Facebook has become a great place for your company to create a loyal following, build a brand and increase your profits. If you understand some basic new marketing concepts, your time using Facebook and other social media for small business will be far more rewarding.
With millions of members using it, Facebook has become a great place for your company to create a loyal following, build a brand and increase your profits. However, to use Facebook effectively, you must understand that marketing is moving in new directions. If you understand some basic new marketing concepts, your time using Facebook and other social medias will be far more rewarding.
It’s About Relationships
Until now, the marketing and advertising strategies that worked were all about interruptions. When we are watching television, we are interrupted by commercials. When we are reading a magazine, we are interrupted by advertising. But interruptions are not a good idea when marketing with social media. Facebook members become annoyed when businesses and individuals offer sales pitches and will ignore the message.
So how do you go about marketing with Facebook if no one will listen to your sales push? Building relationships is the answer. Rather than interrupt, members expect you to interact with them. Interaction is how you will distinguish yourself from the crowd. As a member of Facebook, you are able to make repeated and consistent contact with friends who are also potential customers. You will be able to let friends know about your business without pushing products. This may sound like a difficult line to walk, but it is easier than you think.
Take Action Today
The first thing you will need to do is set up a Facebook account. The account is free and can be opened in a matter of minutes. Once there, you will see areas to add information to your profile. Take the time and include lots of good information about you and your business, including links to your website. Your profile is how people will view you when they come to your page, so you want them to get to know you. Be sure to upload a picture of yourself. If you do not include a photo, it will seem as though you have something to hide.
Once your profile is up, it is time to start building your community. Search for friends and acquaintances using their name in the search field and invite them to be your friend. When you invite a friend, they will receive a message asking them to confirm that you are a friend. When they do, you will receive a notification and you are now friends. They can now see and interact with you on your page. Shortly after you arrive on Facebook, your friends will begin finding you and inviting you to their pages as well.
Basic Relationship-Building Activities
Now that you are set up on Facebook, you can begin relationship-building strategies. The following are the easiest ways to build a relationship:
- Write on a friend’s wall
- Post a new status message
- Comment on a friend’s photos
- Join groups that interest you
- Chat with friends via the chat function
- “Email” a friend using the Facebook Inbox
- Invite more friends
When I am on Facebook, I include information that is personal and that pertains to business. Think of Facebook as a cocktail party or networking mixer. When you are at these types of events, you chat about your personal life a little and about your business as well. On the personal side, I may send a message to one friend letting them know I like the photo they recently posted. I may offer a status message that I am looking forward to my upcoming vacation. To interject business subjects into the conversation, I might mention the website content I am writing for a client and how well the site is coming along. I may mention that I am going to an upcoming social media conference. The comments that are personal allow my friends to get to know more about me, to have a well-rounded picture of who I am. The comments regarding work allow my friends to know what type of work I am doing. They learn what services I offer without having to listen to a sales pitch from me. You will find this to be an easy and effective way to communicate, and you will be amazed at how well this type of communication can sustain a relationship with your friends. A true strength of Facebook is that when you comment to one friend, your other friends can see it as well. So a comment to one friend related to services you may offer is also seen by your other friends. Now all of your friends are aware of the services you offer with just one message. Slowly giving out information about yourself and your business strengthens your personal brand as well as your company’s brand.
To make sales, it is often necessary to appear in front of potential customers several times before they feel comfortable buying from your company. Facebook is an excellent way to build these touch points with several potential customers at the same time. Once friends have seen you on the site several times, they will begin to trust you. These consistent communications build up and many ultimately do lead to sales. Very occasionally, you can send more direct information about a service or product your business is working with. Now that you have built a Facebook community, this can be a channel directly to your customers. However, deliver direct sales message sparingly , otherwise you will be viewed as a spammer and friends will ignore you.
Marketing In Minutes
You may be thinking, “I don’t have time for all of this.” First, you should know this ongoing activity can be done in a few short minutes. I recommend you look at your schedule and set a recurring time when you will spend time interacting with friends on Facebook. I tend to jump on in the morning after I finish reviewing email. You might set 20 minutes every day as the amount of time you will spend in your efforts. This should give you time to touch base with several people using the Basic Relationship-Building Activities listed previously.
If you make Facebook activity a consistent part of your life, you will build relationships that allow you to create friends who follow you, and you are creating a new channel of communication to customers and potential customers who are receptive to you and your business.
Read Using Facebook To Market Your Business Part 2 to learn about building a Facebook fan page for your business.
About the Author
Beverly MapesFounder & President, Top Of The List
Bev founded Top Of The List in 2006 and has over 25 years of experience working with technology. In her free time, she competes in dog agility competitions with her Golden Retrievers, Cosmo, and Finn.
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