Since its launch over a decade ago, Facebook has dramatically changed how small businesses interact with their target audiences. Over 40 million companies now use Facebook to create business pages that engage, advertise and invite their target audience to events. This marks a huge departure from when the Yellow Pages and newspaper print ads ranked as the best means for a small business to market itself.
For small business entrepreneurs wanting to grow their presence on Facebook, here are a few ideas that can help improved your business’ social media presence.
Creatively Respond to Comments
When a customer decides to comment on your business’ page, he or she becomes a captive audience for a preciously brief period of time. Seize this opportunity to interact with that customer by quickly responding – within a few minutes if possible – to any post. If you’re too busy to monitor your Facebook page, assign the task of maintaining your account to an employee, or split the duty among several employees. They each can take two or three hour shifts responding to any posts before handing duties off to the next person in line. Just make sure that each employee maintains the same tone and uses message consistent with that of your business.
If you’ve ever visited a website, looked at a few products, and then seen ads for those products appear in your Facebook feed, you’ve experienced the power of remarketing. Does having ads for products you were considering buying reappear as you surf the web make you reconsider whether you should have completed that purchase?
Many advertisers – a lot of them small businesses – count on the idea that customers will come back when gently reminded. The concept of appealing to recent website visitors with strategically placed ads is called remarketing. Facebook offers the option to remarket products as a paid service similar to Google Adwords.
Don’t Sell to Your Audience
One of the quickest ways a business can turn off its audience is by hard selling to them on Facebook. Social media is meant for authentic conversation and engagement with your audience, not as an advertising platform. The moment you start posting about how great your products are and why they should buy from you is the moment that you will lose the respect of your customer base.
Think of using Facebook like creating an in-person relationship with a prospective future client. You need to slowly foster a relationship, and trust needs to be built before you can expect a purchase to be considered.
So what’s a business supposed to do? Post interesting articles about your industry and add your comments, or create blog posts that offer useful tips to your customers. Post funny videos of your employees taken during team-building exercises, or highlight a new employee during his or her first week of work.
Whatever you decide to post, just make sure the focus is on building a genuine connection with your target audience.
Highlight Your Role in the Community
If you donate to a charity, sponsor a little league team or work within the community to help those in need, your charitable actions can have a big impact on shaping the impressions of future customers. While there’s a fine line between self-promotion and showing off, craft your message to show that you’re engaged in the community as a whole and that your business has a heart.