Social Media Is About More Than A Facebook Page
Even though Facebook and Twitter have been around for a few to several years it has really been this past year that main street small businesses have really started to take notice. As people realize more and more that their customers are not consuming information in the same way they have in the past it becomes obvious that billboards and newspapers are not the only way they have to market their business these days.
Although some business owners and consumers still look at Facebook and say, what a waste of time, why would I use that? One thing to keep in mind is that we as business owners need to realize it is not about how we used the social media and in particular Facebook, it really has everything to do with our customers. And they ARE using it, more and more everyday. 55 minutes per user average per day.
Let me make one more reference, the other thing people say is a complete waste of time is TV. Most businesses WANT to advertise on TV but cannot afford it, yet social media is a very targeted medium that is a “time waster” yet people resist because they do not understand. Once again, people need to step outside of how they use the internet and think about how their CUSTOMERS use the internet.
Social media is the ultimate “word of mouth” marketing, if you need away to think of Facebook or Twitter, look at it like this, it is a friend telling another friend what they like. Sometimes seemingly meaningless posts about what store someone just bought something in is the ultimate advertising for your business.
All that said, many people, once they understand they have to take the leap and open a free Facebook page for their business, make the mistake of not moving the page forward and thinking about a true plan of how to engage their customers.
Although a Facebook page or Facebook Places page is free, in many cases it is worth it to pay a small fee for a local company to help you get your page setup properly. Although you may not be ready to do everything that is possible on Facebook at this time it may be worth it to take the advice of someone that has taken the time to understand the possibilities of how it can be used to engage customers of your business.
In some businesses, such as a coffee shop, it may be important to send specials, events, or other things out on a daily basis but also you can use it as an educational tool to teach your customers about the various coffees and types of coffee drinks. Your customers will pay attention and spend more time on your page or website if you try to educate them rather than sell to them everyday.
Also, sometimes it takes thinking outside the box, some businesses that seem “legacy” still have a need to get a message out. Large corporations have figured this out but many of the local marketing companies that people work with daily are really just now getting their minds around social media and are having a hard time articulating a plan to their customers about how to use online marketing and social tools as a solid marketing mechanism. Once again, ask for ideas outside of just creating a Facebook page. It takes more than that.
A few examples of what your business should be prepared for is proper pay per click advertising on Facebook, understanding how to use it in a manner that is effective and targets customers in your target demographic and area is very important. Once again it is about more than just buying keywords and paying per click, if it is not targeted and driving people to your Facebook page or website that actually matter to your business the clicks are of little use. As I said before, it is about more than being able to create a Facebook business page.
Another great example of create Facebook use is creating a visually appealing landing page or tab for your Facebook page. A couple examples are:
As you can see it is a page within your Facebook presence that allows for you to give people a way to interact in a way they are used to with common websites. Although these webpage like interfaces are by no means required it is becoming more important to have a professional appearance for your business when people find you on Facebook. This is a great way to do that. The cost to have a professional create these types of pages is minimal compared to what the cost of creating marketing materials or logos costs in many cases.
Once you have your page setup you need to make sure you keep it active. What does this mean?
It can be as simple as taking 30 seconds to a minute to post a link to a specials page on your website. Or maybe ask your customers a question about what they would like to see added to your store. Little things to connect with people that have shown interest in your business in the past but may of lost top of mind awareness of what you offer.
The key though is working with someone that can see the bigger marketing picture, although you may start with just having a Facebook page, if you are taking advice from someone, make sure they have a history or working online and understand how people are engaging with businesses on the internet. If they cannot help you come up with a real plan that makes sense for how your customers are using social media tools it may be time to switch the marketing company you are working with.
Also, for further reading, here are a few Facebook How-To’s and Tips.