Will Having a Facebook Presence Really Help my Business?
I remember when my University got Facebook my freshman year in college. Back in the good ole’ days, when Facebook was strictly for college students, I would have gotten in some serious trouble for trying to check my Facebook Page during class. Back then I would have laughed if someone would have told me that an important part of my future job would require me to make daily Facebook updates to my company’s business page. But wow has Facebook has changed dramatically in the 6 years since its birth. Recently reaching 300 million users, Facebook is no longer a virtual community for college students to share information with friends (and “friends”). The social network has rapidly evolved into a networking platform for individuals as well as businesses to share information from the trivial to the vital. This global phenomenon has left businesses large and small asking the question: “Does my company need a presence on Facebook?”
More and more businesses are hitting the ground running with Facebook, as analytics continue to prove this social networking tool to be a successful and inexpensive way to reach your target audience. It is quick, easy and completely free to create a Facebook page. You can make your page viewable by everyone and anyone, whether they are members of Facebook or not. Once the page is created, invite your clients to join and interact with them frequently by posting videos and photos, updating company news, publicizing discounts, initiating and taking part in discussions, and developing custom applications.
A great way to get a an idea of how powerful a tool Facebook can be to establish a strong online brand identity, is to check out some examples of business pages that have found a way to successfully utilize the medium. Pizza Hut, Atlantis Resort and Coca-Cola, are all examples of major companies that have used their Facebook Page to create a genuine community for “fans” of their brand. Another great example of Facebook Business Page we are currently working on here at The Net Impact is The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort Page.
A few benefits of using Facebook for business include:
Increased Exposure: An important reason to invest time in creating an engaging page is each and every activity of your fans (this includes anything from becoming a fan, to posting a comment) gets shared with a greater network – giving your business increased visibility. You can also link your Facebook page to your other social networking sites, your company site and even on your email signature to personalize your brand.
Targeted Advertising: Facebook ads allow you to advertise a website, event, company or content you manage on Facebook. Facebook allows you to target the reach for your ad by location, gender, age and interests. As you add these customized filters, Facebook will automatically update the count of people fitting your criteria so you can gauge the size of your target market on Facebook.
Increase traffic to your company site: You can use your Facebook Page to link through to your company website. As a Page grows in fan base, traffic to the website will also increase. In addition, Facebook Pages also show up in search engine results.
Develop Credibility: Facebook Pages provide a form of dialogue between customers and the brand, this unique opportunity gives companies the chance to build better relationships and to show consumers that they care about their opinions. Facebook also allows for the companies to gain a deeper understanding of how they are perceived online via direct contact with consumers. Each business Facebook Page should showcase the value of their individual brand and share valid information to emphasize the company’s position as an educated leader in their industry.
If you have the time to devote to building and using your social media for marketing, Facebook may have unlimited potential for your business. Before you consider how you will leverage your contacts on Facebook, it is important to learn the etiquette appropriate for social networking. Unlike traditional advertising and marketing, you do not want to simply broadcast your message, but instead influence your fans by grabbing their interest and developing an active community to enhance your brand.
Here are some important things to remember before creating your Facebook business page:
-Set Boundaries- It is a good idea to have a code of ethics guideline available to all employees to use as a reference for their social activities online. Also remember the importance of transparency and establishing honesty and integrity up front while interacting online in association with your company. Once you lose your credibility, it is pretty hard to get back.
-Create an Effective Profile Page - Give users a reason to want to become a fan of your page and to become an active member. Take advantage of applications such as the discussion board or YouTube video box to add appealing content to your page.
-Be Consistent and Frequent- The most successful and credible social media campaigns promote a strong message that is frequently heard and consistent in tone and voice. This helps consumers connect the dots from a series of your company’s marketing efforts; this leads to an increase in sales potential and sharper brand awareness.
- Measure Analytics-Tracking these metrics over time can help you measure the ROI of using Facebook and be smarter about how to utilize Facebook as an ongoing part of your overall marketing strategy.
Bottom Line: Facebook has quickly transformed from a fad to a highly effective business tool. If you are willing to commit the needed time and effort to develop a Facebook strategy, go ahead and build a Facebook presence and start the conversation. What do you have to lose? You never know where your next business deal may come from!