It seems like everyone from the age of 21 to 35 is a social media marketing expert these days. I swear that every other person’s Twitter bio says they’re some sort of Internet marketing or social media marketing guru/expert/enthusiast, or whatever.
Just as young entrepreneurs have been attracted to this trend, small business owners have been drawn to social media as a new way to market their business and get people in the door. Unfortunately, very few small businesses have actually had success with it, causing many to abandon their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and location-based social media deals.
Problems with social media marketing are usually the result of a lack of knowledge and understanding of this modern medium. Business owners believe that simply setting up an account or profile and posting updates will generate the views and business they’re looking for. They overlook the fact that social media is a marketing tool, and should be treated as such. As with anything else you might use to market your business, you need to be creative and come up with a unique strategy for it.
Choosing Facebook for Social Media Marketing
Part of this strategy should be focusing on one outlet that will best meet your needs. Unless you are one of the many social media gurus (or have the extra cash to pay one), you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin by trying to keep up with multiple sites. If you’re unsure of where to start, take a look at what other businesses have done. In all likelihood, you’ll find that the majority of them have chosen to focus on Facebook.
For many small businesses, a Facebook page makes the most sense. Facebook allows you to create custom pages, have conversations with your customers, and easily post photos and videos. It is also very user-friendly, and reaches a wide audience. Even if you don’t have a personal Facebook account, it is more than likely you know someone who does. When used properly, Facebook can be an amazing tool for generating business.
Here are five ways to boost sales by taking your Facebook page to the next level.
Tips for Using Facebook for Business
1. Promote your page with contests and giveaways.
You may have already done this, but how well did you do it? And, did you follow Facebook’s guidelines? My suggestion is to use the Wildfire Apps. For a small fee, this professional looking app will run your contest or giveaway, and the built-in features will encourage the contest to go viral. Offer something great for prizes. Ask yourself, “Would I want to enter this contest or giveaway?” The better the prize, the more people you’ll get to like your page.
2. Promote your page at your business.
I think this is one of the most overlooked tips for small business owners. There’s nothing at their place of business telling people to connect with them. In the age of smart phones, people can “like” your page anytime, anywhere. Instead of just putting a sign up on your door or front desk, create a reason for people to “like” you right then and there. For example, offer an instant discount if they show you on their phone that they connected with your Facebook page.
3. Post content that encourages people to interact with you.
Your Facebook page should not look like a billboard. Post content that makes people want to interact with you. Facebook just came out with a great feature called “Facebook Questions,” which allows you to create a status update that acts as a poll. People love polls, and they are more likely to interact with your question than to post a comment about your new special or promo. Posting interesting photos and videos are also great ways to get people to interact with you. Users are more inclined to look at photos than to read a five sentence paragraph about how great your new product is.
As an example, Burt’s Bees has a fantastic Facebook fan page that is interactive and looks great.
4. Pay for graphic design.
If you want your Facebook page to get to the next level, then it needs to have a custom look. A welcome tab is the first step. When someone lands on your Facebook page and they haven’t “liked” it yet, a welcome tab not only prompts them to do so, but it also tells them why they should. Keep in mind that it needs to look really good. Don’t try making one yourself in MS Paint. There are plenty of freelance graphic designers out there that’ll charge $25 to $50 an hour to create the custom tab on your Facebook page, and install the graphic for you.
5. Reward your most faithful social media followers.
If you want people to start talking about your Facebook page, you’ve got to start making the faithful followers feel special. Have a “Facebook Fans Only” night. Choose a particular person that always comments on your page and do something special for them. This kind of stuff goes a long way, and it will really beef up your word-of-mouth marketing.
Being on Facebook, or other social media outlets, is all about two things: connecting with as many people as possible and getting them to interact with you on a daily basis. Everything you do on your Facebook page should have those goals in mind.
In order to get the most out of your social media marketing, you need a robust plan and strategy. Accumulating a ton of “likes” is nice, but if all you do is push out marketing copy to people, they’ll soon get bored of your page and your business, and they’ll end up hiding you in their Facebook news feed. Along the same line, having 500 Facebook fans is great, but hitting 5,000 will mean a marked increase in business as a direct result of your Facebook page. Do the five things I’ve suggested here, and you’ll start seeing results over the next few months.
Does your business have a Facebook page? What tips and strategies have worked for you? Please share in the comments!
(photo credit: Shutterstock)