Utilizing Social Media in Business Part I: Facebook
According to Facebook, there are around one million businesses actively advertising on their social media website. When you compare that to the estimated 23 million small businesses in the United States, that number seems quite small. Using Facebook is largely free, with the exception of purchasing ads, which makes it a cost-effective marketing option for small businesses. By simply devoting ten minutes a day to Facebook, you can strengthen relationships with your customers and gain new followers. Is it really as easy as ten minutes though? How do you use Facebook to generate customers? How do you turn one “fan” into 10,000? Below are innovative tips and tricks you can use to gain followers, capitalize on the power of social media and convert “likes” into sales.
Create a Business Page
First, you’ll need to create a proper business page. Carefully select your profile and cover photos, as those are the first things people will see, and you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Your page should be engaging and should feature people as well as your products and services. Provide background information on your company, as this is almost like a second website. In addition, make sure to link your Facebook account to your website or blog to ensure that all visitors can easily connect with you on Facebook.
Next, you’ll need to acquire followers. Target current customers first, as they are already supporting your business and can help you gain additional followers through recommending your business to friends and family. Another successful tactic to gain followers is through providing incentives, such as offering discounts when users post a comment, like your page or follow you on Facebook or other social media sites.
Content is King
Once you start to gain traction in the form of followers, you’ll need to post content. Experts agree that engaging content is one of the most important tools in gaining and maintaining followers. As a rule, you should be posting 5-7 times per week. Tell stories about your employees or other customers and encourage your followers to share their own stories as well. You should also include photos that highlight various products and services. It’s always useful to show “behind the scenes” glimpses into your business, as this will “humanize” your company.
Posting 5-7 times per week can seem overwhelming, especially when you have a million other tasks to complete. The great thing about Facebook, however, is the ability to schedule future posts throughout the week. Facebook allows page owners to schedule posts in advance, which means that you can sit down, compile your posts for the week and move on to your next task.
Utilize Facebook ads to target potential future customers. While you have to pay for this service, it’s an easy, inexpensive way to attract potential customers. You can target specific people who would be interested in your service, thus allowing you to extend your online reach.
Small businesses thrive on personal interaction, and Facebook lets you engage customers you wouldn’t see face-to-face. Provide your followers with consistent feedback and engage them whenever you can by liking comments or responding promptly. Answering consumers’ questions, responding to compliments and removing spam is one of the most valuable ways of providing your followers with a good experience. The online community you’re developing is made up of current and potential customers, so supporting them is vital to developing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Partner with complementary small businesses by sharing coupons and advertising. This will create more exposure for everyone and is an easy way to increase your following.
Pay Attention to Feedback
Track user engagement and the results of each campaign you run so you can tweak your strategy and specific campaigns. You can track customer responses, allowing you to see what appeals to your consumers and what doesn’t. This allows you to maximize the impact of every post.
Finally, and most importantly, unite all of your social media accounts. This means that whatever you post to Instagram will also post to Facebook and Twitter. This will save you more time and will allow you to reach more potential customers.
Bottom line: By utilizing Facebook, you can gain more followers, furthering your brand and your business, in a cost-effective manner.