Half of all social media users under age 35 follow their online friends’ product and service recommendations (TECHi). What does this mean for your business? It means that Facebook is more than a place to share grumpy cat memes and photos of your kids. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is rapidly gaining momentum as a business marketing tool. While traditional marketers immediately might jump to ads, we recommend a different tactic.
Facebook accounts for 54% of B2B social media visits, but just 9% of leads (eMarketer). What does this mean? Businesses don’t just need to be present on Facebook; they need to be smart.
Yes, you want potential customers discovering how spectacular your business may be, but the way to accomplish this goal isn’t by just talking about yourself. That tactic doesn’t work in dating, and it doesn’t work in business.
Facebook Business Page Strategies
- Create custom tabs. Every Business Page has standard tabs (“About,” “Photos,” and “Likes”), but did you know you can build your own unique tabs to personalize your business. Create events; show off your free white papers, ebooks, or blogs; highlight your promotions. Customizing your page creates maximum impact.
- Post sharable content. This seems obvious, but it harks back to the “it’s not all about you” note. Be a resource; be inspirational; be funny; be thought provoking. If you’re a regular Facebook user, think about what you find interesting. Post with your audience in mind, not your sales goals.
- Share your own content. You know what’s a great way to show your business is an industry leader? Share your expertise. Quick posts with tips are great, but sharing your business blog, your published articles, your how-to guides, and other content marketing pieces can show off your business and your know-how all while boosting your SEO.
- Create conversations (and continue them). Dialogues – whether between friends or strangers – are social media at its finest. Pose questions and conversation starters. Read and consider the responses. Continue the exchange. People see personality when they visit your physical store or office. Allow that character to shine through online as well.
- Find your fans. Talking to an empty room isn’t any fun. Invite your friends to “like” your business page. “Like” other community businesses and organizations so that they know you’re online as well. Hold a contest where fans decide the winner or are entered to win something special you can offer. Finding your fans isn’t always easy, but when you put out the effort, your new “likes” will multiply.
- Utilize hashtags. Hashtags are admittedly new to Facebook users, and they haven’t quite caught on like they have on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other networks; however, we believe this is only a matter of time. (For hashtag details, see our recent blog on Twitter Strategies for Businesses.) #socialmedia #hashtagsforall
- Upload images & videos. Dangle something shiny. It’s a simple fact of human nature: stories with pictures get more attention. It’s true for kids’ books; it’s true in the newspaper; it’s true when people are scanning their Facebook newsfeeds.
- Send out “Fan Only” promotions (but sparingly). When you’re a member of the club you get benefits. Make your fans feel special by sharing exclusive offers, promotions, and fan-only event invites. Just remember that this is a tactic that should be exciting and rare. Flooding fans’ inboxes with specials too often just creates spam. That’s a fast way to lose everything you’re working for.
- Analyze “Facebook Insights.” With Facebook’s Insights, you’re able to see exactly how many people saw and shared each post you produce. You can track which posts gained the most momentum, and with that knowledge in hand, repeat what’s working.
- Promoted Posts. Yes, this is the one paid service we’re putting on the list. Our recommendation is to promote posts that are already having a positive reaction. That way you know you’re promoting something of clear interest, allowing a larger number of your fans to see it. Furthermore, you can use promoted posts to expand your fan base by targeting specific geographical regions. Pretty nifty if you want to put some of your marketing budget to work in a new way.
All this being said, businesses cannot look at Facebook – or any social media outlet – for an immediate ROI. Social media is more subtle. You build interest. You create customer loyalty. Think “If you build it, they will come.”
As of January 2013, Facebook had 1 billion users, and recent studies show that 80% of these users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook (WordPress Hosting SEO). It all starts with that connection, right? Don’t let your company be left behind.