Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is Facebook Right for My Business?

New social media companies appear to be launching every day
At the end of every online article there’s a social share button that wasn’t there before. How do you and your small business keep up and capitalize on these new ventures?

You don’t need a presence in every social media brand on the web. Different venues suit different industries whereas other business-social marriages don’t mesh enough to warrant effort. So which social media is best for your business?

Facebook Wins with Business-to-Consumer
If you run a business-to-consumer (B2C) operation, Facebook is your social media match. With a reported 1 billion monthly users, it offers the farthest possible reach.  

Potent interaction and engagement capabilities are Facebook’s key brand-building advantages for B2C entities. The network offers a host of marketing options, but how do you attract users who will cross the social bridge and become customers?

Building an Engaged Fan Base
Don’t build your Facebook page on a foundation of grovelling. Hitting “Invite Your Friends” and blasting them all with a plea to like your page will give you some likes, but little engagement.

Start with existing clients and newsletter /mailing recipients. These people signed up for your other content vehicles voluntarily. They care about your product or service, and will actually interact with your Facebook content.

Facebook offers no-cost sign up, so paid ads seem on par with luring you in with free samples, but don’t rule out a small campaign. You can build and run ads targeting user gender, age and a sweeping selection of preferences and interests.

If you understand your brand’s audience well, ads can deliver you an engaged base. Plus, there’s no set campaign cost; you determine your own budget on a pay-per-click basis.

Answering the Content Question
Keep your content original. Photos are a good starting point. If you have a new product in the works, hype up its release with high-resolution images of its development.

Capture shots from around the office or on any company outings to establish a human connection with customers. You don’t want to be an anonymous social media handle. Questions related to your products and services will also spur interaction.  

Try to develop your own niche, scheduled content. Give your users something to anticipate on scheduled days such as videos, graphics or promotions.

Avoid Bad Habits
When using Facebook, your business needs to find and walk the fine line between consistency and nuisance posting.

Bombarding users with non-stop content leads to annoyance and a shrinking “Like” list. On the other hand, going days or weeks between posts results in stagnant user engagement. Post twice a day between the hours of noon and 3PM. This will line up with lunch breaks and “zoning out” in the workplace.  

Keep your eye on the ball and save your opinions and politics for your personal page.  Remember, Facebook users log in to see their preferred content. What do you do when you get an unsolicited game request? You roll your eyes and delete it. Facebook brings out the self-empowerment in people. They control this world, and they will exercise that control.

In Summation
Your business-to-consumer operation can benefit greatly from a Facebook presence. If you develop and implement an effective regimen for your page, it will bring in new prospects and keeping current customers engaged.