Facebook: Giant waste of time, or valuable business tool?
It is no surprise that I am in the latter category!
Have you seen The Social Network
? Great movie, it is hard to imagine that something as ubiquitous as Facebook only really started in 2004.
When business owners ask me ‘what is social media?’ what they most likely mean is – ‘talk to me about Facebook!”
For today’s business owners, Facebook is likely to be the first step on the path to understanding social media and how it can work for your business. They may have ignored their kids as they migrated through msn, bebo, my space and finally Facebook – but the sheer size, magnitude and influence of Facebook can no longer be ignored by business owners.
In 2010 when Facebook celebrated its sixth birthday it announced that it now has over 400 million members. That’s quite an accomplishment, as in 2009, the social media giant had 150 million users. For the stats minded – try this link
- there are 10 million users in Australia right now! That is an awful lot of friends talking to friends talking to friends!
This is the beauty and power of Facebook and why you should be seriously considering it for your business. Your competitors already are!
So some FB basics:
1. When setting up your business on Facebook, make sure you set up a page and not just a profile! It is breaching Facebook guidelines for businesses to operate on Facebook as an individual – so make sure you read the guidelines!
2. A profile page is you personally interacting with friends, family and various pages you like on Facebook. You need to approve people as ‘your friend’ before they see any of your information or status updates depending on your privacy status.
3. A business page allows people to LIKE YOU, which means that each time you update your Facebook page with all the great stuff going on in your business they see it! It also means that you do not need to see the personal lives of each and every single one of your likers filling up your business page!
4. Be mindful that at any time FB can change their rules, change their interface (which they do a lot!), and change the way you can set up you page – nothing to be worried about – just something to be aware of. It is not like a website where you control the content and display yourself.
Once you have set up your page, what do you do with it!
1. Tell all your friends to like your business. Tell your staff and your family – this kicks off the chain reaction of people seeing that Mary Smith likes Style – The essential guide for… on Facebook. This enables all Mary’s friends to perhaps click on that link to find out all about this new page that she likes!
2. Create a Welcome tab for new likers to see – you may need a hand with this to have a really groovy one done that best promotes your business.
3. Link your Facebook page at your website – put the link to Facebook in your email signature – spread the word.
4. Think about a Facebook ad campaign – this is going to allow you to target a very specific demographic who would be interested in your business based around what that Facebook user has indicated as being a like or merely an item that they have commented on.
5. Tag people and pages – expand your conversation with others.
6. Don’t just promote yourself all the time, comment on newsworthy items, give SHOUT OUTS to clients or businesses (again using tagging!) to recognise what they are doing well.
7. Be polite and honest. Once a comment is in the public domain – it is out there! So choose your words wisely.
We find many clients find the initial setup and process a little daunting – especially if they are not a Facebook user themselves, don’t be daunted! If you are stuck or worried, talk to your webdeveloper, teenage son or daughter or a trusted friend who may be more into facebooking than you.
We normally find that once technical items are taken care of and some basic how to’s are provided – they are off and running and promoting their businesses to engaged and interested customers in no time!