Facebook can be an effective way to promote your business, if you know how to use it. The first thing to understand is the changing Facebook landscape.
Facebook’s new privacy settings allow users to restrict feeds from those on their friends list. For an average Facebook user, a post only gets to 12 percent of their friends—and that’s according to Facebook.
Some estimate that the numbers for businesses are even worse. As businesses promote themselves using a fan page, rather than a personal profile, a Facebook user must “like” your business page before they can receive promotions from you. Elan Dekel of Forbes magazine estimates that only 1-5 percent of posts reached a business’ fans, though Facebook says it’s more like 16 percent.
This indicates that Facebook users are becoming more selective in choosing what they pay attention to. So, how to use Facebook to promote your business?
- Use a Fan page for your business, not a personal profile.
- DON’T link to your Twitter feed. Twitter and Facebook have different demographics and expect different kinds of content. Write separate posts for each one.
- Make your Fan page visually distinct with photos that are relevant to your business, like your logo.
- Make your About section engaging and concise. Tell people who you are, what you do and what your mission is. Don’t forget your contact information.
- Consider connecting your blog to Facebook with the RSS feed. This will post your blog posts to your Facebook page. However, if you post daily to your blog or if your blog contains a lot of technical information, a Facebook RSS feed may not be a good idea.
Once you have your page setup, you now have to manage it. Managing Facebook is all about content. You want to keep your fans and customers engaged, but you don’t want to bombard them with messages that will encourage them to restrict your news feed or un-fan you all together. With that in mind, here are some tips:
- Post announcements regarding promotions and sales. These have a higher likelihood of going viral (i.e., your fans pass them on to their friends, making more fans for you).
- Use content that’s interactive, like videos. Red Bull, for instance, posts videos on extreme activities that they know will appeal to their customer base.
- Use variety in your messaging. An update that comes with a photo is more engaging than a plain text post.
- End your post with a question or call to action to encourage participation. If you’re a travel agent, for example, and you’re offering a deal on Washington D.C. trips, ask your fans what their favorite DC site is, have a survey or ask them to post their best DC picture.
- Don’t go crazy with the posting. Make each post count and keep your frequency down below twice a week.
- Don’t run contests too often, but when you do—make them creative. Revlon ran a contest in Switzerland that asked entrants to send in pictures of their red lips. The winning picture would become the Revlon Facebook face in Switzerland. Though less than 200 people entered, 9,000 voted. A good amount of attention for a simple contest.
- Respond to your fans. Your fans want to know you’re paying attention. When you ask for interaction, be sure to reciprocate.