Facebook is a social media hub, and having a page for your business is de rigueur for any entrepreneur.
"The way you use Facebook is going to be different for everyone, but it's really important for every business to have a Facebook experience," said Jennifer Manger, CEO of San Francisco-based marketing and business development consulting firm Manger & Associates. "Facebook gives you the ability to have a consistent dialogue with your customers."
Having a page in and of itself, however, is not sufficient. You also need fans. They're your audience, your community and your customers.
But how do you find, keep, and engage these fans? Manger has some advice about this perennial Facebook dilemma.
You need to let people know you're on Facebook before they can become your fans. This means talking up your Facebook account on your website, in your e-mail newsletters and through other social media venues, such as Twitter and YouTube.
"You need to tell your customers that you have a Facebook presence, and ask for them to follow you," Manger says.
This means highlighting why people might want to "like" your page, telling them what kind of content you have there, directing them to any giveaways or contests and putting a Facebook widget on your site. Don't make them guess if you have a Facebook page. Tell them outright, and provide a link to it.
Manger says that one of the most important things you can do is leverage the networks of your employees, clients and associates. If all of them post information about your Facebook page on their Facebook profiles and other social media sites, your audience can grow exponentially.
“You want to leverage everyone that’s part of that business to grow your network," says Manger. “The owner of a business can share the page with their developed network, and everyone working there could share the page with their network.”
Provide quality content
Content is king with Facebook pages, and the better the content you provide, the more likely it is that people will become fans of your page. This content needs to be useful and actionable; updates about what you had for breakfast won't cut it.
“It’s important that people consider what kind of content would be valuable to their customers," says Manger. "Come up with several themes that you’ll consistently post about, such as trends in the marketplace and topics trending in the media."
Manger notes that it's important to provide useful information that clients might not find anywhere else.
“You want to post things like case studies and things you can do as a client," notes Manger. "If you’re a proprietor, you’ll want to post sale items, new inventory and special deals. You always want to think about what you’re putting out there as valuable, authentic content that the user wants.”
Finally, keep the content fresh. It's all too easy to set up a site and forget about it, but that's the death of Facebook marketing. You need to keep updating daily in order to keep your fans engaged and interested in your site.
"Sometimes it starts out well and then sits stagnant," says Manger. “It’s important to provide consistent contact.”
Your Facebook page is an important part of your brand, so you'll want to take it as seriously as you do other aspects of your marketing plan. And with a little care and feeding, your Facebook page will have an ever-growing roster of loyal fans—and customers.
Vivian Wagner is a freelance writer in New Concord, Ohio. Vivian blogs via Contently.com.
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