How Any Small Business Can Use Facebook to Generate Sales and Leads
Let’s now look at Facebook…
Facebook is the most well known social networking website on the web and is designed to help build and sustain connections with family, friends, and businesses. Founded in 2004, the network was at first only open to college students, but has since become available to anyone.
Profiles are available for individuals who want to connect with others, while pages are available to businesses who want to connect with their target demographic for the purpose of advertising products and services.
Benefits to business owners
Connecting and Building Relationships
Facebook provides both live chat and private messaging platforms. Businesses can use these tools to connect with current and prospective customers, as well as co-workers. It’s a great way to nurture relationships beyond the basic features Facebook offers.
Building Brand Credibility
You can share as much information as you want on your business page. Using the profile photo space and the timeline cover space will allow you to build and foster brand awareness. Using photos and the messages you share on your page can show fans your brand’s core message. Taking the time to interact with fans not only shares your core message, but also shows your fans that you care. When your fans are happy, they’ll share your message with their friends and followers too.
It costs you nothing to create and run a Facebook page. You’ll have a time investment of course because you’ll need to manage the page regularly. As you continue to invest time, your reach will increase exponentially. There is a paid advertising option, but we’ll discuss that in more detail later in this article. Using that option can give you a leg up on the competition if there’s room in your marketing budget.
Announcing Important Events
You can announce events, discounts, product launches, and more with your Facebook page. Fans can share the information with their friends to spread the message for you.
Setting Up Your Fan Page
If you do not have a fan page, you can’t reach your target audience. Chances are you already have a personal Facebook account, but the terms of service require you to use a page for business, rather than a personal profile. You must create a fan page for your product/service/brand.
All you have to do to get started is visit: http://facebook.com/page. From there, choose your category from the list of options:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
Fill in the appropriate information. You’ll things such as: business name, website, location, launch/founding date, hours of operation, etc.
- Profile Main Image: 160px x 160px – Great for your logo.
- Cover Photo: 851px x 315px - Great for promotions. It’s against the terms of service to include contact information in this a
- Pinned Post or Story: 403px x 403px
- Milestone/Highlighted Story: 843px x 403px
Suggest the Page to Your Friends: This helps you add likes to build and grow your brand’s social media presence. It also helps start the spread of your messages.
Import Contacts: It’s a good idea to import your email contacts, so you can suggest your page to people you know, but are not yet friends with on Facebook.
Start Writing Content: Post updates, share links, ask questions. This will start engaging your fan base. It’s a good idea to share your own content 10% of the time – people will stop paying attention to you if all you do is toot your own horn. Don’t just talk at people – talk to them.
Once you have enough fans, get a vanity URL. This allows your Facebook page URL to be: http://facebook.com/yournamehere instead of the auto-assigned (and hard to remember) URL you’re given when you first sign up for your page.
Unless you have “likes”, nobody on Facebook will see what you post. The new Facebook algorithm will only show your message to a small portion of your fan base, unless those fans have chosen to see all your updates, or unless you decide to pay real money to promote the status update. As complicated as all of this sounds, however, it doesn’t have to be hard to do. These ideas can help you get started.
Post a status update on your personal page. If you tag your business page in that status update and ask your friends to like the page, then share the status, or the page with their friends, you’ll get a good (free) head start on your numbers.
Get fans to upload and tag photos. Ask your friends to upload photos of themselves either at your place of business, using your product or using your service, and tag your business page. This will increase visibility and give you great material to include on your page.
Offer an incentive. Whether you choose to discount the product or service you offer, or provide a free gift (such as an eBook), people will be much more likely to “like” your page when they feel like they are getting something in return.
Install a page badge. With just a few clicks, you can link your Facebook page to your website.
Install a Facebook “Like Box” on your website. The “Like Box” is similar to the page badge, but this allows website visitors to become fans of your page, without having to visit Facebook or leave your website.
Install a “Like” button on your website. This adds the Facebook “like” button to every page and/or post on your website. If someone clicks this, the “like” will show up in their Facebook feed, giving you more exposure.
Connect the page to Twitter. This adds anything you post on Facebook to your Twitter account, allowing you to cross promote and convert Twitter followers into fans on Facebook fans.
Link to your page as a place of employment. You’ll be able to link to your page from your personal profile this way.
Add the Facebook URL to your email signature. This way everyone you email will see it.
Add the Facebook URL to your business cards. You’re not always promoting online, but you need to promote your online presence all the time.
Instead of linking to your website in blog comments, you’re your Facebook page. This builds backlinks to increase your search engine ranking. As people see the comment, you may get extra likes.
Link to your Facebook page from your profile. Add your pages link to your profile. This way your friends who have yet to like your page will still see the link.
Advertise your page with Facebook Ads. If your budget allows, use Facebook’s paid advertising to expose your page to people outside your personal network.
A word of warning:
As you’re looking for ways to add fans, you may find companies promoting fans for sale. Fans you buy this way are usually fake profiles – and even if they are real people, usually are not targeted to your audience. It’s better to have a fan base with fewer targeted fans than a larger one with no targeted fans. Targeted fans are more likely to convert and put cash in your pocket. You of course, are free to use this approach, but do so at your own risk and we would not advise it.
Facebook has a platform similar to Google that allows page owners to pay for advertising. You can choose to pay for ads based on the number of impressions (how many times they are shown) or based on clicks (the number of times people actually click your ad.) With this platform, you can highly target your audience with a variety of demographics, such as: age, location, interests, gender, interests, and more.
It’s also possible to set a budget. When that budget is reached, you can stop running the ad. The ads are served on the sidebar, or possibly as sponsored content in the timeline.
You must bid on the cost per click, so the lower you bid on each click, the less likely your ad is to be served. The first time you run an ad, it will go to Facebook for approval before it begins to run.
If you would like to run Facebook Ads but don't feel comfortable doing it, drop us an email and we can help. We are certified to do this and have been successfully doing this for 4 years now.