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How To Use Facebook For Business

Posted by in Facebook Marketing

Facebook For Business

This post is the first in a series of four posts designed to do two things:
1. Get you acquainted with how to market your product or service on Facebook.
2. Get you saddled up and set out on the road to Facebook marketing success! facebook-for-business

Introduction (Also known as “Let’s Get Started Already!”)

First, a little disclaimer (don’t worry, you won’t need to consult your attorney for this disclaimer): My Facebook page bites the big one. Okay, it’s not really that terrible. It’s actually pretty good by most standards. Thing is, if it were the Facebook page of one of my clients, I’d be crying softly into my pillow right now. Why? It’s not up to my standards — the standards that my clients pay good money for — so for that, I feel I owe you all this explanation.

Enough, already! Get to the good part!

Alright, alright! In this post, the first of four in this series, we’ll be covering the basics of marketing your business online with Facebook — that way you’ve got a great foundation (and a rockin’ Facebook page) to build upon with the knowledge you’ll learn in the follow-up posts! Let’s get started…

Goal Setting

The first step to any marketing campaign (and Facebook is no different) is to set realistic and measurable goals.

Basically, what do you want your Facebook page to do?

Here are some common answers I hear when I ask new clients that very question:

•    “Carter, I want my Facebook page to increase my sales”
•    “Carter, I want my Facebook page to bring me new customers”
•    “Carter, I want my Facebook page to… hell, I don’t know what I want it to do. I just
know I need one.”

Let’s get one thing clear right now: If your chief goal is to use Facebook in the same way that you’d use a billboard — to directly advertise to the general population — stop now, back away from the keyboard, and try again chief. Facebook CAN help bring you new leads and (assuming your sales funnel is clean) then you can convert those leads into sales that would have otherwise never happened, but Facebook is not and never will be about directly advertising. It’s all about interaction (but more about that later!)

Try this question on for size: What can you expect your Facebook page to help you do?

Once you’ve become comfortable with the above question, you’re ready to move forward with Facebook marketing. Those two words in italics are especially important:

•    You can want your Facebook page to do all sorts of things, but you should only expect your Facebook page to do the things that it can actually do.

•    To that effect, a Facebook page alone doesn’t do diddly. A Facebook page can help (oh, can it help) with your inbound marketing, customer connection and retention, and many other things, but it can only help. It can’t do it all alone, and it certainly can’t do it unless you put in the necessary work!

Speaking of putting in the necessary work…

Making Facebook Marketing Work for You

The first and most important part of making your Facebook page work for you is to create a plan and stick to it. Facebook pages need many things to make them successful, but chief among those things is a comprehensive and organized plan of action. Confused and erratic messaging will turn your audience off faster than you can possibly imagine.

Okay, I get it. I need a plan. I’ve got a blank piece of paper in front of me and a pencil. Problem is, I have no freaking clue what to write down!

This is one of those places where trying to explain every little thing that you can do as a part of your Facebook marketing plan would literally take a novel — and that’s not the point of this article series. I can, however, help you narrow your focus and point you in the right direction.

Your Facebook page must provide constant, new value to the user in order to be continually successful. What will provide value to your specific users? This depends on your answers to several questions:

•    What is your target demographic? Are you B2C or B2B? Or both?
•    What’s your business? The value you provide should be something related to your industry.
•    What are your core strengths? The value you provide should leverage these strengths for maximum success.

Okay, enough vague business-talk. Here are some real world examples of Facebook pages that provide not only value, but continually updated value:

1.    Social Media Examiner (it’s exactly what it sounds like) often holds events where they’ll invite an industry expert to discuss a particular aspect of Social Media marketing and answer questions for the fans of the SME Facebook Page. All of this takes place on the SME Facebook Page’s wall, which is a double-whammy: SME gets TONS of interaction on their wall, which means they show up in a lot more peoples’ news feeds, which means they pick up more fans, and they’re also increasing the loyalty of their existing fanbase by providing something of value for free, meaning that those fans are much more likely to recommend SME to other friends.

