Top 15 Tips on how to use Facebook to Market the Small Business

June 16, 2011

Facebook has become omnipresent, or ubiquitous if you prefer, in every day life and society as a whole!! Facebook has become a fundamental strand in the tapestry of our culture. Originally Facebook was created and developed as a social media tool for the individual to network online with friends, associates and acquaintances. And then it became a business to business marketing tool with the big blue chip brands being the early adopters to strengthen brand awareness and brand loyalty. With more than 600 million active users globally Facebook’s traffic statistics are truly incredible!! If Facebook were a country it would be the third biggest in terms of population!! One third of the UK’s population is on Facebook and more than two thirds of B2C businesses say they’ve gained a customer through Facebook. Therefore it is now an important resource, medium and platform that SME’s ( Small to medium sized enterprises ) cannot afford to ignore, especially if your company / business is targetting the consumer ( as opposed to business to business )!!

Here are Rhetoric’s Top 15 Tips on how to use Facebook to market your Small Business –

1) Do not simply regurgitate or replicate content that’s already on your company website or Twitter feed. If you’re going to utilise Facebook effectively, commit to it, with regular updates and communications with followers aka “friends”.

2) Recognise and accept Facebook’s limitations. It is an effective avenue for opening up a productive dialogue with consumers / customers. However galvanise yourself for the possibility of negative comments and deal with them openly and honestly just as if they had walked into your business premises, or raised reservations or criticisms during a business meeting. By doing this you will project integrity and professionalism in your brand, product and service!!

3) Use software to manage your Facebook page and to collate information and data – it’s very difficult to keep a record of all the communication and comments, unless you have the genetic cerebral make up of an elephant!!

4) You must be prepared to invest time in your Facebook marketing: The return from Facebook only comes from fan trust and their open, honest interactions. Therefore you need to spend time posting relevant, unique content and responding to feedback from your Facebook fans / followers / friends.

5) Always try and be inspiring, or at very least engaging. Traffic statistics indicate that 85% of Facebook page interactions take place within the consumer’s news feed. In other words your fans / followers or friends won’t necessarily see everything you post on your Facebook Page. Content is selected by the Facebook algorithm to register in an individual’s news feed. Priority is given to content with a high rate of interaction ie “Likes” or comments. The higher the interaction with the content, the greater the distribution and circulation across Facebook. Therefore quid pro quo, the more stimulating the content is, the better.

6) Just as you would in a press release, on your website or Twitter, project yourself as the expert in your field. Offer tips, ideas and advice, but also ask users for their tips and advice too, in order to encourage interaction and dialogue.

7) As in any other commercial environment, listen carefully to your potential consumers and customers: utilise insights from user opinions, likes and dislikes and general comments and feedback to inform future postings. Show your audience that you are listening and responding to their feedback. The most effective way to harness brand loyalty, is by making your potential consumer / customer feel valued.

8 ) Offer a more rounded, fuller experience. Facebook, like Twitter, is a great platform to create conversation / dialogue, rather than just blatantly advertising and promoting your product or service. That’s why it is important to engage in conversational style communications, so that you can develop some understanding of the challenges and dilemmas encountered by the consumer and ultimately helping you to understand the needs of your customers.

9) Don’t be afraid to incorporate technology into your Facebook page. Be interactive and take a cue from the popularity of You Tube – therefore utilise video. Videos and images are very compelling in terms of engaging the user. Where possible attempt to incorporate these into your day-to-day postings.

10) Grow and develop your genuine followers and fans. There is nothing to be gained from a multitude of meaningless or pointless followers who once clicked “Like” then never interacted with you again. Check your interaction or ‘IPM’ score at http://app.conversocial.com/profiler/.

11) Stay up to date with features and terms of service. Facebook is constantly updating features and you need to be aware of those changes and adapt to them as they arrive. Sites like AllFacebook.com and Mashable are a very good fountain of knowledge in terms of information and advice.

12) Take part in e-commerce. There is now great value for brands in incorporating e-commerce into their Facebook pages, in addition to their website. This does not just apply to companies operating in the Business to Consumer ( B2C ) marketplace, but Business to Business ( B2B ) arenas as well. If you’re selling B2B products online, you can set up a shopping tab on your page to drive traffic to your e-commerce site and encourage viral sharing of your products. Further to this, encourage users to ask questions about your products, and offer support on the valid information that they need from you.

13) Police the site. Facebook has devised various filters for profanity and spam. However you still need to regularly monitor errant and imposter posts. There is nothing worse than landing on a brand page that is not policed – it creates an unprofessional image of your business!!

14) Post as a separate, stand alone page. Recently Facebook enabled administrators of Facebook pages to ‘post as a page’ rather than with their personal profiles. This allows you to post on other brands pages as your brand, rather than as you personally, which is clearly more professional and business focussed and orientated.

15) Finally get to understand the user’s motivation for using Facebook, in the same way that you understand your customers’ / clients’ motivation for buying your products or services. The most effective way to run a branded Facebook page for business is to understand how consumers really use it, what they are looking for and what makes them tick. If you have never posted a status update or some pictures, or even hit the “Like” button, you’ll never fully understand what a consumer really wants from a brand page on Facebook….

So do your research, immerse and interact with Facebook and only then will you truly understand the drivers and motivations behind Facebook users and equally what a powerful medium and platform Facebook can be for marketing your small or medium sized business!!

If you are an SME ( Small / Medium Enterprise / Company ) and you require help with your PR & Marketing, we would be happy to assist you. For further information…….. www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/marketing-for-small-businesses/

 

One Response to “Top 15 Tips on how to use Facebook to Market the Small Business”

  1. Marketing says:

    Thanks for writing this article. I really enjoyed it. Keep up the good work, dude!