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How to use Facebook as a free marketing/advertising tool for your business
Facebook is a powerful social media website, that can be used as one of the best free marketing and advertising platforms for any business. Whether you’re a big corporation or a small local business.
Where to start
Firstly you should create a page for your business, ensure you make it look professional, fill out all the profile fields, add a profile picture and a cover picture. Make sure you add all contact information and a link to your website. Create an informative description about your business and include FAQs. Remember, don't copy your description directly from you websites as that's not good for your websites SEO.
Getting likes - Now this is the hard bit, gaining likes on a business page involves a lot of nagging to begin with. Here's how to begin:
- Invite your friends to like the page
- Ask them to share it to their friends
- Use your staff to like and promote your page
- Like a Fan Page and Privately Message that Fan Page letting them know a bit about you and ask them to like your page too.
- repeat the process again and again and again...
Don't lose the likers you gain - It is imperative that you keep hold of those valuable likers, because even though the first 100 or so won't be 'organic' (meaning they have found your page as they want to purchase from you or want your services) they still need to be there to make your page look busy and authoritative. Would you want to purchase off a page that was dead and had no reviews or good recommendations?
Making the most of your page:
- Don't be afraid to be 'real' people like real, the best pages are the ones where the admin use humor, say you have a pet store, posting pics of funny animals from time to time will keep your likers engaged and talking about/sharing your page. Remember not to over-do it though!
- In addition to posting funny videos/pics about your niche you could also post articles, say for instance "how to groom a puppy" etc
- Post status' about the staff, shop, customers etc to get people interacting with your page.
- Remember it's not always about shameless promotion, people will get bored of it, as much as they will get bored if you over-do your page.
- Allow reviews, you don't have to be scared of negative reviews as you as the admin have the power to remove any negative ones, personally I don't allow any negative reviews on my pages. But that's down to your personal discretion. - To have reviews on your page you must have a physical location entered, so no map, no reviews!!
- Stay on topic,don't be tempted to let your business page become your personal page!!!
Gaining organic likes
So now you have a page, some likers but you're not getting any business. Well that's because the like you have (although essential) are not organic. These are the likers your business needs most, these are people who found your page though search, answered a question, responded to an event, seen a picture you posted or noticed a friend commenting on something on your page and liked you, because they're interested in your product or service. These likers can potentially be turned in to customers.
Quality content - As explained above, don't over use your page and make sure when you do post, it's good quality. Engage your users not annoy them!
Social plugins - Embed social plugins on your website and blog so customers can easily find your social network sites.
Spread the word – Drop the logo everywhere you can, in your Twitter description, on your Pinterest profile, on your business card, in your weekly or monthly email newsletters. Make it easy for people to notice your page and they will certainly support you.
Use Photos in your posts - Facebook posts with photos receive the highest click-throughs in organic compared to other updates like offers, questions, and more.
Deals, offers, discounts and bargains - Bargain hunting pages such as HDUK and Daily deals have thousands of likes this is because Facebook fans love nothing more than a bargain,so post a discount code, have flash sales, do BOGOFs and you will have the sales flooding in.
E-mail signature - Ensure your email signature for all accounts you use has a generic sign off with your occupation and links to your website and social media pages.
Get creative when your Facebook readers are most happy:
Weekends and special occasions are great times to catch peoples attention. Fridays are great for advertising a product as most people get paid on Fridays (particularly the last Friday of the month)
Use special occasions such as Mothers day, Fathers day, Easter, Christmas etc to target your creativity towards the occasion. So say mothers day is coming up,, you can run a competition asking people to send in pics of them and their mum and a winner will win your prize of choice. Or at Easter time you could run a competition to win an Easter egg hamper.
Running a Facebook competition
Facebook competitions used to have so many rules and regulations that people found their pages being at jeopardy for their innocent ignorance.
For small pages, the best way to run a competition is to get the fans to 1, like your page, 2, like a picture, 3, comment on the picture and 4, share it. Ensure the picture is of your prize and heavily logo-ed if possible. This way your page ensures likers, the photo getting shared will entice others to join in.
Any page can run a competition, obviously you don't have to give away something too expensive buy you must make sure it's desirable. If your page is a product selling page it's easier as you could give away a product. But if your page is a service page, for instance a landscape gardening page, you could give away a free garden makeover. If you have a hard to promote page such as a Scrap yard, you would have to give away a voucher for a valet or a car care hamper maybe.
Make the competitions rules clear in the post and always add Terms and Conditions to avoid any confusion.
Make the length of a timeline contest fairly short. Since it’s hard to re-post the link, make the length of the contest a week at most.
Here's a guide of the do's and dont's as it stands in the new update late 2013:
What You Can Do:
- Require people to like a post and/or comment on a post to be entered
- Require that someone post something directly on your timeline to enter (could be a text post or a photo)
- Use likes as a voting method (either liking a post or photo on your timeline)
- Require that someone message your page to enter
- Announce the winner of the contest on your page
- Require that to win the prize, entrants come back to your page to see who has won the contest
- Use a Like button plugin on a website as a voting mechanism
- Use an app plugin to post an entry to your contest directly on your page
- Run your contest through a Facebook app
What You Can’t Do:
- Require that people share a post or photo to be entered
- Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter
- Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter
- Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline)
How to 'play' Facebook
So you will have probably noticed the above method of gaining likes on your Facebook page is slow and you have probably nagged your friends to the point of feeling a nuisance. So this is where you need to play a little dirty.
You need to create a 'Joe Bloggs' Facebook profile that you can use to add friends and again invite them to like your page. You need to start off adding other fake profiles as people will report you and you will be blocked from adding friends for 7 days which is inconvenient.
It's easy to find other fake profiles as they will usually be 'selling pages'. Type in to the search your area + "selling" and a whole load of groups, pages and profiles will come up, add them all, this will then open up similar suggestions from Facebook, add them all too. You can then type in other areas and repeat the process.
Always have your fake accounts notifications sent to your email so you can keep an eye out for any leads.
Make sure you like your 'friends' pages when they suggest them as they're twice as likely to do the same for you.
You may be mistaken in thinking these types of friends are pointless to you business but you would be wrong, these profiles are still run by real people, they too might need your services, just because they're business owners themselves doesn't mean they won't necessarily need your product or even recommend it to their friends.
You can also tag these 'friends' in your posts and pictures to gain you more coverage.
Do be sure to log in to your fake profile once a day to add and accept friends plus answer any business enquiries you may have.
The selling / boot sale groups:
As talked about above, Facebook is now over-run with these new groups that are dedicated to selling and advertising.
If you offer a local service or product then only add the local area pages, groups and profiles. If you offer postage or have various locations, then add everything you can.
Don't spam the groups or you will be banned/blocked from them. Keep to one or two posts per week max on each.
The selling / boot sale pages:
Create a quality post weekly and tag and relative pages in the post. You can also tag them in any pictures you post, that way a certain percent of their fans will see the post.
Remember, posting on a pages wall is pretty pointless, no one will see it other then your friends who are friends with the page.
Add as many pages as you can and be sure to interchange the ones you tag.