Well, where do we start? Facebook is undoubtedly one of the biggest websites on the Internet, it evens gets more traffic than Google on some occasions! Facebook is the current success story of the social networking world and there’s now even a film about it (which is actually worth a watch!).
While it might be great for interacting with your friends and family how can it be applied to a business? What real value does it hold for your company? Following on from our posts about Twitter, it’s time to look at Facebook and the benefits it can bring you. In the next few weeks we’ll be running a series of posts, but first we’ll start with a beginner’s guide.
Firstly what is Facebook?
According to Facebook themselves “it’s about giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. It’s used to post information, photos and interact with friends, family and for business – customers and people interested in your business.
While people are familiar with using Facebook for personal use, how can a business use Facebook to strengthen their online marketing?
Let’s start with how we, at Sign-Up.to, use it. Like Twitter, we use our Sign-Up.to Facebook page to talk about the people behind our business and often post photo albums of interesting things happening in our office. We also post blog posts and company information and in September 2010 we even used Facebook to run a competition where we gave away an iPad.
To give some background, Facebook was founded in 2004 and now has over 500 million users. The average user has 130 friends and Facebook claim that people spend over 700 billion minutes a month on their website.
So how do you create your branded Facebook page? Below we have listed some important points to remember:
- Pages Vs Groups: A group is for more personal use and Facebook promote it as being suitable for small communities, almost as an extension to your personal user account. You’ll find, especially as your online presence grows that a group isn’t suitable for promoting your business, so it’s best to have a page. Pages were specifically designed for business purposes and allow you to broadcast information in an official way, but interact with your ‘fans’ on a personal level. To find out how to create a page for your business check out Facebook’s handy guide.
- Adding information. One of the most important things to do when creating your page is to add information about your business – things like a profile picture and a bit of company information can really go a long way. Remember, your page should represent your branding and your company style.
- Plan of action. The best thing you can do when starting out on Facebook is to make a plan. This could include updates or photos you’d like to post, competitions you’d like to run or even some targets of how many fans you’d like to have in the first month. Even if you don’t seem to be gaining new fans keep posting regular updates as this is the best way of attracting new people. If a person interested in your business visits your page and sees you haven’t updated your page in a long time, what’s their incentive to click that all important ‘like’ button? Sadly, nothing. The fans will come eventually, and it’s better to have a busy page then an empty one!
- Interactions. Once people start interacting with your page remember that Facebook is about reaching people on a personal level, so make it friendly and personal. After all, they’re the ones declaring to their friends that they want to be associated with your brand, so they deserve that friendly experience.
While Facebook has certainly become an online phenomenon, don’t let that intimidate you – give it a go! The best way to start is to try things out, perhaps create a test page first. Building your confidence will help you develop your page and try out new things. It’ll also help make Facebook conversations friendly and relaxed.
Our next blog post will focus on the do’s and don’ts of Facebook, but we hope you’ve found this beginner’s guide interesting. If you have any questions about social media and setting up your business pages please get in touch with us!