Facebook is a wonderful business idea, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to start a Facebook business page or a profile and to begin “campaigning” online. However, many businesses make the mistake of starting a Facebook page, without first researching and developing strategies using Facebook that are meant for business. This can be a mistake because your time is money. Even if Facebook is free, you lose a lot if you take a worker from the job at hand to post on Facebook.
Facebook socializing, just by nature, can easily become a major time waster, as you will quickly realize that most people on the network just don’t want to talk about business. This is step one in starting your Facebook plan: determine your attitude and approach in advance. How can you avoid talking about work (a priority in social networking) but still inspire others to think about your success and your career?
The Most Common Strategies With Facebook
At first glance, determining the best uses of Facebook will be fairly obvious. The page can act as a secondary website page. You can list important information about your store hours, your type of business, personnel, mission statement, photos and location. In addition to conveying store information to newly interested customers, you can also take advantage of the quality links Facebook pages and updates will build for you—a major factor in determining page rank.
Remember that new traffic can come from any source, and in many cases, new viewers may first learn of your company from the social network page. So don’t be afraid to rewrite or reiterate (without duplicating) the specific content on your site onto your Facebook page. You can post information about the business or about your products, debuting new content within your social networking pages. You can also integrate all of your sites through Facebook, making it easy to find any particular channel. You should try to invest in promotional content, including public releases, and other company culture projects…just be sure to include more posts in the true spirit of social media, rather than constantly running advertisements.
More Strategies Using Facebook Beyond the “Norm”
Yes, this is where most companies stop when it comes to social media. They create a Facebook page, update it periodically, and then leave the rest of it up to chance. However, the most important of all business strategies in online marketing is the social factor. Social media marketing is all about socializing with your targeted customers—and outside of a business context. Ideally, you are projecting the image of success in your business, so that others will be attracted to your success, and thus want to learn more about your business proposition. This takes away the obligation of “persuading” your customer to do anything, and instead focuses on building the foundation of trust and getting to the root of the customer’s need.
So strategies using Facebook should involve a comprehensive list of activities to do involving making connections with others. This not only involves connecting to friends and friends of the company, but also going out and:
- Finding long lost friends, coworkers and other acquaintances;
- Finding Facebook Groups who have similar interests to your company;
- Posting links to news and articles in the Posted Items section;
- Posting photos appropriate for the company, even in social conversations;
- Creating extra fan pages for more interests; and
- Posting events and local content as a means of generating interest.
Understanding Specific Strategies with Facebook
You cannot truly begin a Facebook campaign (or at least not productively) until you have identified a strategy. A strategy keeps you focused and gives you specific criteria so that you can determine your next step and evaluate your performance so far. Of course, your ultimate goal is rather simple: you want to engage your customers so that they will start to associate your company as part of their life, not merely as a one merchant experience.
So it’s time to break down that ultimate goal into manageable and traceable parts. For instance, you could create goals of:
- Joining the conversation by replying to all posts;
- Creating threads that will evoke responses;
- Build relationships with regular posting customers;
- Get to know your buyers and take notes of their likes and dislikes;
- Gain valuable market research by taking notes about user behavior (you can also use Facebook Metrics) and asking pointed questions;
- Providing exclusive offers to subscribers;
- Making it a point to highlight the works of others; and
- Establishing a stronger online presence in search rankings, traffic and in-person surveys.
Now, you are working towards a common goal, and are much more focused on how you’re going to use Facebook to accomplish goals, rather than simply coasting on Facebook’s notoriety and hoping for an overnight miracle.
More Business Strategies with Facebook You Can Try
It is also important to consider other aspects of your Facebook campaign such as:
- How much profit you are turning in for the time investment?;
- Whether (and why) Facebook is your best option as opposed to other social media services (each site should have specific and relevant content not just duplicate postings);
- What measurable results do you have and how are you planning your future based on those results?; and
- Who is in charge of social media content and who will decide the agenda for each week or month’s work of postings?
Remember that social media networking is an online traffic generation tool—it is not a replacement for your website. Companies hoping to see a Return on Investment for Facebook time investment must first commit to devoting a full time schedule of social interaction online. Facebook works best when it is being used as a traffic generation tool, not just a second website. So, do your best to create events, groups, and to socialize and interact with other users and groups of users. Think inventively and help to create a community of friends who all have similar interests. In the end, the more active your page, the better success you will report.