Are you making the most of Facebook for your business?

Everyone is using Facebook and with the online presence that it now has, you literally can’t afford to be missing out on growing your business through this amazingly huge community.

If you are looking for fun and creative ways to make the most of Facebook and take advantage of the Social Media and Digital Marketing phenomenon that has hit us then here are a few suggestions I can offer.

So your business has a page, well done that’s a start and we all have to make one at some point.  Depending on whether you are a large multinational organisation, or still a one man band trying to get this social media show on the road, you all start with one thing.  The page.

So firstly, you need to make it as eye-catching and captivating as you can because this is definitely somewhere that first impressions count.  Make sure your cover picture (the long banner across the top of the page) and your profile picture are clear shots.  Try and capture something unique, a zoomed in shot of something about your business, that adds mystery or character to your page.  Use a popular ad that everyone knows.  Make it you, but also unique.

Once you have the page set up, you need to decide what direction to take your page.  What is the overall theme of your social media, who is your audience and what message are you repetitively trying to communicate.  If you can find a focus, it makes the day-to day tasks easier to carry out.

Now comes the tricky bit of it all – content and engagement.

Content marketing is basically sharing information with your buyers that solves their problems or somehow enriches their lives.  There are a variety of ways to do this and it seems like video clips, blogs and podcasts are all rapidly gaining popularity when it comes to sharing content.  You are ideally looking to build a platform that creates new sales opportunities for your business by drawing in potential customers who like the content, or information you are sharing because it’s giving them something more.

Engagement marketing is more about building the relationships with your fans and providing so much information and value to them that they want to stay connected.  There are 3 steps to doing this.

Firstly give them an exceptional service.  Make the experience count.  Answer the business phone line promptly, give exceptional customer service, deliver on time or quicker, nice packaging can go a long way, gifts and vouchers, sample goody bags, all these things make the experience with your business count.

Once you have delivered an outstanding service, your customer already is open to the idea of staying in touch, but boost it in your favour and give them an incentive to do so.  Further promotions, giveaways, refer a friend discounts, event invitations all give your customer a good reason to give away their email address and contact details.

And lastly, engage them.  Do this by way of polls and surveys, discussions, events, further promotions and sharing information.  Make sure you are delivering interesting and relevant content.  Post photos and ask them to caption it.

Content is one of the biggest challenges so getting to grips with this early on is important.  Have an understanding of copyright laws and when in doubt leave it out.  Creating original content can be time consuming and you may not know where to start but just think about your business from an outsider viewpoint and try focus on things you would like to see as the audience.

Getting your employees involved too achieves a couple of things without too much effort.  People like to do business with companies they feel they know.  If you regularly feature your employees – employee of the week or month, or highlight teams achievements you are putting faces to your name and people like visibility.  Your employees networks will also see the good work you do in highlighting recognition and this may prompt them to connect with you and share to their friends.  You are essentially building likeability for your brand.

If you have new products or features to promote, giving fans sneak peeks into these always works pretty well.  Your fans want to know what to expect next and the more innovative your reveals can be the more engagement you could get.  Think of a way of covering up your new product or feature and then you say something like, the more likes we get on our page, the more we reveal.  As fans increase remove a layer of “wrapping paper” to show them a small part of it.  The power of this, if thought out properly is huge.

Another interesting way of growing your following is by reaching out to businesses with a similar audience.  Get to know some of the people that manage the social media for businesses like yours so that you can cross sell for each other.  Think of people in the same industry type or have the same clientele and see what you can come up with.  A local beauty salon and hairdresser may team up to cross-promote to the same audience.

It’s important to also like other pages in your community of businesses that are relevant to your company page.  Once their status updates and posts start showing in your news feed, you can make thoughtful and appropriate comments, or share their posts.  This is giving you more exposure to potential fans, as they may click right into your page just from something you commented on.  Make sure you are commenting as your page though, not your personal profile otherwise all is lost.

Once you appreciate the power social media has on brand awareness, brand management and brand reputation, you will want more than just Facebook.  You will be seeking other places to engage with your community of fans and depending on the message you want to communicate there are so many more powerful tools you can implement.  Get to know some of them, try different ones and if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again as there are many avenues to explore!