How Facebook Can Make Your Small Business Soar

A recent Capital One TV ad features comedian Jimmy Fallon politely asking a somewhat indifferent baby boy in a high chair: “Would you like 50% more cash?  Everybody likes more cash!” Convinced no one could possibly refuse such an offer, much to Jimmy’s surprise, the kid responds by tossing a handful of Cheerios in Jimmy’s face.   So when it comes to your small business, ask yourself:   Do you want more leads?  Do you want more sales?  Do you want more customers? If the answer is “yes”, you need a dynamic business Facebook page.

The Future of Business is Social

Marketing guru, Seth Godin, says: “If you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you’ll be too late.” Today, it is all about real-time marketing.  According to Hub Spot, a leading Internet marketing company, among SMBs who actively use social media marketing to promote their business, 70% rank Facebook No. 1. Although, half of US SMBs say social media sites play an important role in active sales, a significant number are still unwilling to play in the social media space.   Whether you’re new to Facebook, somewhat engaged or an advanced user, this blog provides tips on how to get more from Facebook.

New to Facebook for business?

Facebook is the oldest and largest online social networking site that connects people and organizations.  With about 800 million users, Facebook is bigger than the whole Internet was in 2004, the year Facebook was founded.

Start by downloading this amazing free e-book from HubSpot:  How to use Facebook for BusinessAn Introductory Guide for 2011.

Be careful not to launch a Facebook page just for the sake of having a “Facebook page”.  The social landscape is littered with as many failed Facebook pages as there are forgotten websites.

Questions small business owners should answer before creating a Facebook page

  • What is your target audience?
  • What are your goals, e.g., engagement, leads, drive sales, brand awareness?
  • Evaluate your marketing options.  Is maintaining a business Facebook page a good use of your time and energy?
  • Do you have sufficient resources to maintain the page?
  • What messages would you share through Facebook pages that are not available to prospects through other marketing efforts?

Ready to kick it up a notch?  10 ways to get more from Facebook

  1. Create a Compelling Fan Page. For great examples of engaging fan pages, go to Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Small Business Facebook pages.  Look closely at the strategies these brands use to build an exciting presence.   For inspiration, check out creative fan pages by Red Bull, Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings, and 5 Gum.
  2. Boost your SEO. When you include descriptive text in the “About” box and “Info” tab of your Facebook page, they become searchable. You can also build links to your Facebook page and focus on off-site link building which includes linking to your Facebook page from your website, blog and other social sites like Twitter. All great ways for a small business to get found.
  3. Make the most of Facebook Groups. Use this valuable feature for discussions, events and to share information. Groups can encourage community engagement and action. Join Facebook groups in all of your categories of interest. 
  4. Earn your fans attention. Customers and prospects are drawn to Facebook pages to retrieve coupons, discounts and offers, driving repeat traffic (and business) to your page.  Digital intelligence expert, eMarketer, reports that the No. 1 motivation for “Liking” a company, brand or association on Facebook is to receive discounts and promotions.
  5. Leverage the power of Facebook page apps. Your goal is to get people to interact with your page. Do some research to identify apps that can work for your business, e.g., contests, email sign-ups, videos, promotions, discussions, free downloads, wallpaper plus more. Make sure to download the Facebook app for your smart phone. The iPhone Facebook app, for example, is one of the most popular from the App Store. You can update your status on the go, communicate with friends and brands, get messages, check events, etc.
  6. Extend your marketing reach with QR codes.   It is easy to create a QR (quick response) code that points to your Facebook page. Print the QR code on the back of your business card, brochures, flyers, postcards and any other printed marketing materials to encourage page visits. Download a free AT&T Code Scanner for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones to start realizing the benefits of this amazing marketing tool. Use AT&T Create-a-Code, a free service, to create custom barcodes.
  7. Feed your Facebook page with your blog. When you write a blog, post it to your Facebook page. This will engage your audience and help boost your SEO.
  8. Write engaging content. Seventy-six percent of Facebook fans have interacted (either often or occasionally) with a brand’s Facebook page by clicking on the “Like” button, according to eMarketer. When you create content that powerfully communicates your product or service, you provide reasons for people to return.
  9. Experiment with Facebook display ads. Facebook offers excellent targeting and an easy to use interface to create ads, upload images and manage your campaign.  You don’t need an ad agency to do this for you. Set a daily ad budget to control spending. You’ll gain insights into the right combination of messages, images and offers that get traction.
  10. Fans love video. Leverage the power of video to pitch your brand, demo products, provide testimonials, etc. Visit the Whole Foods Facebook page to view some great video that informs and educates.  Whole Foods visitors come away a little smarter about healthy eating choices.


Earn attention with a rewarding customer experience

Keep in mind, your small business is competing for your audience’s attention. Consumers are exposed to hundreds of ads every day and it is getting harder for a small business to stand-out.  You can’t buy attention, but you can earn it if you provide your community with a rewarding customer experience. Social media guru, Chris Brogan, talks about the importance of getting your community interested in what you want to talk about.  According to Chris, once your community believes that “you’re out for their own good, you can make offers that might be of use to them.” Building trust in your community can lead to incremental sales.

A magnetic fan page earns “Likes”

Creating a great fan page helps rack up “Likes” and connects customers. Email your Facebook page link to customers and prospects with incentives to “Like” your page. Promote your Facebook page on your website, blog, LinkedIn, Google+, and offline.

The killer app for Facebook is indeed “apps”

Many free and custom apps are available to fit your business.  You will find that Facebook is an excellent information source.  While you’re there, check out a short video that puts it all into perspective.  For more ideas, check out Jeff Bullas’ 5 Top Facebook Apps to Market your Business and Brand.

Tracking  –  the final frontier

Facebook offers some powerful tools to measure your success. With Facebook Insights, get information on page views, wall posts, users, feedback, Likes, comments and much more.  Facebook Insights can help determine the most popular content sections on your page.

The battle of the high tech all stars begins

One thing is certain.  Facebook will continue to evolve as it strives to repel strong competition from Google+, the new social networking site launched in June.  In the very near future, Google is expected to announce Google+ brand pages to compete with Facebook. Stay tuned for more and (when available) be prepared to move quickly to capture the Google+ vanity URL for your small business!

If Jimmy Fallon were to ask you: “Do you want more cash?”  Your answer, no doubt is “yes”.  So, when it comes to your small business, if you want more leads, more sales or customers, put Facebook to work.   Drive your business forward in ways you never thought possible.

This post was originally published on AT&T’s Networking Exchange Blog.

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