Facebook marketing for local businesses is an important tool for generating engagement among current and potential customers.
If a fan of your business page (not your personal profile on Facebook, but a real business page) sees and shares a status update on their wall, their friends are going to check it out.
Everyone knows the value of a personal recommendation in real life (IRL). Today, Facebook is where the vast majority of personal recommendations are happening between friends, associates, and family members.
You have to be there, and you have to do it right to get traffic and new customers.
Step 1: Get a real business page
Using a personal profile for a business is not kosher on Facebook. It can be deleted at any time. Personal profiles are for people. Period. If you have a business listed like you or me, the way our personal profiles work, you're doing it wrong.
Sorry about that, but you're going to have to start over. And all those "friends" you've generated for that profile? Well, you're going to have to do your best to get their attention and get them to like your new business page.
Here's how to set up an official business fan page on Facebook: Hire Brick Road Media to set it up and optimize it for you or do it yourself.
Step 2: Realize that people are on Facebook to see cool stuff. Period.
Facebook users don't care if you added a new Terms of Service page to your website. They don't care if you just surpassed your sales goal this quarter or that you just sold another house. (Unless the house is haunted, a former missile silo, or painted in Hello Kitty style.)
Facebook users care about cats, celebrities, gossip, whatever is trending, politics, and local news that is relevant to them, useful and worth sharing. And cats.
Look around at what your own personal Facebook friends are sharing and talking about. And then make your status updates on your business page relevant, some how, some way. Again, Facebook doesn't care if you get completely ignored. Post status updates and links to boring, irrelevant stuff, and you'll simply be hidden by the majority of your fans.
Watch what successful businesses do on Facebook and copy the process: make it interesting, make it fit with what people in your area care about, and test the crap out of everything you do.
Step 3: Test the crap out of everything you do!
Your Facebook business page has useful stats that pop up right at the top. Watch your engagement metrics. Track what's getting shared and liked and what's not. Use the tools Facebook gives you to see how you're going.
Step 4: Make it a real campaign and not something you push on a soon-to-be-disgruntled secretary!
Get everyone attached to your business bought into the Facebook campaign. Have them prime the pump by liking and sharing updates you post. (And don't embarrass them with the pressure to share and like stupid stuff!) Identify your best fans who can help you get a lot of exposure and give them "goodies" for mentioning, liking, and sharing your stuff to their bigger fan base.
A free dinner or some other small perk goes a long way in getting the "thought leaders" in your network to pay more attention and spread your page around to their considerable following. If you do something really cool for someone, you don't even have to ASK them to share their experience on Facebook - it's already going on there. It's automatic. They're addicted to Facebook, remember?
Step 5: Problems with regularity?
If you post a status update "whenever you remember to" you're going to have a problem with engagement. For one, your updates will simply slide out of view on your fans' pages. Facebook has an algorithm to consider.
They want to keep Facebook user timelines looking snappy and fun, and they have ways to keep your updates from even being seen if they determine you're too boring or erratic or self-promotional to send updates to your fans' walls.
(And you already know about not being boring or too self promotional!) Just update your business page wall with news relevant to your industry or simply relevant to living in your area. There's plenty to talk about all the time. You just have to open up to the reality that your page isn't a big commercial for your business in the traditional sense. People hate those pages with passion and block their updates.
- Be interesting.
- Find cool stuff to share that isn't about your business, but makes your updates interesting to follow.
- Don't be too self-promotional
- Be regular and set a schedule for your Facebook business page updates
- Treat it like a campaign - don't push it off on an employee and expect great results unless you make it a real campaign
- Set up promotions like coupons once a month or a contest or giveaway
- Track what works and what doesn't. Do more of the stuff people seem to respond to.