Word-of-Mouth Goes Digital: Facebook For Business

Find us on Facebook badgeIt’s time to tackle Facebook social media for small business and get found by people searching for your products and services. You’ll engage with potential and current clients and create a community that supports and promotes the information you provide. In other words, it’s like word of mouth—but faster.

Part 2 : Transform your marketing strategy

Let’s take a short quiz: aside from optimizing your website, which of the following strategies is most likely to turn a potential customer into a paying customer?
a) telemarketing
b) placing an ad or flyer in your local newspaper
c) sending a mass email
d) word of mouth

If you answered (d), you’re right. We can hang up the phone, recycle a paper ad, and hit the “delete” button in our inbox (or filter your message directly to the trash bin). But if our friends recommend a product or service, we don’t think advertising. Instead, we think: Aha! Information.

All well and good—but which of the previous options do you turn to most frequently when you need to promote a new product, event, or expand your customer base? Word of mouth is optimal, but is it practical?

With social media like Facebook, it can be. In part one of our Facebook marketing series, we looked at creating Facebook personal profiles to help you connect with your friends and present a well-rounded picture of yourself and your business. This GEM takes things a step further, showing you how to market your business on Facebook with a fan page—and transform your “word of mouth” marketing strategy in the process.

Why Facebook? Why Now?

You might have written off Facebook as a site for college students. Not so fast—the fastest-growing group of Facebook users are 35 years and older.1 Facebook has over 300 million active users2, most of whom keep tabs on their friends’ activities, likes, and dislikes. You want your friends to “like” your business on Facebook—and publicize it to their friends, too.

Facebook is also the third most trafficked website in the world—behind Google and Yahoo!3 If you’re reading this article, you know that SEO is important. You’ve probably taken steps to make your business rank highly on search engines. Now it’s time to tackle Facebook and get found by people searching for your products and services. By doing this, you’ll engage with potential and current clients and create a community that supports and promotes the information you provide.

In other words, it’s like word of mouth—but faster.

Step 1: Create a Personal Profile

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to register with Facebook and create a personal profile. Do not create a profile for your business—you can do this later as a separate “fan” page. As you complete your profile, keep these tips in mind:

  • Join networks! Select one regional network and up to five school or company networks (you must have an email associated with that school or company to select it as a network). You will rank much higher in Facebook search results when the searcher is in one of your networks.
  • Group your friends into categories (such as “work” or “family”) as your Facebook networks grows.
  • Update your privacy settings based on the friend categories you create. Access to nearly every aspect of your profile can be controlled with these settings—so if the photo album from your recent vacation is meant for a few eyes only, it can stay that way.

Step 2: Create a Fan Page for your Business

A Fan Page is a profile for your business. It is public by default, meaning that any Facebook user can search for and find the page. You can create your Fan Page using a simple Facebook wizard. For optimal Facebook search results, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use search terms in your company overview
  • Links cannot be made using anchor text. You’ll still want to link to your website on the Fan Page, but the link itself is not as important to SEO
  • Make sure to add a photo that is your business logo
  • You are the administrator of your own Fan Page. You can also assign other Facebook users to be administrators. People viewing the page will not know who is an administrator.
  • Any information on the fan page will display as posted by your business, rather than by a specific person.

When you feel your page is ready enough for prime time, click the “Publish” button to make it publicly visible. Don’t forget to become a fan of your own page!

Step 3: Engage, Connect, Promote

Don’t forget: your Fan Page is not your business website. Facebook is an effective marketing tool because Fan Pages are dynamic. This means that you must continually engage with your fans! Follow these suggestions to maintain and expand your fan base:

  • Ask your friends to “fan” your business: Facebook allows you to recommend your Fan Page to your entire friend list, or just certain categories of friends. Once a friend becomes a fan, the information appears in their news feed and becomes part of their personal profile.
  • Post content to your Fan Page wall: Content can include articles, links to new products on your website, or questions for fans. Posting is critical because every time a fan responds to a post, it appears on their news feed and is seen by all the fan’s Facebook friends.
  • Interact with your fans! When fans post to your wall, respond if appropriate. When you post content, ask for fans’ own opinions and tips.
  • Vary your site content: don’t forget that you can post videos, create structured discussion topics on a discussions board, and invite fans to events you create.
  • Promote your Fan Page on your own personal profile and in any Facebook groups you belong to.
  • Link to your Facebook Fan Page from your website, blog, and email lists. Many people will click through to your Fan Page and become fans themselves.

Word of Mouth, Amplified

Creating a Facebook Fan Page for your business is a critical step in your marketing strategy. The more you promote your page and interact with potential and current customers, the more “buzz” your business creates. When customers become your fan or interact with your Fan Page wall, all of their friends are notified via the news feed. And when “friends” include distant contacts, professional colleagues, and second cousins once removed, you can bet that word-of-mouth will travel faster and farther than you ever thought possible.

Become a fan of Top Of The List on Facebook! Visit our Facebook Fan Page.

1“Statistics.” Facebook Press Room, 2009. http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
3“How to Use Facebook for Business.” Hubspot.com. 2009. p. 4.

About the Author

Nicole Vesota

Nicole Vesota

Vice President & Project Manager

Nicole has been working in online marketing since 2007 when she joined Top Of The List. She loves creative endeavors and spending time with her daughter.

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