You’re on the right track, so congratulate yourself. A lot of small business owners don’t even bother to create a page — they’re simply not “on” Facebook.
But it’s all about where your customers and future customers hang out. And with people spending more than 700 billion minutes per month on this social networking site, it seems pretty apparent that your business needs to be hanging out there too.
Let’s review your Page. Go ahead, pull it up. Your Facebook Page should contain all or most of these:
- Links to your blog posts
- Links to related articles (whether they’re yours or not)
This type of content is key in getting people to “Like” your page, and contributes to its overall success. And how do we define success? By getting people to interact and leave comments on your Facebook Page, as well as travel from the page to your company’s website and, of course, buying your product.
Facebook Pages Need Attention
If you neglect your Facebook Pages, they will die. If you use Facebook, you’ve probably stumbled upon a company’s page with no conversations going on and no recent posts. I’m guessing you didn’t click “Like” on that page. An unattended Facebook Page leaves a negative impression of the company — don’t let yours fall by the wayside.
The more you pay attention to your Page, the more positive results you’ll see. Cathy Nguyen, President ofLeatherandBags.com, has seen great results from her Facebook Page, but admits she could do more.
“Although I have a Facebook Page, I’m not utilizing it to its fullest potential because of time. I try to update when I can and should probably try to engage more often,” said Nguyen. “Utilizing Twitter, blogs and e-mails has worked, but then again, I’m not doing it frequently.”
People are used to passive marketing. In the old days, you could pay a magazine or billboard company to create an ad for you. Then you sat back and waited for sales to hopefully pour in. But those days are gone. Whether it’s you or someone else at your company, you need to dedicate someone to social media strategy.
Creating a Facebook Strategy
Maybe we put the cart before the horse in creating the Page without a clear-cut plan. That’s OK. Let’s develop a plan together. First, decide why you want a Facebook Page. Is it because everyone else is doing it? Or because you understand the value in connecting with customers who spend time socializing on Facebook?
Write down five goals for your Facebook Page. They might be:
- Create awareness of our brand on Facebook
- Get 10,000 “Likes” by year-end
- Have at least 5 comments or shared items each week
- Make Facebook one of the top 3 referrers of traffic to our site
- Get 2,000 entries to our Facebook contest
Once you have these goals, break down the tasks required to achieve them. If you want 10,000 people to click “Like” on your page, you’re going to have to expand your contacts through your profile. Post your page link on Twitter, your blog, your e-mail and everywhere else. If you want interaction, you need to post insightful and thought-provoking questions and comments. Decide how regularly you need to post (I suggest at least 3 days a week).
Now determine who will handle these tasks. It might be one person or several. If it’s you, post the tasks to your calendar so you don’t forget to do them. In time, updating your Page will become second nature.
Ginger Anderson, who handles the Facebook Page for Scripps Health in San Diego says that when she started handling the page, all it did was push health news. Now the Page offers a mix of news, useful articles and videos that frequently get comments and questions from the 900 plus San Diegans who follow the brand.
“Our intention is to build relationships within the San Diego community (specifically with current patients and employees) and position Scripps as a trusted leader in healthcare,” said Anderson. “We receive the most comments on the posts that are general and applicable to a wider audience as opposed to disease-specific. We try to balance serious health news with fun, general health and wellness related content along with stuff about San Diego life (again, making sure it’s not always about us).”
Just updating your Page won’t make it fabulous — that will take a little work from you. Here are a few tips to make your page more searchable and appealing.
- Title: Some say the title is the most important part, so make sure your title is descriptive of your business and unique on Facebook.
- FBML: Facebook Markup Language helps you create a custom landing page for your Facebook presence. If you want to promote a special event or direct attention to a particular product, this is a great way to do it. Don’t run screaming when I say that this code can make your page better. It’s not complicated, but if you don’t want to deal with it, hire someone to help.
- Photos and Videos: Don’t underestimate the power of photos and videos. Even if you don’t sell products, you can still add photos to spice up your page. If you’re a dog groomer, take “Before and After” photos of those precious pet makeovers. A realtor can add photos of the houses on the market. A services firm can post pictures from the office to help visitors feel more connected to the staff.For videos, why not shoot a tutorial on getting the most out of your products? An office tour? There are applications you can install within Facebook that will let you pull photos from places like Flickr. This can save you the trouble of uploading them in two places.
- Questions: The jury’s still out on Facebook Questions, a recent addition to the site. But by asking questions through your Page, you can start discussions that will spread beyond just the people who follow your business.
Once you’ve put together your strategy and have worked on it a bit, give it three months. Then analyze your results and decide: Is Facebook helping your business?