Facebook has taken the marketing industry by storm thanks to its 845 million active monthly users. The best part for small business is that Facebook is free, with the exception of purchasing ads. Here are some innovative ways small businesses can use Facebook and capitalize on the power of this social giant.
1. Integrate Facebook connect buttons into your company website. Website visitors can easily connect to Facebook with the click of a button, enabling small business owners to maintain contact with potential customers even if they never return to the website.
2. Be responsive. Josh Grossman of e-Coupon service SavingStar says his company uses Facebook to communicate with customers and makes a point to respond to every question and comment promptly. Small businesses often thrive on personal interaction, and Facebook is a useful tool.
3. Make it easy to share content. Grossman explains, "Every coupon we post on SavingStar has a Facebook like button. Each coupon gets dozens or even hundreds of likes, helping to spread the word with users' Facebook friends. All of our blog posts also have Facebook like and send buttons, and we use the Facebook comments plugin to make it easy for users to comment and share those comments with their Facebook friends."
4. Don't make it all about you. Merrick Pickens, from Oak Mortgage Group in Texas, points out that expanding content to different topics can be beneficial. "We do not post mundane mortgage information," he explains. "Instead we highlight top interior designers, local restaurants, retail and entertainment people that our demographic would find appealing. We also offer discount codes to our favorite hangout spots. So people follow Oak Mortgage Group in order to catch the latest trends."
5. Promote events. HireClix, a recruitment marketing agency based in Boston, regularly uses Facebook to advertise free seminars and webinars, in addition to utilizing the platform to promote job fairs for its clients. The same tactic can be used for retail sales and special offers.
6. Provide robust company information. Darren Magarro of The DSM Group says, "It acts as a second website for us. It has almost all the information the website does. When people Google The DSM Group, they have the option to either view our website or Facebook, so those who choose Facebook are getting the same message as those who choose the website."
7. Be a resource. Steven Spitz, CEO of Big Apple Pet Supply, used Facebook to run promotions raising funds for animal shelters and rescues. Spitz has become a recognized expert in the pet industry and has amassed a following of more than 15,000 fans on his company's Facebook page.
8. Run a contest. Facebook contests don't have to award massive prizes to be effective. GovernmentAuctions.org's CEO, Ian Aronovich, notes that contests often result in a spike in traffic and memberships.
9. Partner with other small businesses. SavingStar encourages its partners to share coupons on their own Facebook brand pages, resulting in more exposure for the company.
10. Measure what's working and tweak your campaign. Facebook offers an Insights tool that enables users to track engagement as well as run monthly reports to monitor overall strategies.
Using Facebook can be a cost-effective marketing option for small businesses, and as it continues to roll out new features, it gets even easier for companies to connect with customers and measure results.
Angela Stringfellow is a PR and MarComm Consultant and Social Media Strategist offering full-circle marketing solutions to businesses. Angela blogs via Contently.com.