Why your Business Should Have a Facebook Page
Facebook Pages for Business
There are several reasons to have a Facebook page for your business. Still, many business owners don't understand it's purpose or value. Even if they do maintain a Facebook page, they may fail to update the pages or update them so infrequently that they are irrelevant. Improper Facebook page management can lead some business owners to conclude that a Facebook page is not helpful to their business.
In cases of social media neglect, such as failing to update your business's Facebook page for months at a time, these business owners have come to the right conclusion. If you will not update or manage your Facebook page it serves no real value to your business or your customers. However, it is a waste of an opportunity to stay in touch with your customers, deal with complaints and control what people are saying about your business online.
Facebook Business Page Neglect
Don't neglect your business's Facebook page. If you do not plan on updating and advertising your Facebook page to keep it fresh and relevant to your customers, then don't bother putting it up. If you already have a page like this, either begin to update it, or delete it. The strongest argument for deleting a neglected Facebook business page is online reputation management.
In my article about one client ruining the online reputation of a business, I explained how a neglected Facebook page had ranking in the search engine. Anyone can post a public comment on a Facebook page that will be seen by anyone looking at the page as well as broadcast to anyone who "liked" the page. So, Facebook is providing a direct link between an unhappy customer and the company's already established (presumably happy) customer base.
Since a complaint posted on a Facebook page broadcasts it to every fan, failing to respond demonstrates to current customers how the business handles complaints. Then, until someone from the business realizes and deletes the offending comment, it remains for anyone doing a cursory search on the business name to see.
One comment or complaint posted on a business's Facebook page has the ability to deter repeat customers who were formally happy with your service and warn potential customers to stay away. That is, unless it is dealt with properly.
Facebook Pages for Online Reputation Management
The previous argument sounds like a reason not to have a Facebook page for your business. However, the Online Reputation benefits of a Facebook business page far outweigh the dangers... as long as you are monitoring your page closely.
As I mentioned above, Facebook pages are pretty relevant in search engines and so it is fairly easy to get the Facebook page ranked on the first page of a search engine without a lot of skill. A main online reputation management strategy is to control what appears on the first page of the search engine when someone is searching your business.
You would much rather have your Facebook page appear when someone searches for your business than a complaint site that you have no control over. Remember, you can delete complaints from your Facebook page. The same is not true for other complaint websites.
When someone complains about you online, you do not want to be scrambling to start a Facebook page and then agonizing over getting it ranked. If your Facebook page is already there, it will be more difficult for a complaint to outrank it.
Facebook Business Pages for Customer Service
Many business owners feel that a complaint posted on their Facebook page is a bad thing. But the opposite is true. The smartest businesses in social media are looking for and, in some cases, welcoming complaints on Facebook pages. They would much rather have a customer post a complaint on their page so they have the opportunity to deal with it, rather than post it somewhere like Yelp where it will remain forever.
That is not to say that a business should immediately delete all complaints posted on the Facebook page. Remember, your happy customers can see that complaint, too. Often, deleting a complaint causes the customer to become more angry and post complaints to outside websites. This is what you are trying to prevent!
Deal with the complaint in a helpful and diplomatic way. This shows your current following that you care about customer complaints. It also gives you the opportunity to resolve the problem more or less "in house" rather than having it plastered all over the internet on websites you have no control over.
After the complaint is resolved, you can wait about a week and then delete it. This essentially erases the complaint from public record. In a year, no one searching for your business will find that complaint. The same cannot be said for online review websites. When faced with the alternative, you want customers to come directly to you with grievances. This makes Facebook an excellent customer service tool.
Facebook Business Pages for Advertising
All of this talk about online reputation management and complaint resolution on Facebook pages eclipses the real business value of having a Facebook page for your business: it is free advertising! Do you remember customer mailing lists? Loyalty programs? Email blasts? Facebook gives your business the opportunity to keep your customers updated and encourage repeat business.
You can use Facebook to update your customers about new products or services and even answer questions about those products. You can also use it to advertise specials and events happening in the store. Notice that your restaurant is having a slow week? You can use Facebook to immediately notify customers of a deal that will get people in the door to boost business.
Maintaing a Facebook Business Page is Great for Business
So does your business need a Facebook page? No, of course not. But can having a Facebook page be beneficial to your business if utilized properly? Absolutely. Best of all, Facebook is free for businesses to use.
Advertising in a newspaper or on a billboard will not bring in customers on a rainy day and it is costly. Your website can broadcast all the deals you like, but this is assuming that your customers check your website every day for updates (they don't). Broadcasting on Facebook will ensure that people who are not thinking to visit your website see what is going on in your store.
Facebook gives your business the option of going to where the people are rather than throwing away advertising dollars in places where they may or may not be seen. As an added benefit, you can provide your customers with customer service and maintain an excellent reputation.
Why have a Facebook page for your business? Why not?