Marketing Strategies for Facebook
More and more companies are incorporating social media into their overall marketing strategies. The key to successful social media marketing is not to spread yourself thin across every platform but to concentrate your efforts where your consumers spend their time. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not limited to individual users or the academic community. Companies are finding novel uses for Facebook, including establishing a positive brand identity; increasing website and blog traffic; announcing and gathering feedback on new products; monitoring and controlling the company’s online reputation; recruiting and informing employees; and intercepting potential
customers. This improved communication ability is helping many businesses build stronger bonds with their existing and potential clientele. In this piece, I’ll explain how your company can benefit from an organized strategy for promoting itself online. Some of the most frequent misconceptions I hear from customers concern Facebook, so I’ll start by dispelling those. In the following sections, I will explain in detail the different features of a Facebook account and how to use them. In closing, I’ll suggest a few applications that can enrich the parts of your company’s Facebook profile.
One frequent misunderstanding: Facebook is intended solely for individual use.
When I speak to groups about leveraging social media for professional purposes, a common misconception is that Facebook is only suitable for keeping in touch with friends and family. Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook has not been as successful at promoting its business profile and advertising features, even though it began as a closed community for college students. However, Facebook’s continued popularity among businesses aiming to connect with its 200+ million monthly users can be attributed to its robust data tools.
The second most widespread fallacy is that Facebook is restricted to young adults.
More than 200 million people are using Facebook at any given time, and a million people join every week in the United States alone, as reported by the Facebook Press Room website. More than two-thirds of Facebook users are not college students, contrary to the belief of many of my viewers. More than half of all Facebook users in the United States are over 35, with users aged 35 to 44 constituting the largest age cohort. Users aged 55 and up makeup Facebook’s fastest-growing age demographic. They also found that Facebook is Europe’s most popular social networking site.
Misconception #3: I don’t have time for this and am already too occupied.
The ease and efficiency businesses can keep in constant contact with their network are one reason social networking sites like Facebook are gaining popularity. In terms of business, a company’s network can consist of anyone from present and prospective clients to suppliers and even competitors.
In addition to, and in some instances, social networking sites like Facebook are playing an increasingly important role instead of more conventional channels of communication like newsletters and direct mail. You can use Facebook to announce and receive feedback on new products, highlight the achievements and talents of new hires and long-term employees, thank devoted customers, publicize upcoming events and deals, and form strategic alliances with other businesses. Some businesses have reported that by using these online means of communication, they have been able to decrease their marketing budget while at the same time increasing sales, as suggested by a March 2009 survey of businesses conducted by Forrester Research on interactive marketing online. This survey found that 40% of companies surveyed expected to cut direct mail budgets, 35% would decrease newspaper spend, and 28% would slash magazine money to spend more on interactive media.
Why Social Networking is so Effective:
Businesses find that increased communication on social networking sites helps them better understand their customers’ needs, boosts trust, and ultimately results in stronger business relationships with those customers, vendors, clients, colleagues, and prospects. It’s common knowledge that Facebook has been valid for making and maintaining relationships with people from all walks of life. It’s only natural for Facebook to be used for professional communication, as most users realize that even casual acquaintances can lead to fruitful professional relationships.
Creating a Facebook Account:
You need to sign up for Facebook before you can use it. The following are the most vital steps to take after registering:
1. Build Your Identity
You need to fill out a profile with personal details before using Facebook. Site rules dictate that only one profile per person is allowed and that the name associated with that profile must be unique rather than company. After you have completed your profile, we will discuss creating your company page. Use both your marital and maiden names if you are a married woman. Facebook’s “Friend Finder” function enables users to locate acquaintances from the same university, workplace, or another group. If you want to be found, it’s essential to include information about your
education and work history in your biography. Fill out the “About Me” section to tell people about your company and goods or services. Make sure to fill out the “Information” section of your profile page with relevant connections to your website, newsletter, blog, and other relevant business information like your company’s contact details, logo, and profile picture. Think of your profile as an extension of your “brand” or ad effort. If you are filling out a form for a business, you need only state your professional hobbies and interests. Syndicating your journal to your profile page is possible. When you do this, your connections and anyone who visits your profile will immediately see your latest posts.
2. Start a mailing list
The idea of making new acquaintances was central to the development of Facebook. A “friend request” allows the recipient to view your profile and will enable you to view theirs if approved. You can start making new friends on Facebook by searching for individuals you know or by importing your existing address book or contact database.
The buddy lists of everyone you’re linked to are also accessible. You can seek to connect with a new friend’s network if you know or are interested in connecting with any of their mutual contacts. You can expand your network by sending friend requests to anyone you know who might be interested in joining, including clients, customers, business partners, friends, family, coworkers, school alumni, neighbors, and others. I would also recommend using the search feature on Facebook to look up people with whom you have lost contact. Once you add someone as a friend, they will see your profile whenever you visit their website. More people will see your profile and potentially reach out to you because of this because the more friends you have, the more pages your profile will appear on.
3. Use Wall Posts to Share Your Thoughts
Facebook’s “wall” feature allows users to communicate with their network. In the context of professional networking, this is akin to calling them. Writing on a coworker’s wall is a great way to express appreciation for their efforts, comment on a current service or product launch, or spread the word about a future educational or professional development opportunity.
4. Update Your Status
Your Facebook status is displayed in a box at the top of your profile. When you change your situation, it will appear on all your friends’ home pages. Business owners can use the “What’s on your mind?” section to post updates as often as they like, where they can share advice, publicize events, update their blogs, introduce new products, advertise their affiliate programs, and promote relevant websites, articles, audio recordings, and newsletters. These will show on all of your friends’ pages, so ensure they are professional and meant for everyone on your friend list. If you don’t, folks may unsubscribe from hearing from you in the future.
