Facebook & Your Business
|Facebook®, a social networking website located at http://www.facebook.com/, has recently gained popularity as an online tool to help market businesses. Accessible via the Web or the latest generation of smart cell phones and PDAs, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share ideas and make the world more open and connected.Because of the large number of users visiting this social platform, many businesses have turned to Facebook as a way to connect to potential customers. This can be done with a Facebook Fan page.A Facebook Fan Pages’ audience consists of “Fans.” These are the Facebook users who have elected to ‘Become A Fan’ of your business in order to receive updates about your business. The updates show up on that Facebook user’s “wall” (a wall is a Facebook user’s profile page) as they are added to the Fan Page. Many popular business Fan pages, including Victoria’s Secret®, Toyota®, and Starbucks®, have thousands or tens of thousands of users who display Fan page updates on their walls.
Determining exactly how you might want to use Facebook for your business is the first step to take. A plan should be in place before you even set up an account.
Should I Use Facebook for My Business?
1. Upkeep: Setting up a Facebook account “just to be on it” is not useful. Social media is a continuous process that requires regular attention. Think of it as starting a conversation with your customers and “friends” of your customers. You don’t want to just “go quiet” mid conversation. You will not attract new visitors or keep your current Fans coming back if you don’t keep your Facebook Fan Page updated on a regular basis.
2. Time: Once you decide to use Facebook as a marketing platform, another consideration is how much time you should spend making the most of this marketing tool. Though it can be a useful tool, generating fresh content and keeping the page updated can be time consuming.
3. Fresh Content: Keeping your page updated with fresh, original content will keep your current Fans coming back and can also attract new Fans: Your updates will be visible to their friends and family on your Fan’s wall and may entice them to visit your site and also become a Fan.
4. Monitoring the Discussion: You will also need to be able to monitor your wall and discussion boards to address and feedback your Fans are posting to your Facebook Page. Unaddressed or unnoticed issues can create more of a headache and is something you will need monitor consistently and be able to respond quickly.
5. Fan = Customer? Businesses should also be aware that a Fan doesn’t equal an active customer. Many people who become Fans of a page are simply saying, “I like this.” Facebook Fans don’t necessarily interact with the company more or increase their level of spend.
6. Strategy: For Facebook to make sense for your business, you should target a specific goal that’s relatable to your business strategy. Such a goal might be, “I want to increase revenue by 15% in 25-34 year olds.” Then you could decide whether Facebook is one of the right platforms to reach your business demographic or if you should be spending your marketing efforts elsewhere.
1. Use Facebook for your business only with a Fan Page: Business accounts are easily set up by creating a page without setting up a personal profile first. This can be preferable to some people who don’t want to provide a lot of personal information to get started. To create this type of account, just click on the link “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.” This will give you access to your Fan pages. From here you may also administer an ad campaign. However, this type of account (where you haven’t provided your information) will provide only limited access to your Fans’ profiles and other features on the site. (Facebook Help Center FAQs on Business Accounts)
2. Using Facebook for personal and business: Many people already have a personal profile they use to connect with family and friends. If you already have a personal account, you just need to create a Fan Page for your business. Facebook is set up to be tied closely to your personal profile and your business page, so you many want to update the privacy settings on your personal profile to ensure you don’t have any potentially embarrassing photos visible to business contacts. You can use Facebook Profile Privacy Settings to make updates.
3. Using Facebook for your business with a personal profile and Fan Page: If you haven’t signed up for a personal profile yet, you can start one. Keep your business in mind. In other words, don’t include personal pictures or personal information that’s not relevant to your business contacts. You can use this page as a professional networking source and add a Fan Page to create greater awareness of your business.
Fan Page Setup
1. Fan Page Name – When naming your Fan page, keep branding efforts in mind. If you have been promoting your company with a particular name, you should use that as your Fan Page name as well. Also, use spaces and full words while entering your business name. Your business will be easier to find when people do a search for your company on Facebook or in search engine such as Google®, both of which may be helpful as you manage your online reputation.
2. Link to Twitter® – If you have a Twitter account already, you can link your Fan Page to your Twitter account. This will add your updates, links, photos, notes and events to Twitter and allow your Twitter Followers to view all your Facebook information. Keep in mind that the content on your Fan Page should be unique so your Fans will keep coming back and not just become a Fan and forget about you. The same applies to your Twitter account. Having unique content on both Facebook and Twitter can keep your Fans and Followers engaged.
3. Photo – You want people to know it’s your page with they arrive. Adding your logo as a photo to your Fan Page helps brand your Facebook Fan Page and can bring more awareness to your brand.
4. About – The next step is editing your page and providing useful information to let your people know who you are and what your mission is. You can list other ways people can connect with you: through your main website, blog, and social profiles you maintain.
5. Adding Content – Utilize the other Facebook tabs to add more content to your Fan Page. Changing these settings is only a matter of checking or un-checking a box on the Edit Page section of your Facebook Fan Page.
Wall – This tab is for viewing your recent activities and what your Fans are posting. If you are worried about what people will say when they add comments, you can limit what your Fans can post in the Fan Permissions area of the Wall Settings. However, not allowing comments might make them feel less connected with your Page and your business.
6. Other ways to add more content: You can use your Fan Page to connect with your customers and keep them engaged. Here are a few ways that you can add content to your Facebook page:
Content you create: Post details about business events in the Facebook events tab or display exclusive discounts to your Facebook Fans. Provide helpful information about topics that are on the mind of your ideal customer. You can include intriguing details about your products or services, but don’t get too “salesy” or your Fans will feel “marketed to” and leave.
Auto Generated Content: You can include RSS (really simple syndication) feeds from your Blog(s) and Twitter® account. This will automatically insert the content from your blog posts and tweets into your Facebook page. This can help you to keep your content updated and help show activity on your site. Constant activity on your Facebook page can help your Fan Page rank higher in organic search engine results. However, you do want to be careful about having too much of the same information on a blog, twitter and Facebook. Having some information unique to Facebook will help entice your fans to return to your Facebook page.
Content your Fans create: There are many ways to encourage your fans to interact with your Fan Page, including discussion boards, surveys, and reviews of your products and services. Giving your visitors the ability to voice their questions and opinions on your Fan Page can keep them engaged and connected to your business. It may also give you more insight into your consumer’s wants and needs.
Once your company’s Facebook profile is set up and you have added some information, it is a good time to begin building an audience of Fans. This should be done both on and off Facebook. This can be done in a number of ways:
Link to your company’s Facebook Fan Page on your home page of your company website.
Word-of-mouth marketing and the many avenues available for customer engagement means that businesses can leverage their current, loyal customer base to help market their business to other potential consumers. For example, if you provide interesting content, other users will share your posts with others, who can pass along the information to even more Facebook users. This can build new readership and attract new Fans. Here are a few rules to play by now that you’re in Social Media Relations:
Play nice: What you publish on the Web, even though it can be deleted from Facebook, will still be archived permanently somewhere. Just as maintaining a reputation as a friendly source for helpful information can be good for business, negativity can have the opposite effect. Incendiary or extreme statements, heavy-handed marketing, or disrespectful language don’t go far on Facebook or in any social media venue.
If you have any questions, or if you would like for LCH-Marketing to set up a Facebook Fan Page for your business, contact your Account Manager at any time. We will be happy to help.