All the business gurus will tell you that it’s important to build a solid social media presence. There’s plenty of advice out there on creating a following on every platform from Twitter to LinkedIn, but most of it aims directly toward Facebook, which has triple the user base of the others. With all of that great advice out there, you may even have already created a significant Facebook presence, so now you may be wondering, “Just what do I do now?” It’s a good question. To help you out, here are some ideas for six ways to take advantage of your Facebook presence.
1. Target Your Advertising
Your Facebook followers are already interested in your business, so why not take advantage of that for some free and effective advertising? Use Facebook to inform customers of new products and sales. Unlike traditional advertising that blindly reaches out to a wide range of people that may not need or want your services, advertising on your Facebook page is guaranteed to reach the most receptive consumers. Since they already know of and probably even use your business, they’ll be more likely to take advantage of your promotions.
2. Use Current Followers to Hook New Customers
Your current Facebook following likely consists primarily of your current customer base. That’s great, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could use that to get new customers, too? A simple way to get your current followers to tell their friends about you is to post small contests or giveaways. Have your followers share or like your post in order to enter the contest. This will automatically spread your post to their friends’ Facebook feeds, so they’ll all hear about your business, too. If you’re really ambitious, you might even offer them an extra entry for every friend they get to enter your giveaway.
Giving things away can go against the grain, but don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be anything major. People love to get something for free even if it’s small. For a double whammy, you could even make the prize something that might lead to more business for you: A starter kit for a hobby that your store caters to, perhaps, or a free consultation for services that you offer. The winner gets a prize, and you get some business. Everybody wins!
3. Customers from Afar
For a local business in a smaller town, it can be hard to expand your customer base past a certain point. Fortunately, a solid Facebook presence can quite literally open up a whole world of opportunities to you. Use the pictures area to showcase your inventory or services, and open yourself up to distance sales.
There might be a little bit of a learning curve to figure out how to process transactions that won’t be done in person, but there are a number of methods you can try. Phone orders are probably the most familiar way to do a distance transaction, but online order forms are even simpler and can fit in nicely with the Facebook platform. They also make it so that orders can be placed at any time of day or night, which is convenient for both you and the customer.
4. Be the Expert
If you’re running your own small business, odds are you’re an expert on something that most people don’t know much about. Whether you’re an experienced angler running a fishing store or a self-taught programmer with a web design business, you’ve got a lot of knowledge behind your company, and believe it or not, it can pay to share it. It may seem counterintuitive to give any of that hard-earned expertise away for free, but try to think in the long-term. If you can become peoples’ go-to expert for information on a topic, you’ll also be their go-to professional when they need to hire someone, buy related products, or refer friends.
How exactly do you use your knowledge to become that go-to expert? Simple. Take an hour or two a week and post a short article or quick tip. They don’t have to be longer than a paragraph or two, and it’s even easier if you write a bunch of them at once to dole out over the course of a few weeks. You could even host a question-and-answer session to get people used to coming to you with their related problems. Once you’ve got a reputation for being a problem-solver, you’re all set.
5. Get Real Feedback
If you’re looking for ways to add to or improve your business, Facebook is going to be your best friend. While customers may view feedback cards as a chore or be uncomfortable giving criticism to your face, everybody seems to enjoy giving their opinion online. This can be irritating if you’re not in the market for a critique, but it’s an absolute blessing if you’re trying to fine-tune your business strategy.
There are a couple of ways that you can use Facebook to get good feedback. For really in-depth answers, you could go with a poll or online questionnaire. Everybody loves filling those out, particularly during work hours, so you’ll probably get more answers than you expect. Be sure to include at least a few open-ended questions so that customers can offer suggestions that you might not have thought of.
Of course, Facebook can also be a good source of feedback even if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a survey. Take advantage of the casual nature of the platform by just posting a simple question on your page, and take note of the comments you get. It’s fast, it’s free, and you’re sure to get some honest and useful answers.
6. Get Personal
Even though the Facebook page is for your business, don’t be afraid to get personal. It’s a simple face of human nature that people like to deal with people that they consider to be friends, so open up a little and get friendly. If your customers feel like they know you, they’ll feel more comfortable going to you for both big and small things, and they’ll be more likely to think of you when talking to their friends, too.
So how should you go about this? There are two primary ways. If you have a one-person business with a very casual feel, you can go ahead and let a little of your personal life slip into the page. Be careful not to go too far, though. Discussing your kid’s potty-training progress is probably a bit much, unless your business is toddler-centric. For most companies, a better idea is to give your Facebook persona a bit of its own personality. You can accomplish this most easily by putting one person in charge of all Facebook posts so that the tone stays consistent. A sense of humor is also a nice touch, and it’ll keep customers coming back for more.
You’ve put a lot of work into developing a great Facebook presence for your company, and now it’s time to put it to work. Use these six tips as a springboard for your own imagination, and you’ll be using Facebook to generate more new business than you ever imagined.