How to Market Your Business With Facebook
A growing number of businesses are making Facebook an indispensible part of hanging out their shingles. Small businesses are using it to find new customers, build online communities of fans and dig into gold mines of demographic information.
“You need to be where your customers are and your prospective customers are,” said Clara Shih, author of “The Facebook Era” (Pearson Education, 2009). “And with 300 million people on Facebook, and still growing, that’s increasingly where your audience is for a lot of products and services.”
For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do. There are now 1.4 million Facebook Pages and they collect more than 10 million fans every day, according to the site.
Businesses can easily create a Web presence with Facebook, even if they don’t have their own Web site (most companies still should maintain a Web site to reach people who don’t use Facebook or whose employers block access to the site). Businesses can claim a vanity address so that their Facebook address reflects the business name, like www.facebook.com/Starbucks. Facebook pages can link to the company’s Web site or direct sales to e-commerce sites like Ticketmaster or Amazon.
Facebook offers an array of tools and networks, and it’s easy to wander down too many paths. Ms. Shih recommends that newcomers start by asking themselves a simple question: What is your basic objective? Is it getting more customers in the door? Building brand awareness? Creating a venue for customer support? Once you have set your goal, you can strategize accordingly.
“You can waste a lot of time on Facebook,” said Ms. Shih, founder of Hearsay Labs, a Facebook marketing software company. “But if you’re a business, you don’t have any time to waste. Figure out your objectives first, start small and do things that help you accomplish your objectives.”
Ms. Shih suggests that businesses ask friends and family to become fans of their pages so that they display a respectable crowd of supporters when they debut. Pages can grow organically by word of mouth — the average Facebook user has 130 friends on the site — or by advertising or promotion.
You can enliven your page with photos, comments and useful information. As you grow more comfortable, you can add videos or business applications. Flaunt your personality. The page of an ice cream parlor should feel different than that of a funeral parlor. “The pages that are most successful,” said Tim Kendall, the director of monetization at Facebook, “are the ones that really replicate the personality of the business.”
Join our facebook at www.facebook.com/ Click here>>>