There's been a lot of talk about Facebook over the last few years, and many business owners feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the buzz and developments.
What if you had a simple punch list of the "if nothing else, do this" items needed to get the most out of Facebook?
I made the following list of action items to get you started with a minimum of things to do or learn.
The purpose is to get you more exposure and attract new customers, and improve relationships with existing ones (or those on the fence).
Step #1: Create It
If your business does not have its own free Facebook Page yet, I strongly suggest taking 10 minutes today to set one up.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php, follow the directions, enter your business' description and some photos, and you're done. Don't spend too much time on this right now, just get one up and running quickly to start.
Then, ask friends and family members in your contact list (your email contact list or Facebook friends you already have) to "Like" your business and become a fan.
Your immediate goal is to get 25 fans, at which point you can ask Facebook for a "vanity URL." In other words, you will be able to choose a custom Facebook address to give people, rather than the lengthy one they give you.
To do this, go to Facebook.com/username and follow the instructions.
Step #2: Grow Your Fans
The next step is to work on getting found by more people, so you're not posting to an empty room. You want maximum results for your efforts!
Here's 3 helpful ways to increase your Fans over time:
- Give your customers your Facebook web address. You can print it on your business cards, signs, and other marketing materials you use.
Give them your vanity URL to find you directly, or at the least, tell them you're on Facebook and what they will get there (discounts, updates, fun, etc.) and they can search for you once they're there.
- Run Facebook Ads. You've seen those ads with pictures on the right sidebar as you use Facebook. Did you know you can run them, too? Just go to Facebook.com/advertising and follow the instructions.
Facebook gives $50 vouchers for ad credit for new advertisers-you'll see them in business magazines or various online ads from time to time.
Use one of them or kickstart your campaign for $50-100. Send the traffic to your Page and see how many likes you get. Make sure to note your Cost per Visit and Cost per Like. Sometimes it's only a few cents each!
- Incentivize sharing. Your goal is to get people to participate in the Facebook discussions you start with your posts. This will happen naturally as you engage your fans, covered next.
But it also helps to give people something in exchange for Liking your Page or sharing it with friends. You can do this by offering a free report, checklist, video, discount, coupon, giveaway raffle, or anything else to motivate them to spread the word.
Step #3: Engage Your Fans
Okay, so now what do you post and when? And how can you take care of this quickly with all your other business projects and tasks going on?
My advice is to start small and keep it simple. Commit to making one simple post per day, which can be as short as 1-2 sentences. It helps to sit down and write them in one sitting, over 15 minutes or so, rather than logging on every day and starting from scratch.
Once you have written the next week or two of Wall posts in advance, you can use a free service like Postcron.com to schedule the day and time they appear, so you don't have to remember to log in and do it manually each time.
The best times to post are just before people most typically visit Facebook; a recent study on social media revealed that these peak times are at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm (Eastern Time), with Wednesdays being the most popular day of the week.
Publishing your content a few minutes before these times keeps it in the public's eye when the most people can see it and participate.
And here are some ideas to get you started writing posts:
- Post photos...people love them! Take photos of your customers, your location, yourself, your employees, and your events. Each of them gets attention, describes you better than 1,000 words, and gives you something interesting to post without having to be super-creative.
- Ask Questions. This invites a response, especially with questions like "What do you think?" or adding "Tell us why" following a Yes-or-No question.
- Show behind the scenes. People are always intrigued by mystery and want to know what really goes on in a business behind closed doors. So show them! You can give your fans updates on your business' plans and what you're working on now, show photos from behind the scenes, and more.
So there's the punch list! Create your page, grow your fans, engage them continually, and you will have opened up a new avenue for increasing customers, relationships, and sales.
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