Facebook has taken the social-networking world by storm, with both young and old glued to this newest form of social media. But there’s more to Facebook than its ‘friends-making’ feature and playing innumerable games. Facebook can be exploited and used productively by small businesses for their promotional needs thereby boosting revenues.
Here’s how you can capitalize on the resources of Facebook for your own ends:
Building a Business Profile: The first step in connecting with your target audience is to build your presence on Facebook with a Facebook Page. Pages allow you to create an identity for your business and have a direct and engaging connection with your customers. Remember, it’s all about professionalism, so keep separate accounts for your personal communication and business venture.
Customize and Integrate: Customize your Facebook page to better meet your business needs:
• Upload a good profile photo and cover photo of your business. This is a big branding opportunity – your business’s logo is best suited to be the profile photo while a god picture of your product/service line can dot the cover area.
• If you have a company website, link Facebook connect buttons into it. This way, the website visitors can easily connect to Facebook with the click of a button and you can maintain contact with potential customers. If you have a physical store location, link your page with Facebook Places.
Use of Applications: You can use available apps or build your own apps on Facebook to reach to a larger audience, brand recall, and help transaction through FB. Use core technologies like:
• Social Plugins: Helps businesses to bring in viral-crowd by providing people with personalized and social experiences. When they interact with social plugins, they will share their experiences on your page off Facebook with their friends and others on Facebook.
• Graph API: Allows you to easily access all public information about people on your page. As a business owner, ascertaining your followers’ demographics can help you give a picture of your target audience and help take decisions on targeted marketing, types of promotion,etc
Spread the Word: Invite as many people as possible to join the Facebook page; the more fans you have, the more people will frequently look at your business information. Remember, Facebook works as a second website. So frequently update your page with the latest news from your business and give interested parties more information.
Your Facebook page is a powerful platform for promoting retail sales and special offers. It’s proven that Facebook homepage ads have resulted in increased brand awareness and purchase intent users who saw them. Target the right audience with your ads including location, interests, broad interests and demographics. Here’s also how you can mobilise your social-networking skills to leverage the benefits:
Discounts and Deals: Offer discounts or special deals to your Facebook friends. Encourage them to share a sales ‘event’ or ‘like’ your page. Every ‘Like’ gets published into the News Feed creating word of mouth. Club it with contests that often result in increased traffic and memberships. You can even partner with other small businesses and promote one another’s products/services on the Facebook page like coupons etc.
Be Interactive: Visit your business Facebook page every day and make it a point to respond to every question and comment promptly. Communication is the key to small business’s success. Open up a discussion forum and engage with your fans and customers on a regular basis. Solicit feedback from them and use suggestions positively.
• Keep personal comments off the Facebook wall as it corrodes your professional outlook. Business profile should be strictly maintained for business.
• On the wall, use correct English and full words instead of shortcut words or SMS language.
• Don’t use bad language, indecent words, and vulgar jokes as it would be in bad taste. Refrain from uploading any objectionable video/photos.
Ride the bandwagon of Social Media marketing. It’s a revolution that’s going to stay.
Market Research is the process of obtaining information about markets, products or competitors. All business strategies, whether for new ventures or existing operations, should be backed by a well-done market research. It is also a very effective tool to deal with competition.