As an entrepreneur, I’ve always found that the best place to get answers to my business questions was to ask other business owners. Through my personal network, I founded The Young Entrepreneur Council, an organization comprised of Gen Y business owners. And with this column, I’ll collect and share their advice on small business issues. Have a question for The Young Entrepreneur Council? Add it below or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danny Mills of Chicago asks, “How do I best use Facebook to grow and market my business?”
Take Advantage of Facebook Places
Turn your customers into Facebook promoters by giving them specials offers if they check-in from your location. But be sure to connect your check-in page to your company page, otherwise Facebook users who click check-in links on their News Feeds and Walls will be taken to a generic Facebook page that doesn't contain your keywords, branding or links.
Stop talking about yourself
Create content that is about your customers and not about your product. The measure of success for effective Facebook marketing is engagement. Here's a great example: Pringles versus Cape Cod Potato Chips. Pringles asks fun questions to their fans and gets thousands of responses. Cape Cod Potato Chips tells their fans to eat Cape Cod Potato Chips and they get none.
I use Hootsuite.com to schedule updates with interesting articles or informative messages that go to my Facebook Time Coaching page and Twitter page. This ensures that there are fresh updates for those who "like" my page.
- Elizabeth Saunders (@RealLifeE)
Think of Your Fan Page as a Website
Too many people don't take advantage of the opportunity to customize a fan page. Treat your fan page as you would your website and have a designer customize the page. It is affordable for small businesses and can make a huge impact. In your design, don't forget a bold "call to action" for people to "like" your fan page.
Give Away Value
Once you have your Facebook business page set up you need to provide some value to the people who "like" your business. This could be a giveaway, coupon or special offer that can only be accessed by "liking" your page. The key here is that the offer is unique to your Facebook page so that new fans feel like they are getting special by joining your page as a fan.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
Facebook is an outstanding tool to generate new interest in your business, but be sure you also actively engage existing customers to generate both repeat business and also drive word of mouth. Create promotions that encourage participation and interaction. Most importantly keep the efforts consistent. Social media requires continual efforts to generate results.
Content Is King
If you write and share amazingly useful content people will appreciate that. And friends will see their friends commenting on your links and notes and posts. And they'll want to be friends with you or be a fan of your page.
Keep up a dialogue with your fans
The people who 'fan' your Facebook page are your most enthusiastic customers. If you can keep them excited about your brand, they will take action to spread the word about you and/or your business. Use your Facebook page to provide early product previews to this elite group. Post questions and ask for feedback from your community. Give away swag exclusively to members.
The Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated small business columnist and author of the book, Never Get a “Real” Job. The YEC's mission is to help young people build successful businesses and overcome the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment. Ask the Council a question about your business either below or via email to email@example.com.
Image credit: pshab