on your About page is up to par.
What to include on your About page
Your About page is where folks go to learn about your business. This isn’t the place for selling, but rather for a friendly introduction. There are many potential fields, but you should know that you don’t need to fill them all out. Furthermore, you don’t have to write novels for the ones you do.
For brick-and-mortar establishments, you’ll want to fill out the Basic Info section (make sure your page is classified as a Local Business) with your price range, attire, hours, services, products and payment options, as appropriate. These are the things that customers – particularly new customers – want to know before they check you out in person. Can they use their debit card? Or will the trip require an ATM stop first?
You should also include your address phone number and website so customers can find you.
Next, fill out the other About sections like Mission, Company Overview and Description. Remember to keep your words succinct but evocative – and remember that you are wooing customers, not petitioning for an award. So speak to customers in these sections about who you are as a business and what you offer.
Facebook Pages 101
Start by creating a Page. Go to your Facebook Settings page and click the “Create a Page” link at the bottom of the screen. While this link is on all Facebook pages, it’s easiest to get to here.
You will be prompted to choose from six identifying options for your page.
Choose the one that best fits your business. For instance, if you are a local establishment, choose the Local Business option as it will automatically set up your Page to include key business information like your business address and operating hours.
The good news? This can be changed. No matter what category and designation you choose, you can always edit and change the selection via your Admin panel. Now, follow the prompts to fill out information and set your Page to “live.” If you need more time to work on getting it just right, you can leave the Page offline (others can’t see it or Like it) until you are ready.
How often to update
Be sure to keep your About page up-to-date. Review the page at least quarterly to ensure its accuracy – and remember to update the listed business hours as soon as you change them. It doesn’t make for happy customers if your posted hours don’t match your actual hours.
Facebook Success Spotlight: eCreamery in Omaha, Nebraska
Check them out: http://www.facebook.com/eCreamery Created in 2004, eCreamery is an ice cream shop in Omaha, Nebraska, that also sells its ice cream and gelato for mail order via their website, http://www.ecreamery.com. The unique business has been on Facebook for about five
years, says owner Abby Jordan.
On the Page
On the Facebook Page, eCreamery shares pictures of their ice creams with short updates about them. They also share occasional links and photos of new mix packs available for mail order, as well as the custom labels that customers can order. The updates and photos generate many Likes and comments.
“It’s just a really great way for us to talk about our new products and to showcase some of the fun things people are doing with their customized labels,” says Jordan.
And with more than 6,000 Likes, the page is reaching many people with their creamy, dreamy mission while also finding new eyes.
“It’s a good place for people to go that don’t know about our business to learn about what we’re doing. It’s been a great sounding board for our customers to check out what others are saying,” says Jordan, who says Facebook has been good for spreading the word about their new products, press and other news.
to be continued ….
This article is originally taken from The Defentive Guide To Social Media Marketing by Skadeedle.