Effective Participation in Facebook for Business

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~ Contributed by Stacey Alexander ~

So you’ve heard that Facebook is a great platform for business, and you’d like to use it, but don’t really know what to do past the initial step of setting up your account. Lucky for you, I wrote this blog post. Now, in case you’re concerned about getting all this information from an intern, you’re in good hands. Not only am I a seasoned Facebook user, but I got help from Facebook pro Jeffrey L. Cohen.

Facebook is a network of over 500 million users. Users that volunteer to receive content from brands who have pages. For example, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page has nearly 10 million likers who have opted in to receive posts from the company on their personal news feeds. When they upload content, their likers know about it. Cisco has close to 80,000 likers, many of whom regularly engage in the conversation held on their page. A conversation initiated by Cisco. You see the value of a page? Want to know the disadvantage of NOT having a page? Just because you don’t create one for your brand, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. When someone else creates that page—and they likely will—you are out of the loop.

To dissolve any confusion, it used to be called a fan page, but now it’s just a page. And instead of fans, those who follow your page are now “likers”. Your goal is to get a significant group of likers so that you can connect with them, share your content with them, and hopefully increase your sales with them. The top five things you need to know about creating a successful Facebook page, per Jeff, are as follows:

  1. The info box just under your page picture is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gold mine. Putting your keywords here will increase the chances of your page making it to a decent slot on a Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) search.
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  3. Update your content regularly. Add something to your wall about 3-5 times a week. (Once a day is not too often.) More than that can essentially spam your likers’ news feeds, and they may choose to hide you—making it very difficult for you to reach them on Facebook again. Less than that can keep you from the news feed altogether, and your likers’ may forget about you.
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  5. Provide valuable, relevant and compelling content. If it’s not interesting, people won’t read it. If it has nothing to do with your brand, it won’t be a marketing tool at all. Make this content a mix of blog post type entries (or links to a corporate blog), standard status updates, highlights of industry news, and questions posed to your likers. Try to get engagement based on the content you’re posting.
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  7. What’s going to go on the wall? The content creation process can be a little overwhelming sometimes, so Jeff suggests treating your Facebook page like a publication. Create a content strategy document so you can understand what kinds of content to create. Create also an editorial calendar so you know when to publish what. This will sort of take the guess work out of the process.
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  9. Understand what you want people to do. Are you trying to drive traffic back to your website? Are you trying to get people to sign up for a newsletter? Are you trying to get leads? Or is everything feeding back to your page so they can only connect with you through Facebook? Knowing your goal will help you cater your content and calls to action.

Facebook is a huge network of people ripe for the liking. Creating an effective page can get you in contact with the exact people who are interested in, and in need of, your product. Following these tips will get you started. Good luck.

Photo by Franco Bouly

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About Author

Alison Bolen

Editor of Blogs and Social Content

+Alison Bolen is an editor at SAS, where she writes and edits content about analytics and emerging topics. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

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