Making The Most Of Your Facebook Page

PRMG's Facebook Page

Every business today needs to take its message where its customers are. Facebook, one of the largest social media networks with over 350 million active users, has grown beyond its role in personal networking and emerged as a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Facebook “fan” pages are now an essential branding tool for all organizations, helping businesses or non-profit organizations of all sizes interact and engage directly with customers or the community in a way that’s least interruptive.

Facebook pages enable you to create your own unique presence where customers can interact with you and keep in touch with your brand, product or service. By becoming a “fan” of your page, customers can access the latest updates on your “wall,” read your latest blog entry or event, and view videos or photos you may post on your profile. They can also participate in discussions and post comments or give feedback on information you may post.

When someone becomes a fan of your page, posts a comment or interacts with your page, their activity is visible to their friends through the “News Feed.” The social nature of Facebook gives your page greater exposure, allowing you to attract more fans and draw attention to your company or organization.

Besides these benefits, Facebook pages usually rank high in search engines, helping potential customers find you easily and own more “real estate” in the first few search pages. By sharing links with company-related news or other information on your Web site, you can drive more clicks and better optimize your site for improved search engine results.

How To Get Started

The first step is to set up your profile. If you already have a personal profile, just log in to your account and click on the applications tab on the bottom left. Select “Ads and Pages” and click on “Create a Page.”

Select an appropriate business category for your page and enter your company information. List your Web site’s URL and links to your blog or Twitter profile, along with other contact information. While creating a profile, think about how you want to project your company to your fans and what keywords you want to include in your profile and business description. Once you set up your page, click on “Publish your page” to make it public.

You can then invite your “friends” on your personal profile to become fans of your business page. If you don’t have a personal profile, it is recommended that you set one up first before creating a business page. Having a personal Facebook profile will make it easier to promote your Facebook page among your existing network.

What Should You Post On Your Facebook Page?
Keeping your profile active is important if you want to retain your existing fans and attract new ones. You can post regular updates on new projects your company may be working on, links to the latest company news, press releases or your latest blog post. You can also post events and pictures and start discussions with your fans, inviting their ideas or soliciting their feedback.

Using applications such as Facebook polls, you can gauge what your customers think about a particular product or new service you want to introduce.

How To Attract Fans To Your Facebook Page
To attract fans to your Facebook page, the first step should be to become a fan of your own page. This will ensure that your Facebook friends learn about your page through the News Feed. You can then also invite your own Facebook friends to become fans of the page by using the “Suggest to Friends” feature that shows up below your profile picture on the top left.

To publicize your Facebook page, add links to it on your Web site, e-newsletter and blog. You can even add a clickable Facebook badge or icon to your e-mail signature that points to your Facebook page. If you wish to try paid options, you can use Facebook ads to publicize your fan page to a select target audience based on demographic or geographic criteria or other criteria, such as profession or interests.

Visit PRMG’s Facebook page and become a fan to stay connected with us.

How Small Businesses Can Tap Into Social Media

Search for “Will It Blend” on Google and the top result will throw up Blendtec, a Utah-based company that manufactures a $399 heavy-duty blender. George Wright, Blendtec’s marketing director, conceived the idea of creating a video series where the company’s founder attempts to blend various unusual items (a hockey stick, cubic zirconia and even an Apple iPhone) to demonstrate the sheer power of the blender. The videos, which cost a few hundred dollars, were posted on free social media sites like YouTube and Digg, generating six million downloads and 10,000 comments in just a week. Following the first few videos, sales at Blendtec went up by 20 percent, followed by appearances on national television shows.

Blendtec offers a great example of how small businesses can exploit the power of social media to drive business results. Before the rise of social media, most organizations needed to either buy expensive advertising or receive media coverage to attract the attention of their customers. The Web, however, acts as a great equalizer and creates opportunities for both big and small companies to build brands virtually and interact directly with customers and other target audiences.

Today, most consumers look for the right product or service to satisfy their needs when they are online, and using tools like Web sites, podcasts, blogs, microblogs and social networks, you can deliver useful content to your audience when they are seeking it versus one-way interruptions through advertising or direct mail messages.

Getting started with social media:

Listen

The first step should be to listen to what your customers or prospects are saying about you by monitoring online conversations on blogs, social networks, forums and microblogs like Twitter. This will eliminate the need for conducting expensive research to understand your customers’ needs and perception of your brand. Listening will also help to learn about your industry and competitors. 

Using these insights, your organization must define its goals and develop a social media strategy to determine whom you want to target and how you want to reach them. Tools like Google Blog Search and Technorati can help you identify influencers and blogs relevant to your business or company, while an RSS reader can provide regular updates from various websites on specific subjects. 

Participate

Once you have defined your social media strategy, the next step is to participate in these conversations. You can tweet company news or events, leave comments on blog posts, start discussions and ask or respond to questions. While engaging in online conversations, it is important to be personal, authentic and transparent. Social media tools should not be used as just another channel to spread the “corporate message” but to put a face to your company and to build relationships with customers, employees and prospects. 

You can also use social media tools to drive and influence media coverage by connecting with journalists and influential bloggers who look for sources and story ideas over social media channels. Dell’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses offers a good example of this. Pinder, an online retailer of lightweight, stylish laptop and computer bags, identified and reached out to an influential marketing blogger, who reviewed a sample of the company’s latest laptop sleeve. After she wrote about the product on her blog, Pinder’s sales went up 30 percent. 

Sustaining conversations with social media tools takes both time and effort, but it can work wonders for your brand and company, if used correctly. As David M. Scott, a virtual marketing strategist and well-known author says, “Word-of-mouse is the single most empowering tool available to marketers today.”

*Sources: Dell’s Guide to Social Media

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David M. Scott