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YYou’re excited about your new business and can’t wait to share it with the world, right? You’d love a fancy website with all the bells and whistles, but since you’ve only just got going, your marketing budget is pretty much non-existent. So where to from here?
Well, there’s no need to be despondent. Thanks to the popular social media platform, Facebook, you’ll be able to reach and engage with those who matter most to your business in order to grow it.
The first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page for your business. Click on the most applicable icon for your Facebook page; choose a specific category from the dropdown menu and complete the required information; click on 'get started' and follow the instructions; or see a tutorial on how it’s done here.
By creating a Facebook page, you establish your presence online so people can find your business. Your new page will also enable you to have personal conversations with potential and existing customers, who will be able to like your page, read your posts and share them with others.
WWhen setting up your page, request an easy-to-remember web address such as facebook.com/yourgreatcompany, so people will associate the name with your business. To capitalise on the impact of your Facebook page, include a link to it on your business card and other marketing materials, including your website.
Your Facebook page will enable you to send tailored messages to large groups of people on a regular basis. To track your Facebook page activity, you simply click on your 'analytics' link, which will provide feedback on your posts and customers’ responses to any marketing message that you send out.
Think of your Facebook page as an extension of your business. It provides you with a quick, simple way to share news about your business and engage with customers. Once you have a page set up, think about who you wish to target with your messaging. Who would you like to network with and introduce yourself and your product offering to?
To start building your audience, first encourage current customers and supporters to like your Facebook page; then look at the options available under the 'build audience' button. Invite all your friends to view and like your page and to share it with their friends. This is your initial audience that will help you to establish credibility and spread the word.
Share links to your page at every opportunity and invite your business contacts to like your page – either on Facebook itself or by sending out an email with a link to your page so they know that you have launched a new business and what your service offering is.
Bear in mind that getting people to like your new page is just the first step in the process. It’s more important to connect with and engage with people on Facebook so you can tell them your story.
So how do you do this? As you begin to post business updates, photos and news, consider what your customers might find interesting and inspiring. Put yourself in their position: what would you want to know, what news would be useful to you and what consistent message would make that business appeal to you?
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of posts. Find out whether your audience enjoys photos or prefers useful links to industry news by using 'page insights' to see which posts are getting the most traffic.
When contemplating content for upload, bear these guidelines in mind:
- Be authentic: share what excites you and your customers will respond accordingly
- Be responsive: when people comment on your posts, acknowledge their input, and if they pose questions, respond; or let them know you will respond later if you can’t respond immediately. The quicker you reply, the more likely fans will engage with you in the future
- Establish consistency: the more regularly you post, the greater the possibility of connecting with people and building trust
- Do what works: see which posts generate the most engagement and build on those
- Grow successful posts into promotions: when you see a post garnering a lot of engagement, promote it to reach even more people. When people like, comment on or share your posts, their friends are also able to see those posts in their news feeds
- To optimise your Facebook page, you need to create posts that are interesting and useful to your customers, and to target messages to the right people. For a fee you can target your post based on gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, location and language
- Once you have a website, use link posts to drive people to it by going to your Facebook page’s sharing tool and entering the offsite URL. The title, description and image will come from your URL, but you can customise the text and image as you wish
- Analytics show us that photos and videos stand out from text and get more attention, so share images of your products or photos of customers you provide services for
- Keep your posts short, sweet and to the point. As a guideline, 100 to 250 characters are ideal
- Encourage engagement with your audience by asking them to share their thoughts and feedback on your products or services. Their responses will provide useful feedback
- Share exclusive discounts and promotions with your audience and think of special deals or seasonal discounts to drive your business. Reward those connected to your page by providing them with exclusive information so they feel special and acknowledged
- Keep up to date with topical issues and general information or legislation relevant to your business and use it to keep your customers informed
- Post a weekly tip to advertise upcoming specials, new trends or general advice that your followers will find useful
It is also practical, useful and time-saving to plan a content calendar with a different focus for each day of the week (or for the days you will be posting) so that you have a sense of structure and can accommodate interesting topics when they present themselves. A content calendar will also encourage you to post regularly and in a well-managed way.
If you have to go away on business or holiday and cannot post regularly, schedule your posts in advance by clicking on the clock icon in the lower left-hand corner of your page's sharing tool. By doing this you will ensure that you don’t lose momentum on your site and your audience won’t be disappointed and lose interest.