5. Join Discussion Forums
You can digitally meet other professionals and expand your clientele by participating in online groups. You can also join Groups on Facebook that are relevant to your work. Groups exist for therapists, teachers, coaches, and every imaginable occupation. You’ll have the chance to meet and learn from professionals in the industry. Creating a similar organization is another option for maximizing their usefulness and potential. This is an excellent method to raise brand awareness without breaking the bank. For instance, I organized a club for Boston-area managers of mental health facilities. The members of this organization can now consult one another for advice and, hopefully, will be able to refer one another in the future. From your Facebook homepage, you can navigate to the “Apps” section and “Groups,” where you’ll find thousands of groups organized by topic, business, and location. There is an enormous range of fields and occupations to explore.
6. Create a Buddy System
Having an extensive network of contacts is advantageous for the company. One approach is to join a group and then submit Facebook connection requests to other members, explaining why you’d like to be friends with them. Look them up and see what they’re up to, just as you would if you met them for the first time in person for a business introduction. A two-way conversation is the foundation of any successful networking relationship. Do something nice for them, like connecting them with a coworker or a possible business partner, and they will probably do the same for you. In addition to posting on the Facebook “Events page,” you can make your own events page, where attendees can RSVP and provide comments.
7. Produce Fan Sites
Since Facebook profiles can only represent real people and not businesses, the platform allows users to establish “fan pages” instead. A Facebook fan profile can be made for any organization, publication, item, person, or idea. Select “Advertising” at the bottom of Facebook (don’t worry, it’s free to set up) to make a fan page. Next, select “Pages” from the menu bar. In addition to the link allowing you to create your fan page, you’ll discover some helpful explanations of how carriers operate. After making a website, you can make it more engaging by including links, events, and message forums. Your friends can see the latest activity from your fan sites on your profile. An alternative to making friend requests is inviting people to become “fans” of your page, allowing you to build a stronger online community.
8. Go to the Stores
You can advertise your wares or services in Facebook’s online store at no charge. You or your business can significantly benefit from this marketing opportunity. The market is another excellent resource for finding what you need.
How to Create a Facebook Fan Page for Your Company
Creating a company profile is simple. Sign in, then look at the very bottom of your page. Then select “Advertising,” or go directly to http://www.facebook.com/business, where you’ll see a list of options, one of which is “Pages.” Select Pages, and then hit the green “Create a Page” box on the screen’s right. You can begin personalizing your company’s website by filling out the fields below.
After setting up your business profile, you’ll find a new tab labeled “Page Manager” in the top left corner of your Facebook dashboard. Select Facebook Pages again, and select the appropriate company category afterward. To access your company’s website, where you can make changes and additions, click the link provided.
The name you give your Facebook page will serve as the only text that appears in a search for that page, so it’s essential to give it some thought. Once you’ve set up your website, you can add apps that tailor your company’s online presence to your needs. Installing and configuring Facebook applications is a breeze; select “Applications” in Facebook’s top left corner or visit http://www.facebook.com/apps. Remember that there is probably more than one program that can do the same thing if you’re having trouble with the one you’re using.
Software for Organizations on Facebook:
Simply RSS lets you embed up to eight feeds from your company’s leading site and newsrooms into your Facebook profile.
The forthcoming Facebook application makes it simple to show off your upcoming events on your Facebook wall after you’ve added them to upcoming.org.
My Flickr is an app that lets you show off your Flickr pictures. Logos, product shots, event snaps, and more can all be found among these images.
Posted Items Pro lets you add numerous videos, music mp3s, sites, files, and more to your profile and Facebook pages from YouTube, Yahoo, and Google. A media hub or press area would benefit greatly from adding any of these features.
Using the Twitter application, your tweets will be imported into your Facebook status if you have a Twitter account. An icon representing Twitter will be added to your profile, letting your Facebook contacts know that you are also active on Twitter. Also, you won’t have to spend as much time updating, and your page will remain vigorous this way. You can sign up for Twitter whenever you like.
Incorporating these tools into your site will create a dynamic, informative user experience.
Invest in Yourself to Remain Current
Maintaining a presence there is essential to keeping your Facebook Page and profile active and up-to-date. I recommend hiring a copywriter or social media expert to assist you if you lack time to do this regularly. A fan’s News Feed will feature you more frequently the more you interact with the site. This maintains them thinking about you and sharing your content with their friends. Not only will frequent content updates keep your Facebook Page visible in the News Feed, but they will also give your followers a reason to keep coming back for more. There are various methods for doing so, such as giving customers early access to new products, offering them discounted or free products, holding contests just for them, or letting them in on exclusive business events.
I hope you can use this knowledge to get started with Facebook. Do not be under the impression that social networking is a fleeting fad. Facebook and the rest of the social media platforms aren’t going anywhere. You can’t ignore the findings of the latest studies showing that customers increasingly turn to the internet in pursuit of company and product information, price comparison, and order placement, even if you use all the social networking sites. As with any new technology, it will take time and effort for companies to reap the full benefits of social networking; however, I am confident that this investment will prove worthwhile if made consistently and with careful forethought.
Wayne Kessler, the author of this piece, is an Internet marketing strategist, speaker, and behavioral change consultant specializing in teaching others how to use these techniques to significantly increase online sales, solidify their brand identity, and attract more visitors to their websites. Accelerated Business Services, his company, is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves clients all over the globe via on-site and remote means. Pay him a virtual visit.
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