Facebook started out as a social network for connecting students at college and has grown into a network for connecting everybody for anything. Many people have a personal profile on Facebook, and they use it to keep up with friends and family through photos and status updates. Over time, businesses have found it to be a great place to connect with prospects and customers.
You’ve most likely seen big companies like Starbucks and Best Buy advertise their Facebook page and maybe you have even “liked” some of these company pages. As a small business owner, you’ve probably thought that you don’t have the resources to have a Facebook page, but you really can’t afford not to be on Facebook.
In 2010, more than 1.5 million local businesses had active pages on Facebook and more than 20 million people became fans of pages each day.* It’s crucial to have your business on Facebook because that’s where people are talking about the businesses they use and recommending them. There’s not a lot of mystery to having a Company Page, but like anything else you do for your business, you have to be committed to it.
1. Include Important Design Features on Your Page
Your page should quickly tell a visitor what your business is about with a photo, business name, your logo, and a custom designed welcome page. With the new Timeline design that Facebook is rolling out this month to Facebook Company Pages, a strong photo, also known as a cover photo, is even more important. This image should be visually appealing and powerful, capturing the essence of your business.
Also with the new updates Facebook is making this month, the personalized tabs on a Facebook Company Page are now turned into applications that are located below your cover photo. This area is the prime real estate where your customized pages will live and where you set your business apart to your visitors. Photos and Likes will always take up two of these application spots, and you can have a total of 12 applications personalized for your business.
The Timeline feature lays out your posts and conversations in a chronological order by month and year. If you have a status update that that you would like to feature, you can now “pin” it. By pinning a post, it will remain on the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days.
2. Build Your Network
Just like with your personal page, you want people to connect with your Facebook Company Page. Once your page is developed and ready to be seen, start advertising it. There are lots of ways to do this:
- Add “Like us on Facebook” to your invoices.
- Create a small sign reminding customers to “Like us on Facebook” and put it in high-traffic areas including near your service counter or on your front door.
- Add a link to your Facebook Company Page in your email signature.
- Link your website and Facebook Company Page.
- If your Company Page is connected to your personal Facebook profile, post a message on your personal page asking your friends to like your Company Page.
You can also entice your customers or prospects to like your Company Page by offering an incentive such as a coupon, discount, or free item.
3. Engage with Your Customers
One of the values of a Facebook Company Page is that it offers you a channel to communicate with your customers. While it’s important for you to keep the content fresh with photos, events and new product postings, you don’t want the conversation to be one way. Talk with your customers and encourage them to post on your wall and to tag photos of themselves using your product or service. You have to enable these capabilities in your Facebook privacy settings.
You should also provide resources for your customers such as related blogs, links, or videos that they would be interested in based on their interest in your company. Interacting with your customers will create a closer relationship with them and keep them coming back to your page and your business. You may even get ideas for changing or improving your business as well.
A Company Page on Facebook is like most other things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. You can’t expect your customers to “like” your page and visit it frequently if you don’t maintain it. Once you get into the practice of making regular posts, you’ll find it easier to do and worth the small amount of time it takes to have this valuable communication channel with your customers.
If you need help setting up a professional Facebook Company Page for your business, Web.com can help! Just give us a call at 1-800-338-1771.
*Source: Website-Monitoring.com, 3/16/2010.
Want to learn more? Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.