Facebook has over 800 million users, of whom over half are active on a daily basis, and more than 400 million who use the platform on smartphones.
Facebook Business pages can offer an effective way of communicating with, and promoting to, this vast audience.
Planning is vital
There’s no point simply opening a Facebook account and creating a page. It’s important to think about what you want it to achieve, and plan accordingly. For example:
- Look at what other businesses in your sector are doing and note what you think are good (and not so good) ideas.
- Ask yourself what you want to achieve, such as building awareness or driving traffic to your website.
- Consider how you are going to engage with your Facebook fans. Think about ways of interacting with them, using promotions, special offers, news and helpful information.
- Think about the long- and short-term objectives – building an effective Facebook presence will take time.
- Talk to your customers about what they’d look for in a Facebook Business page, and think about ways in which you could deliver what the market wants.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want on your page, create it – perhaps using one of the online templates that are available – taking into account your strategic objectives.
Create a fanbase
‘Fans’ – people who want to follow your Facebook page activity – are fundamental to its success. Start a fanbase by:
- encouraging people to sign up, perhaps with limited-time promotions such as money-off vouchers
- having links on all your promotional material, including email signatures, your website, advertisements and direct marketing
- including cross-links from other social media channels, such as Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and your blog
- keeping the conversation going through forum posts, blogs, Tweets and similar activity
Build the community
It is this community who will deliver value for your business, by helping to spread the news about what you do. Remember that Facebook is social, so most people will have friends with similar tastes.
Someone who likes what they see on your Facebook page and clicks the ‘Like’ button is going to pass that information on to all their friends – who might in turn look at your page, like what they see and also click the button.
So it’s important to make your page as interesting and valuable as possible – for example:
- restaurants could offer selected recipes
- builders’ merchants could provide ‘how to’ DIY guides
- fashion retailers could offer reduced-price accessories or special deals on cosmetics
- hotels could list last-minute or low-season specials
Relevance is vital: if fans like what they see, they’ll click the button: if they think it’s irrelevant, they won’t. And it’s important to keep the interest alive. Change or add to the content regularly – at least once a week – to keep fans coming back.
It’s also important, particularly for businesses with e-commerce websites – to have regular and prominent links that will drive traffic to the core site.