With 200 million users, Facebook is the largest social networking platform out there. It’s also quickly becoming a great place for businesses to connect with customers and market themselves.
In a recent Webinar hosted by eRocketFuel, John Zimmerman offered 5 easy steps to Facebook success for businesses, illustrated here by a few examples we like:
- Dive right in: Start a Facebook page and/or group to connect with passionate fans, casual customers and prospects. Zimmerman suggests creating a Facebook page as opposed to a group because 5,000 is the maximum number of people allowed to join Facebook groups. You can provide customer service via Facebook, asking and answering questions that may be broadly relevant. In addition, you can keep your brand top of mind by contributing regular updates about products, services or your team. SmartBrief’s Facebook page is just a baby, but our goal is to present the human face of our online news service. Feel free to friend us to watch how we’re doing it!
- Create events and promos: Posting events on Facebook allows others to see who is invited, who will be attending and any buzz that’s happening around the event. There is no cost for posting a Facebook event or promo. The Washington Humane Society’s event for DC Week for the Animals is one of our favorite examples of a Facebook event that works. All the basic information is laid out at the top, with the schedule and description broken down below. You can also see who has confirmed to attend the event and read messages posted by invitees.
- Use Facebook ads: Facebook ads allow you reach specific audiences — you can target by age, gender, geography — by paying for ads that will appear on the right hand side of users’ accounts. You can even target based on words in users’ profiles. The cost of the Facebook ads is based on the number of clicks your ad receives or the number of times your ad is displayed. Since there is no set cost, you can estimate the total price of your ad as you create it using Facebook’s bid estimator.
- Add contest/voting apps: Voting applications give your customers a voice and provides great feedback for you to work with. Contests keep fans interested and involved, and there are plenty of free applications that can enhance your page.
- Integrate Facebook Connect: Facebook Connect gives your audience the opportunity to market on your behalf. Here’s how it works: first, people sign onto their Facebook accounts through your Web site. That way, they can share information that’s on your site with their Facebook friends. Your company, in turn, can track who is sharing your information and how.
As you’re constructing your business Facebook page, be sure to develop a marketing plan for getting the word. Again, a few pointers:
- Alert your fans – email your talkers and invite them join.
- Let your broader network of customers know that Facebook is a great place to reach you.
- Link to your Facebook page in your email signature and from your Web site.
- Promote your page in your print campaigns and write about it in publications
- Write about your Facebook presence on blogs and point to it from e-newsletters. Get your social media channels working together!
Photo credit, iStock