Facebook 101

July 04, 2011

Facebook 101

facebookAre you late to jump on the Facebook bandwagon? If so, you may be missing out on an excellent opportunity. Social media sites like Facebook have become important business marketing tools. Big companies like Ford, Nestle, and Verizon are on Facebook – even the President of the United States has a Facebook page. Below is a quick overview to help you build a page – and a following – of your own.

What is it and how does it work?

The most widely used social media network in the world, Facebook has over 600 million users. Individual users have a Profile – a page where they can share information, photos, and videos as well as send messages to friends and family they have added to their lists. They can also “like” a page created by a business or organization. Once they “like” a business, they will get all photos, updates, offers, and other information the business posts. You can easily see how this could be a huge marketing opportunity!

Businesses and organizations have Pages instead of Profiles. Essentially, however, they work the same way. A business page can have information about the business, list special offers or sales, post updates on new products or services, announce events (and get an RSVP), and share photos and videos. There are also a lot of apps (applications) that businesses can implement, like ones that gather testimonials from customers or apps that allow fans to share your ads on their Profile. Facebook also allows for custom apps – the potential is truly unlimited.

What can it do for me?

Even if you’re not quite up to speed with apps and some of the more technical aspects of online marketing, you can still use Facebook to your advantage. Think of it this way: the social nature of Facebook allows you to interact with your customers in a way that’s not possible with traditional advertising methods. You can foster a direct relationship with your customers, hear their feedback, get their opinions, and start conversations about what you do. Here are three basic Facebook marketing tools you can easily utilize:

Fan Page – This is the main Page for your business. This is what potential customers will visit. You will want to use this Page to create a causal, but professional presence. This is a good place to post product information, ask questions and invite comments, and post photos or videos. Best of all, creating a Page and adding content is free.

Groups – Joining groups that are within your target market can be a great way to introduce your product or services. For example, if you sell outdoor sports equipment, joining or creating a hiking group could put you in touch with members of your target market. Be careful not to abuse the group with SPAM or unsolicited ads. Your goal here is to get in touch with your potential customer’s interests and positioning yourself as a member of the community.

Ads – Posting an ad is, of course, not free. But it is less expensive than a lot of traditional advertising. There are pay-per-click ads and pay-per-impression ads. (Pay-per-click means you pay when someone clicks on your ad; pay-per-impression means you pay each time the ad is shown). One of the best things about Facebook ads are that they can be targeted based on the profile information of users. For example, you can target your ad to people who live in your area, people who have dogs, university students, or all three! You can also easily change these target market settings if your ad isn’t getting the response you wanted. Facebook has an excellent walk-through tutorial that helps you figure out your goals, define your market and budget, and create a powerful ad. There is also a help section and a sales representative you can contact should you need assistance.

How do I sign up and use it?

Facebook accounts are free. You simply sign in, build your business page, and start using it! Your best bet is to research other business pages first. Go to Facebook.com and search for a business or product with which you’re familiar. How do they use their Page? What kinds of information are they posting? Do they have photos or videos? What do you like and what do you find obtrusive?

Once you get a feel for what you would like to share with potential customers, it’s time to think about content. Be sure to keep your tone casual but professional. You do not want to slam people with hard-sell ad copy, nor do you want to give anyone reason to get a negative opinion of your business. The same rule applies to videos and photos. A business Page is not the place to post personal things.

If you do decide to you want a Facebook business Page, be prepared to dedicate some time to it. Like any marketing venture, it takes effort to make it work. While you can build a business page yourself, it may be in your best interests to hire a professional to design you a custom Page – this way you can stand apart from the competition. If you would like Triple Moons Design to create your page for you, click here.

It will take some time before you start to see results. But keep posting news, sending offers, and placing ads – the exposure and feedback you’ll get is well worth the effort.