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Facebook Marketing 101

Adding Facebook and other social media to your business' marketing strategy is great because they're free, reasonably easy to use, and not too time consuming. They can be simple and effective ways to promote your business, engage your current customers and win new ones.

Social media marketing is also growing fast, as more people from all walks of life jump into social networks. Heck, my grandparents are even on Facebook. Facebook is the second most-visited site on the web, with a member count that's higher than the population of the United States.
Facebook can be powerful for small businesses and organizations. It offers a place to build a fan base and communicate directly with them in public.

Some Assembly Required

To get started with Facebook for your business:

  • You need to have a personal profile on Facebook. If you don't, create one at Facebook.com.
  • Now you can create a page for your business. (In the future you will log in to your personal Facebook account, and enter your company name in the Facebook search bar.)
    • Alert: You need to create a page rather than creating the normal profile you'd create for a person. Profiles intended for people that are actually about companies will eventually be deleted by Facebook staff. Plus personal profiles, unlike pages, have a limit on the total number of fans you can have.
  • Recruit some fans. Ask people you know directly, or via the "Suggest to Friends" option on the page, to become a fan of your company. You can also include a link to your company's Facebook page on your website, in an email campaign, in responses to customer service emails, or on your site's page here on AboutUs.org.

Talk to Your People

The big advantage of using Facebook for your business is the ability to talk to your current and potential customers. When you post something on your Facebook wall, it will show up in your fans' news feeds.

Don't know what to say? Here are some ideas:

  • Let your customers know about a sale or promotion. You can offer a special discount to your fans on Facebook.
  • Link your fans to an interesting blog post, news story, or article that you (or someone else) wrote. Choose something that relates to your company's brand.
  • Update people about your company's news: an addition to your website, a new service or product, a great review from someone whose opinion counts.
  • Ask your biggest supporters for feedback. You can ask people to take a survey, or offer you feedback on a new product or service.
  • Host a mini-contest. Example: Give a free [your product here] or t-shirt to the first person who correctly answers a trivia question via a comment or reply.

Don't Shout: Engage

Facebook is not just a megaphone to tell people to buy your product or service. It works best when you engage in a public conversation with your fans. They'll comment on or reply to your posts, and it's important that you pay attention, responding in an honest, personal tone to each one. This process will help you build a good reputation and brand awareness.

People may post or reply to you with a customer service question or comment. It's important that you check for these on a regular basis, and deal with them publicly. The quality and timeliness of your response can have a powerful effect on your reputation not only with that person, but anyone else who sees it.

Facebook doesn't need to take up too much of your time. I recommend posting something at least once a week - several times per week is great! - and logging in to check for comments or replies even more often.

For more tips on using Facebook, read 7 Simple Facebook Page Tricks.

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