With 2011 approaching, I wanted to reach out to small business owners looking to ramp up social media efforts for the New Year. This is part one of a four part social media start-up package series. This series will particularly help you if you've a) heard about social media but don't know how it can benefit your business or b) have invested some time and money into social media, but haven't seen any results.
My goal is to help the small business owner, move from curiosity and exploration in the social media realm to results and value. In part one of this series, I am going to cover Facebook, but stay tuned parts two, three, and four on Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging.
For a small business, there are few excuses not to have a Facebook Page. Over 500 million people have Facebook and 250,000 more join each day. It helps small business build brand awareness. Facebook can provide your business with real time feedback. It's the fastest way to communicate with many customers at once. You can track the effectiveness of your Facebook efforts. And it's free to set up a Fan Page.
How to for Beginners (skip this section if your business already has a Facebook Fan Page)
If you're not on Facebook, you need to first create a personal profile. You can do that by going to Facebook and filling in your name, email, password, gender, birthday, and all of the other required information. It's good to add a picture too so that people identify you and "add you as a friend".
Once you've set up your profile, you can create a page for your business called a Fan Page. You can do so by clicking on "Ads and Pages" which can be found on the left hand side of your Facebook Home Page.
Then click "+Create Page". This will prompt you to create a "Community Page" or "Official Page". If you're a small business owner, click the "Local business" button under the "Official Page" section and enter the name of your business where it says "Page name:". Check the box that says you are the official representative of the page and click "Create Official Page". Finally, verify it's the official page by clicking "create page," and then, in less than five minutes you've created a Facebook Page for your business.
Then click on the "Info" tab near the top of the screen, and click "edit information." This will prompt you to enter your company's "basic info," "detailed info," and "contact info".
Once you've finished filling out that information, click on the box to the left that says "Write Something About (YOUR BUSINESS)". In this section write a good, short description of your business and provide a link to your website and any other relevant sites (blog, twitter, etc.). If you'd like to edit what you wrote, click the pencil button in the upper right corner.
I would then recommend posting a few status updates. Spread them out over a few days, and provide useful information such as good links to relevant articles. Also add company photos of your products, services, and team.
The purpose for doing this before reaching out to people to "like" your page is so that people get a feel for the type of content you will provide on the page. If you have a relatively blank Facebook Page, people may not click the "like" button when they are invited to join it.
Complete your Facebook Fan Page by following the next steps as prompted by Facebook. Add your logo to your profile by clicking "Upload an Image" and then "Browse." Finally, you can invite your friends on Facebook to "like" your page by clicking the button that says "suggest to friends" on the upper left hand side of your page, underneath the logo.
And there you have it. If you've completed these steps, you've got a solid page with a good amount of people that "like" the page.
How to Grow Your Reach for Intermediate/Advanced Facebook Users
For business owners that have a Facebook Page set up, here are some tips and applications that can help grow your reach:
1. Import contacts from your email list.
You can do so from your Facebook home page. Find the "Get Connected" section on the right hand side of your profile. Click on "Find Your Friends" underneath where it says "Who's On Facebook?" This will bring you to a "Find Friends" page where you are prompted to add your email service provider. If your domain is yourbusinessname.com and you use Microsoft Outlook, choose "other email service" and click on the small link that says "File Importer". Then click on "Find my Windows Contacts" when prompted, and click "run" or "allow" when the security message appears. This will bring up a list of all of your contacts in Outlook that you are not friends with on Facebook.
After you've added friends from your email provider, Facebook prompts you to invite other contacts you have that are not on Facebook to join Facebook. I wouldn't recommend inviting everyone because a lot of those will be email addresses of people that are not linked to their Facebook account. In other words, they probably have Facebook, but are using a different email address with the account. If you go through each name and find people that you aren't friends with on Facebook, type their name into Facebook and see if they come up. If they do, add them as a friend instead of bombarding them with email.
Keep in mind that adding these people as friends won't necessarily motivate them to "like" your Fan Page. After you've added your email contacts, go back to your Fan Page, click the "suggest to friends" option, and choose the people that you think would like to be your fans.
2. Create a welcome tab and other compelling visuals using Static FBML.
Standard Facebook Pages come with the "Wall," "Info," "Photos," "Reviews," and "Video" tabs automatically. These are good to start, but there are plenty of other applications that can help reach and engage people. One of the most pervasive applications that is useful for every business is Static FBML. This application creates a new tab for your Facebook Page where you can upload compelling graphics. One of the first graphics you should make is a welcome tab that encourages people on your page to click the "like" button. If you'd like step by step instructions on how to create a welcome tab and other graphics using Static FMBL, check out our previous post "How to Create a Facebook Tab with Static FBML".
3. Measure the quality of your posts with Facebook Analytics.
With Facebook Analytics, you can track the number of impressions per post, daily "likes" over time, monthly active users, daily comments, and other metrics right on Facebook. If you'd like to learn how to do so, check out my previous post "How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Facebook Posts".
4. Put the Facebook Icon on Your Marketing Materials.
Place the Facebook logo on your homepage, email signature, newsletter, LinkedIn profile, business cards, and other print materials. Also include a call to action on each to "like" your page on Facebook for deals, tips, articles, photos, updates, etc.
5. Advertise on Facebook.
Facebook offers more targeted advertising than traditional outlets. Facebook enables you to target individual people of a specific location, age, gender, interest, education level, birthday, relationship status, workplace, and even connections of your friends. If your business has an advertising budget, consider investing in highly targeted Facebook ads, track your success, and use these highly effective tips http://blog.wildfireapp.com/2010/10/19/18-highly-effective-tips-to-grow-your-fans-via-facebook-ads/ to maximize results.
6. Download Roominate's The First Step to Social Media Success.
This will hone your value offering to your customers and help you determine useful content for your Facebook Page.
Go to http://www.roominatemarketing.com/ and fill out the form in the bottom left corner for this useful resource.