Why is Facebook Important?
Facebook is one of the top social networking sites, quickly gaining on Myspace in terms of total users and traffic. Facebook presents a unique marketing opportunity for businesses through the creation of Facebook Business Pages. As more people explore social media, social networking sites have become some of the key online sources they use to learn more about products, organizations, artists and world events. Marketing on Facebook has a viral effect – information spreads through networks exponentially.
There are two primary ways for companies to market on Facebook. The first is through Facebook Groups and the second is through Facebook Pages. Groups are more focused on bringing together groups of people who share common interests, whereas pages are places where users can interact around and with a particular brand or product.
Because Facebook pages are typically the best option for organizations to promote themselves on Facebook, I will focus on Facebook pages throughout this article.
Benefits of Using Facebook
- Customer Interaction – Facebook pages provide a forum for dialogue between customers and the brand, giving companies the opportunity to build better relationships with target audiences and current customers.
- Reputation Management – Facebook allows a company to gain a deeper understanding of how the brand is perceived online – through direct feedback and also by monitoring what users are saying about the brand.
- New Customer Acquisition – Each time a Facebook user becomes a fan of a Facebook page, a notice is posted as news item for all of that user’s friends to see. This creates an opportunity for a Facebook page to go viral and reach new viewers.
- Feedback Mechanism – In a service-based sector like hospitality, customer feedback is vital. Facebook allows users to communicate their experiences directly and give the company the opportunity to respond.
- Branding – Facebook can be used as a medium for creating brand awareness in addition to a company’s corporate website. It provides brand exposure to a potentially new audience and gives organizations the opportunity to position themselves in new and unique ways.
- Drive Web Traffic – As a Facebook page grows its fan base, traffic to the company website will increase. Facebook pages also appear in Universal Search Results.
Creating and Promoting your Facebook Business Page
The first step to creating a Facebook Business page is to create an account and profile. Each profile can moderate multiple Business pages.
1. Creating your Facebook Business Page
- Step 1: Create a Facebook Profile:
Go to http://www.facebook.com and sign up, using company details in the optional fields
Step 2: Create a Facebook Page:
- Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/#/advertising/?pages for step by step instructions and an overview of how to create a page. Click on “Create a Page” and start filling in your company or brand details.
- Select a category for your business, (Local, Brand or Product, or Artist, Band or Public figure).If you enter your business as a Brand or Product, you will be able to enter more detailed information about your company than if you enter it as a Local business.
- Once your page is created, add company information and upload an image or logo to use as your profile picture.
Step 3: Edit and Update your Facebook Page:
- Facebook pages can be managed through the page manager, which provides traffic statistics and access to all of your Facebook pages. The page manager is found at the bottom of your browser page:
Step 4: Add Applications
Click on “Applications” at the bottom of your browser window to view a list of your current applications. Click on “view more” to browse for additional applications to add to your page. Not all Facebook applications are available to be added to business pages, so look for a note from Facebook that says “You can add this application to some of your Facebook Pages”.
The best applications are ones that will allow you to share unique information about your organization and increase interaction on your Facebook page.
- Reviews: Allows fans to leave reviews of your business or product
- RSS-Connect and My Blogs: Display your blog feed on your Facebook Page.
- YouTube Video Box: Share YouTube Videos
- My Flickr: Share your Flickr photostream and link to your Flickr account
2. Promoting Your Facebook Page
The main goal of creating a Facebook page or any other social networking profile is to develop a community through interaction with the public. You can do this through:
Build your Fan Base. You can start by connecting with friends and family and current clients or business associates and inviting them to be fans of your company’s Facebook page. Whenever a Facebook user becomes a fan of your business, their friends on Facebook (some of which are likely potential customers) will see a message in their home page and have the opportunity to become a fan of your page as well.
Create a Dialogue. Creating compelling content and interactions on your Facebook page is the best way to entice Facebook users to become a fan of your page. The goal should be to turn away from the typical monologue of mainstream marketing and turn towards creating a dialogue with customers.
Offer a Special Deal. Another way to encourage participation is to offer special promotions available only to fans of your Facebook page. You can send a message to all of the fans of your page with a special promo code for a freebie or invitation to an exclusive event. Then, use the Wall or Notes section to publicize the winner of the promotion.
Once your Facebook page begins to develop a following, it is crucial to continually update it with new events and news to continue to build your fan base and keep current fans interested and engaged.
The most successful business pages (if you measure success by the number of fans and level of interaction) are those that foster and encourage customer comments and reply to those comments sincerely whether they are positive or negative. So, in conclusion, don’t be afraid to go out and join the community, interact with your customers, and most importantly, listen to what they are saying about you, your organization, and your competitors.