With over 500 million total users, Facebook appears to be the next “big thing” in online advertising. If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably thinking, “I need to jump on this bandwagon too”. But before you create a fan page, spam all your friends to join, then ignore them like an abandoned home at the end of an dead end street, there’s a few things you should consider.
1. The who’s, how’s, what’s and why’s (Making a plan).
Creating a fan page for your small business only takes a few minutes, but before you dive into things, you should ask your self some questions so you can create the proper game plan. A little forethought and strategic thinking will help you to create a successful page that provides value, builds your reputation and keeps your fans engaged and happy with your product.
- Why do you need a business fan page? (What are you trying to accomplish?)
- What’s the benefit to your potential fans?
- Who’s in charge (administrator)?
- Who gets the notifications and where (phone, sms, email)?
- Who’s creating content for your page?
- Who are you trying to reach (friends or new business)?
- How often are you posting and interacting?
- What’s your message? How does this support your overall marketing plan?
- How are people going to find your fan page?
You can rush into a page without answers to any of these questions, but if you truly want to be successful, you should take some time to sit down and be able to honestly answer them all. If you don’t, you jeopardize the success of your fan page.
2. Getting down to business (Creating your page).
Once you’ve made a game plan, your next move is to actually sit down and create your page. To start, you need to have a Facebook profile. If you’re one of the 500 million who already have a profile, you can go right tohttp://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to begin. Select “local business”, and give yourself a name, check off the box that says you’re the “official representative“, review the terms of service and if you agree, hit the button to “create your official page“. Now fill in all the blanks with pertinent info and your page is live. Before you invite all your friends here’s a few more things you should do.
- Add a photo or logo as your picture.
- Adjust the cropping of your photo or logo.
- Add links to your website and any other sites you might be on.
- Add favorite pages and ask these pages to link back to you.
- Write something about your business in the box provided below your photo.
Now you’re ready to invite your friends and colleagues to “like” your page. The easiest way to do this is by using the “suggest to friends” button in the left hand column. You can also use Facebook advertising to attract new fans, and add your fan page url to your marketing pieces. Once you get 25 fans you can create your vanity url (a short link such as www.facebook.com/3thought) that you can put on any of your marketing materials. Here’s the link to create your vanity url once you get your first 25 fans.
3. The long haul. (Engage, listen and provide value over time)
At this point you should have a game plan and a shiny new fan page. It’s time to start using your fan page, and that takes time and effort. You cannot expect to post once and get any meaningful return. Having a successful fan page is about having a process, and a plan for building your fan base over time. Just like any advertising, there’s no magic bullet that makes you money. You’re going to need to invest in your page, and usually the more you invest, the more you get back.
Give your fans with a reason to come to your page and reason to care about what you’re saying. When people respond to your message, make sure someone is listening and responding back in a timely fashion. A healthy cycle of fan page engagement goes something like this: Invite people to become fans, create (valuable) content, listen for feedback, engage, repeat. That’s it… it’s not difficult, but it is time consuming and it’s definitely work. There’s no reason it can’t be fun work though. Here’s a few fun ideas for creating content for your fans.
- Create a video or a series of videos.
- Post daily, monthly or seasonal specials.
- Highlight your products or services.
- Give advice and helpful hints.
- Show off awards or recognition for a job well done.
- Create a podcast.
- Ask for reviews of your business.
- Post photos of your business or products.
- Add depth using FBML to create webpage like tabs.
- Have a contest and ask your customers to respond on your fan page.
And there’s so much more if you take some time to be creative. Every business is unique and how you interact with your fans is completely up to you.
Some final thoughts.
We want to point out something that’s really important when you’re determining whether a business fan page is right for you. That’s right, we said it… Facebook isn’t right for every business. You need to ask yourself the question of why, and be realistic with your answer. Facebook isn’t the best solution for every business, and it might not be right for yours. What are you trying to accomplish with a fan page for business? Now adjust your expectations accordingly. If you sell freezers to ice creams shops, Facebook might not be the best place to invest your time, energy and money. But, if you’re like our friend Chuck Callan over at The Frosty Dog and sell ice cream, family fun and delicious food, a fan page might just work great for your business.
At 3thought we believe a broad approach to advertising is the best approach, and a fan page for your business can be a valuable piece in a larger overall marketing plan. If you know a business that does a great job with their fan page, or you have comments or questions about our post, please feel free to use the comment box below. And don’t forget to “like” 3thought on Facebook too.