Expert opinions are mixed about Facebook’s effectiveness as a business venue. Still, there are ways you can use the site to your advantage.
If for some reason you were forced to choose just one plot of internet real estate to conduct your company’s online sales and marketing, what would it be? Most people would probably name their website.
It’s unlikely that a lot of managers would choose Facebook as their most effective virtual representative. But that doesn’t mean that companies are eschewing the behemoth site. Recent statistics compiled by DMR, a clearinghouse for digital marketing tips, stats, and news, indicate that Facebook Pages are indeed being used by businesses large and small. Here is some of what DMR found:
- There are 50 million Facebook Small Business Pages.
- Brands contribute an average of 1.48 posts to their Pages daily.
- 41 percent of U.S. small businesses use Facebook.
- 75 percent of brands “promote” their Facebook posts.
- The ideal length for a Facebook post is 40 characters (for maximum engagement).
- The most common reason why users un-Like a brand is, “uninteresting posts.”
To avoid being un-Liked, be very clear about your reason(s) for being on Facebook. Are you trying to build awareness of your brand? Enhance relationships with your customers and prospects? Create enough interest in your products that your visitors will link through to your website and buy? How you answer those questions will drive your content creation on your Facebook page.
If you have chosen to commit company time and other resources to a Facebook Page, the most critical thing to keep in mind is that you should continue to commit time and other resources to your Facebook page. A halfhearted, haphazardly-maintained Page is worse than no Page at all. Businesses are held to a higher standard than individuals are with their personal pages. Your visitors expect to see a professional-looking, regularly-updated, engaging presence when they look you up.
Don’t change the static elements of your Facebook Page frequently. Your profile picture and cover photo—and you do need exceptional, brand-centric, appealing images for these—shouldn’t be changed without a good reason. They’re your Facebook visual identity.
Customize the tabs that appear under your cover photo. Yes, these can be modified to take visitors to additional content, but it’s not a particularly easy process (here is Facebook’s developer page on the topic if you want to see what’s involved). Facebook offers good tools for businesses, but it may not be worth your time to wrestle with them.
If you’re committed to being the best you can be on Facebook, you may want to hire a developer to handle those tasks for you. Visitors may just head for your fresh updates, but if you can engage them when they first get on, all the better. Think Calls to Action.
Don’t get too fancy here, though. There’s enough noise on Facebook that you want to look sleek and elegant in contrast.
As for your updates and other content itself (like your About screen), keep it as succinct as possible. Your visitors might be willing to read lengthy tomes about, for example, a dog that needs rescuing or a particularly intriguing TV show or movie, but they’re more likely to want to cut to the chase when they’re trying to find out what new products you’re offering or what special discounts are available to Facebook users or how they might best use an item you sell. If a topic needs to be discussed at length, link to it.
(And keep in mind that Google searches Facebook content.)
Let your audience know that you’re there. It’s not enough to just post an update and/or photo and video every day. Someone on your staff should be watching the page regularly – not only to put the kibosh on objectionable content, but to respond to comments and questions.
Finally, you know how important your privacy settings are on your personal Facebook page. It’s equally critical that your company’s Facebook Page settings reflect your intentions. Facebook can be a useful business ally; it may supply you with leads, create goodwill, and humanize your company a bit. But protect your brand.