2.   Tide offers fans of their Facebook page exclusive discounts and coupons that are only available to fans of their Facebook page. This is a great step in the right direction, and many other people would simply stop at that. But Tide wisely does not. They also offer helpful advice that’s related to their business — for example, advice from fabrics experts on the best ways to get tough stains out of particular fabric types. Most importantly, they’re constantly updating both their offers and their advice to give their existing fans a reason to come back.

Are you starting to get the idea now? Value is created when you provide to your fans things that are useful and interesting to them, but also related to your products or services.

BUT, that’s only one slice of the pie, because…

Getting Facebook Fans to Interact With Your Page…

… is just as important. Remember earlier in this article when I said that Facebook pages aren’t about direct advertising? I meant it. Here’s what Facebook is all about: Interaction is your Facebook page’s reason for being.

When you get your fans to like or comment (i.e. interact) with something on your page, it has a chance of showing up in their newsfeeds, which some of their friends will then see, which means extra eyeballs on your content.

Stick with me here and try and follow this, because it’s important: the more eyeballs you get on your content, the more people will know about your page, and the more people will like your page. As the number of people who like your page (i.e. your fans) increases, the number of people interacting with your page will increase… are you seeing the snowball effect yet? Are you getting how absolutely vital interaction is?

Okay, okay, I get it. So how do I get people to interact?

This question is very similar to the “how do I provide value” question in the previous section. The answer depends on a whole bunch of factors, and coming up with a specific answer that fits every combination of possible variables is absolutely impossible — any answer would be so vague as to render it useless.

However, as before, I can still point you in the right direction! To spur interaction on your facebook page, the things that you post (whether they be statuses, questions, links, photos, etc.) need to fit the following criteria:

•    What you post must be unique (to your audience),
•    What you post must be interesting (to your audience),
•    What you post should, either directly (i.e. in the form of a question) or indirectly (i.e. something that people can’t resist commenting on) ask for interaction.

Some of you sharper-eyed individuals may have noticed a big one that I left out: relevancy. I left it out on purpose. I’m sure the comments will blow up because of this (and I welcome the discussion!). In my own experience your value offers must be relevant, but what you post doesn’t necessarily have to be (as long as it fits all three of the criteria above).

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to…

Measure, Track, and Refine Your Facebook Marketing

One of the elements that I’ve tried to stress in this article is that change is critical to success. You must change the material (or at least add fresh material) to your Facebook page often in order to bring you the best results. More importantly, though, you must look outwardly and realize this:

Your fans, and society at large, will change as time goes on. Don’t believe me? Go find a commercial for Tide detergent from the 1060s and another one from this year, and notice the vast difference.

Trends, emotions, best practices, and most importantly what people expect from you is constantly evolving. You must always be aware of this and ready to adapt. That’s not a success tactic… that’s a survival tactic, and it leads to the most important point of this (brief) section:

Always track everything you can to determine what’s successful and what’s a dud, and then refine your plan to fit the changes.

And remember (I can’t hammer this home enough): Facebook marketing is about interaction, NOT the number of likes your page has. A page with 100 very active followers is infinitely more valuable than a page that has 10,000 followers who never do anything!

Carter, You’re Freakin’ Full of It

Heck, maybe so! Obviously I don’t think so… but I’m always willing to listen :) Maybe you don’t want to kick me in the poo (as our host John Paul so eloquently put it once) — maybe you just want to ask me a question, or get me to clarify something. Well, please, ask away :) I’ll be watching the comments like a hawk!

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  • http://twitter.com/michellecruble Michelle Ruble

    Such a GREAT piece and perfect to help explain to someone NEW regarding Facebook marketing – can’t wait to see read the next post.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul

    Thanks Michelle.. Carter laid out a nice post to help the newbie marketers and biz owners out there.

  • Anonymous

    Glad you enjoyed it, Michelle! I’ll make sure the next posts live up to the hype 😉

  • http://www.logallot.com Sonia

    I just read the part 2 and didn’t see this part. Great post Carter and the information will help me with my FB Fan page too. 

  • http://smbizblog.com Carter Schimpff

    Thanks, Sonia! I appreciate it!

  • George Iov

    Great advices! I will remember: ‘unique, interesting and interacting’. Thank you!

  • AdamStanecki

    Thanks. Great ideas there.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Thanks for stopping by Adam

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    That’s it George,, do that over time you will see success.

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