As I was sitting on my couch skyping with a client and watching my daughters socializing on their iPhones, I thought: My girls will never know the joy of phones with the cord stretched into another room for “privacy” or the challenge of having quarters for a payphone to call a friend or a significant other while away from home. And then it hit me: The world has evolved. What was once the norm is now a punchline of sorts, except at Star Trek conventions. And no where is this becoming more apparent than in marketing.
Marketing used to be a one-way street: I have something, here’s what it is, why you need it, and now you need to buy it. Marketing is now about relationships and inviting consumers to not only buy your product, but buy into the “lifestyle” or “experiences” your product/service provides. What better place to meet up for a virtual cup of coffee and conversation than at the world’s number one social website: Facebook. And now that I have my venti Irish Cream cappuccino with whipped cream, we (Tom Shapiro of startupnation.com and I) can sit down and discuss 10 Facebook tips for your business.
1. Decide why your business has a Facebook page
Do you want to sell your product/business? Do you want to have a place for your audience to congregate and discuss life and/or experiences with your product/service? Do you simply want to post pics of cute animals and funny meme pictures? Without a clear focus, your page risks being discombobulated and easily passed over. (‘Discombobulated’ is a fun word to say.)
2. Post more than every 4 score and 20 years
Out of sight, out of mind. If you change toothbrushes more often than you post on Facebook, you’re not doing the whole Facebook thing correctly. What’s a good measuring stick for posting frequency? According to Jeff Bullas, “One or two brand posts receive 32% higher ‘like’ rates and 73% comment rates compared to posting 3 or more times a day.”
3. Use Facebook ads
Facebook ads allow you to target your audience in many ways. You can be as specific or as general as you please with regard to gender, geographic location, interests, etc. And, as Tom notes, “…if you decide that your campaign is just not working, you can stop the campaign immediately, thus lowering your risk of overspending on your campaign.”
4. Sign on the virtual line
By attracting consumers with interesting and engaging material, you can keep them around with a periodic contest or sweepstakes, or simply by offering something of value in return for their registering on your page, like a surround sound system and an 80” flat screen plasma TV hand delivered by the captains from “Deadliest Catch.”
5. Send Updates
If you’re like my dog, your days are slam-packed with appointments, meetings, naps, trips outside to explore the back yard, barking at random passers-by, and naps. When does my pooch have time to remember to visit your Facebook page? Well, if you send out update notices, my dog is more likely to visit your page during one of those rare moments when she’s not napping, er, protecting our house. So send updates, and see visitors.
6. Talk to me
Communication is a two way street, right? When someone takes the time to send your business a message or a comment, you owe it to them to at least acknowledge their effort. That doesn’t mean you have to send them a card with a dozen flowers; a simple “Thank you, <name>!” (but use the person’s name; using <name> is impolite) is usually enough to give someone a case of the giddies. When a rock star I follow on Twitter re-tweeted a tweet I tweeted (did I really just write that?), I was, for a brief moment, in awe because this guy, 1) saw my tweet, and 2) re-tweeted it. ($1 million* for the first person to create cool alternatives to the words “Twitter” and any form of ‘tweet.’) A little noticing on your part can go a long way toward keeping others engaged in your content and your business for a long time to come.
7. Post to other pages
Why eat at the same hamburger joint every day? Spread your virtual wings and fly to other pages to comment. But be careful! Only post if you can add substance to the conversation; don’t use these pages to spam or to denigrate another company or product. Do those things and you’ll lose friends faster than a 3-year-old loses pieces from the game “Operation.”
8. Use it as a springboard for your brand
Like Evil Knievel on a motorcycle at a ramp factory, you should be willing to use Facebook to jump over obstacles and soar into new areas for content extension. Post something on your blog? Put a notice of it on Facebook. Have something cool happening on your Facebook page? Blog about it. Have a problem with your dog digging in the yard? Put mothballs in the holes and around them.
9. Members Only
(Let’s get the obvious 80s jacket reference out of the way.) People like to feel special. People like to feel like they have access to things others don’t. So why not offer people who ‘Like’ your page something the casual perusers don’t have the opportunity to read/use? It’s like a back stage pass for your fans.
10. Have fun
Being a presence on Facebook isn’t like a visit to the dentist or a date to a “Twilight” film festival. Enjoy your time there. Post humorous/entertaining content. Leave the boardroom talks in the boardroom; show a looser side of yourself and put a smile in your posts and some sparkle on your outfit.
The new technology is here and, like mosquitoes and greatest hits albums, ain’t going anywhere. So do yourself and your business a favor: immerse your brand in this new way of marketing and have fun with it. Like Facebook, and your target audience will “Like” you.
* As long as you take a check post-dated to 9/2097