There’s a lot of negative press when it comes to using Facebook for business. In this post, I’ll be looking at both Facebook fan pages, also known as business pages and personal profiles. Personal accounts and fan pages can be incredibly useful for relationship marketing and networking, but both require a completely different approach.
As the worlds largest social network, it currently boasts well over one billion active users. So let’s start by getting rid of some common myths surrounding the network. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is ageing with 45% of Internet users aged 65+ using it. While I won’t argue that its perception is often true, in it being seen as a casual network used for communicating with family and friends, but don’t forget the engagement is the highest of any other social network. Understanding the demographics of Facebook is essential to successfully marketing on the platform and I think it’s definitely worth having a read of the detailed research from Pew social & demographic trends to get an understanding of this.
I’ll start with an obvious company that really know how to communicate with their audience and have over 35 million ‘likes’ – Starbucks. So what’s so good about them? With regular updates of fresh information and rich content, they understand the most important aspect is two way communication with their customers. Long gone are the ‘if we build it they will come’ days, where a message can be forced onto you and optional extras or variations of product were foreign concepts. Starbucks keep it fresh with a varied mix of content, video and blog posts being the drivers. It’s regular, but not so much so that it saturates your news feed. It’s in keeping with the tone you’d expect on Facebook, informal but trustworthy.
While these may sound like simple things, it’s harder regularly producing this kind of content and keeping an engaged audience – Starbucks aren’t trying to directly sell coffee through Facebook, but they talk with passion about coffee, or give profiles on people that work for the company, putting a face to this corporate giant and making approachable.
Building your fan page – planning
As with any marketing activity, good planning is essential.
- What do you plan on getting out of your page? – set yourself objectives to know what you’re working towards.. Whether simply for brand awareness or aimed at driving traffic to your blog this is the most important step and all other aspects should be built around it.
- From this, you should know the look and feel required – so design ensuring functionality is prominent and easy to use (such as clear calls to action and easy subscription / sign up forms if applicable.)
- Now to the most important part – populate your page with quality content that’s designed to get your visitors to engage. Don’t forget, this is your opportunity to connect with your audience and spark up conversation. Ask them questions and get opinions – feedback both positive and negative should be welcomed.
Engagement / interaction
Content deserves a second mention. Sure, this is an introduction to using Facebook for business, but even at entry level – content is king.
Make use of creating competitions and polls as a data collection technique and to create buzz around your brand.
Regularly visit Social Mention to keep an eye on your brand being mentioned across social channels and to ensure you can respond to conversations quickly and efficiently.