02 July 2015

6 ways to use Facebook for your business

With millions of potential customers ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ their favourite brands, Facebook is a key place for consumer-facing businesses to be seen

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If you’re wondering whether or not your business should be on Facebook, it’s not a question of whether your customers are there – they undoubtedly are; the key issue is whether they expect to find your business there. If you are a professional services firm, the answer may well be “no”. However, the fact is that consumers increasingly want to engage with favourite brands on Facebook. Shoppers may even start their buying journey on a Facebook company page, and satisfied customers often want to support and interact with brands in a social space. So how could Facebook fit into your marketing strategy?

1. Be there

If you’re not on Facebook, you might be missing out on potential new customers. According to the platform itself, there are 30 million small businesses on Facebook. Setting up a Facebook business page is easy and there are useful online tutorials to guide you through the steps. You can get started on the Facebook for Business page.

Make sure people can find you – when you set up your page, request a web address such as facebook.com/yourcompany. Include links to your Facebook page on your website and add the address to your printed business materials.

2. Show your personality

Facebook allows businesses to show a human face. Building up a variety of content is the best way to show your brand in a good light. Post updates and links regularly and publish images and videos. You can use Facebook’s Page Insights tool to see which posts are performing the best.

Facebook users love to talk to real people – the most successful small businesses always respond to customer posts and use one-to-one conversations to connect with key customers.

3. Let your customers be part of your story

Facebook users are documenting their lives. Whether your products are aspirational, indulgent or practical, your customers will want to talk about them. It’s about their reputation and identity – and it can help to build yours. Encourage your customers to “like” your page and to post their own content – a company Facebook page full of user-generated content can be a very powerful marketing tool.

4. Use visual content to stand out

Facebook statistics show that images account for 75% of content posted by brands. Photos and videos are frequently shared and they often help to sell the lifestyle around a product – instead of bland product shots, post interesting “behind-the-scenes” shots of your business and encourage users to share their own images.

5. Don’t be afraid to sell

Social shopping is here – Facebook, like Twitter, has started to test “buy” buttons. And a 2013 study by Syncapse showed that while 49% of Facebook users become a “fan” to show they like a brand, 42% do so to get a coupon or a discount.

So it’s worth flagging up special offers on your Facebook page. At the very least, post regular links to key product landing pages on your website. As you get to know your customers, you can post Facebook ads to target others that are likely to be interested in your product or service.

6. Show that you care

One of the risks of being active on social media as a business is that some customers will use it as a forum for complaints. But dealing with complaints effectively can enhance your reputation. Respond as soon as you can, be polite and show the customer (and the rest of your followers) that you value feedback. You can then use private messaging or email to deal with the complaint in full.

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