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6 Tips for Busy Small Businesses Using Facebook
Nov 12, 2010

6 Ways to Make Your Business Facebook Page Standout

 A lot of small businesses have jumped on the Social Media Marketing bandwagon especially small retailers and hospitality related enterprises.   Unfortunately too many set up Facebook Pages without a clear idea of why and what they want the page to accomplish.  The real challenge most small businesses face is time.  Time to really investigate what social media marketing REALLY includes (HINT: it’s more than just Facebook) while still doing all those normal tasks associated with their business . 

The real issue that escapes many small business owners is: Your fans didn’t join Facebook so they can be bombarded by advertising messages from you.  They joined social media networks to SOCIALIZE!  Unfortunately too many small retail and hospitality pages AREN’T socializing, they are trying to use their Facebook Page as an adverrtising medium. 

 Bottom line:  With the exception of your mom and that guy that keeps spamming your wall with posts about how he is making a million dollars a day selling vitamins from home, nobody joined Facebook to read your advertising junk.  A recent report from ExactTarget polled Facebook users to find out why they “LIKE/FAN” a business page.  

Here’s what you fans said:

 40% to get discounts & promotions 39% to show support for the company 36% to get “freebies” free samples & coupons 30% to get updates on coming sales 29% to be entertained 25% for access to exclusive content

(I know those percentages add up to more than 100% – the folks surveyed were able to rank top three reasons)

 Take home for small retailers, restaurants or other hospitality pages is:  It’s okay to promote your business to me as long as you give me more than just advertisements!  I recently reviewed 40 small business Facebook pages (from the 278 pages I had been asked to “LIKE”) to see how well they were meeting the fan expectations.  I will publish those results next week, but the majority of those small business Facebook pages failed to live up to what fans told Exact Target they expect from your page.

 For today’s article however I just wanted to share 6 EASY Tricks that any small business should be doing if they want to have a successful Facebook Page marketing program. 

 FIRST- BE CONSISTENT in your posts:    Posting to your page should not be an after thought.    Set up a schedule and plan your posts out in advance. Nothing says you have to post every day but you should add new posts at least 3 times a week.  Fans want to see consistency so if you don’t have time to post daily at least set schedule to post for example  Monday-Wednesday-Friday and know what you plan to post in advance. SECOND-MAKE FANS FEEL SPECIAL!   Like ExactTarget discovered, your fans want to be treated special for taking time to fan your page.  Share The Love!  Depending on your particular business offer fans discounts, coupons, or other specials JUST for fans.  It not only makes them think you appreciate them it also makes them feel part of something exclusive that isn’t available to non-fans.   Here is another interesting benefit of sharing special “love” with your fans–they share your information with their friends which brings you more fans. THIRD-CHECK your Facebook page at least once a day (I check mine twice daily in the morning when I get to the office and last thing before I head home).  WHY? To respond to comments your fans made including “likes”.  If a fan does you the favor of responding to your post or better yet giving an unsolicited positive review the least you can do is say thank you!    Daily check also allows you to see if new fans have joined.  Personally I like to send a short message to new fans just saying thank you for visiting my page.  I am guessing you acknowledge customers who walk into your store or restaurant so why would you not do the same to a virtual customer who just took time to “Like” your page? FOURTH-STOP SPAMMERS!  I want my fans to post on my Facebook wall BUT not spammers. Of the 40 pages I checked 8 had the same spammer who had posted about “making a million dollars working from home -ask him how” on their wall and the Facebook page owners did nothing about it!  That tells me and your fans that either you are not checking your wall consistently OR that you don’t know how to remove unauthorized posts from your wall.  Either case allowing spammers to take over your wall makes your wall look unprofessional FIFTH-SHARE OTHER INFO of value to the fan.  I fanned your page to learn something or to be entertained not to be advertised to with every post.  Obviously promotional events are okay they just should not be 100% of your posts.  You have unique information to share with your fans that doesn’t end in “BUY MY JUNK“. Restaurants-share a recipe OR better yet invite your fans to share recipes on your page. Toy Stores-alert fans to dangers of lead based toys from China. Resorts on the White River-post an article about how to catch “The big one during spawning season”. You get the idea.   Share things that educate or entertain fans without selling your junk. That’s what makes this social.  Need ideas? We have plenty and they are all free!  In fact next Facebook article will include a list of ideas I thought up you can use FOR FREE! SIXTH-GET A VANITY URL. Instead of that horrible URL Facebook assigns to you with all the extra symbols that no one could ever remember let alone print. If you have at least 25 fans you can creator a vanity URL using your business name, product or service.  I have a vanity URL for the ASU page. http://www.asu.sbtdc. That’s it easy to remember and more importantly easy to share on all my other marketing pieces from business cards to bill boards to invoices or receipts to newspaper or radio ads. I even have a vanity URL for my profile. Great short “How To” Video to create your Vanity URL.  Questions?  let me know. SEVENTH???? Now it’s your turn!  Share a best practice or unique idea you use for your Facebook page to spice it up for your fans and make it more engaging. We want to hear from you!  And stay tuned for more tips to get more JUICE From your social media marketing.   Down in the “COMMENT” BOX– leave me your ideas or practices or just let me know what you thought of this article.

 If you liked these ideas make plans to join the ASU SBTDC on Thursday, November 18th from 6-9 pm at the ASU Technical Center in Jonesboro for a special workshop “Advanced Facebook Marketing Tools For Small Businesses”. Our instructor, Abbi Siler owner of Local2Social, will give you 3 hours of easy to use tools & tips to make your Facebook marketing standout!  For more information or to register for this workshop call the ASU SBTDC at 870-972-3517 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              870-972-3517      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or e-mail us at asusbtdc@astate.edu or register on-line http://www.asbtdc.UALR.edu/training/jonesboro.asp.

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