Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Five rules for promoting your small business on Facebook

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provide small businesses with inexpensive, yet effective means to promote their business.  Facebook, in particular provides an outstanding medium to increase your customer retention levels while also allowing you to use the power of social networking to reach new customers.  However, getting the most out of Facebook takes more than just building a profile for your business.  The following are five tips that should help you get the most out of your social media marketing via Facebook.

1)   Remember the “little details” like your address, hours of operations and phone number. While this may seem like a no-brainer, a surprising number of small businesses forget to fill out their “info” section of Facebook. Sure, your repeat customers already know where you are, but their friends don’t! Your business Facebook profile is (hopefully) going to be viewed by new potential business. Help them find you!

2)  Increase the size of your businesses social network. In Facebook, this primarily happens through the “friend” function. After setting up your business profile, your number one job needs to be getting your current customers to connect to you. Offer incentives to encourage your customers to add you to Facebook.

3)  Post, post, post! The Facebook wall is one of your cheapest advertising tools. Update your wall regularly to let customers know what’s happening at your location. Are you running a sale? A special event? Launching a new product line? Hosting a club? Promote the activity of your business with regular updates to your Facebook wall. Don’t overdo it, though! Multiple promotions a day will get lost in the clutter. Have a regular, but not spammy Facebook outreach strategy.

4)  Improve the quality of your customer relationships. A simple thanks for shopping goes a long way. When you have repeat customers who are also Facebook friends, take time to thank them for stopping in. You don’t need to write a 1000-word treatise, just a “thanks for stopping in and looking forward to seeing you again” is generally enough. Specialize the message when the situation warrants it. Being proactive with your customer contact turns out to have a double benefit on Facebook. Not only does your customer learn that you appreciate them, but their friends learn that they frequent your store and that you’re a friendly business owner.

5)  Reach out to your friends’ friends. While it’s important to get your customers to friend your facebook page, it’s just as important to get them to ‘talk’ about your business on Facebook. Every time your customers post information about your business to their Facebook page, you reach all of their friends. That’s potentially hundreds of warm leads for every referral. Develop promotions for your Facebook friends when they “like” one of your wall posts. Similarly, use promotions which encourage your customers to “share” your Facebook promotions to their network. Finally, whenever possible, encourage and reward “friend” referrals.

In the REO Speedwagon song, “Take it on the run,” the band sings about ‘hearing it from a friend who heard it from a friend who…’  That’s social networking in a nutshell.  We are all linked together in social networks.  Effective social media marketing is all about reaching out to your network of customers and then enlisting their help in reaching their networks.  The good news, for your business, is that it’s not just a friend who hears it from a friend.  It’s 10 friends who heard it from a friend and 100 friends who heard it from those 10 friends, and it goes on, and on, and on!

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