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The Small Business Guide to Facebook

facebookWhile millions of Americans log on to Facebook every day to catch up with friends and families, a smaller but growing group of business owners are harnessing the power of this mega social media site to draw in more clients. Why Facebook?

Today Facebook reports over 500 million users and falls only behind Google as the second-most visited website in the U.S. Not only is the site free, it provides an environment that encourages viral sharing. 78% of small business owners plan to invest considerably on Social Media Marketing this year, and the biggest concentration of those efforts is by far on Facebook.

The following tips will help you to establish a presence every bit as effective as a professional website.

  1. Establish a fan page  – Today’s fan pages are not the same pages of the past. Modified to be more beneficial for businesses, new page functionality includes newsletter sign-up pages, brand optimized URLs, event promotions and a myriad of tools. Fans can recommend your page to their other friends, and a highlight of your page shows up on their profile when they join your community. You can additionally enrich your page with PowerPoints, videos, contests and polls.
  2. Create ads – Facebook ads are so much more than a pop up on a user’s screen. Company ads can be targeted based on user interests, occupations and geographies. Businesses can even test ads before moving the campaign forward. Rather than using ads to sell something, companies should instead promote a fan page or website where prospects can learn and interact.
  3. Post cool and engaging statuses – Facebook users spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on the social network. While that leaves businesses with a big opportunity for exposure, it doesn’t ensure interaction. Spam and blatant pitches are not going to be received well. Users are leary of anything  adding to the already abundant noise. Talking about yourself always and never anything else will definitely be ill received. A well thought out topic or statement, however, can generate a buzz. The best time to post a status? Friday before noon.

These are just a few tips to skim the surface. Check back in a few weeks when I’ll dive deeper into Facebook strategies and methods. Leave a comment if you’d like any topics or questions covered.