Facebook has blazed the trail in creating ways for small-business owners to engage with their customers and build loyal followings. Just think, you have the opportunity to feature your brand before a billion users without spending a penny!
Social media has transformed brand building, making it possible for Davids to be as big as Goliaths.
Whether you’re already using Facebook to promote your business, or are just beginning, the process can be overwhelming (especially since Facebook changes its format frequently). Yet there are many small, simple things you can do to build your brand on Facebook that won’t swallow your time (many are used by the biggest brands in the world).
Creative entrepreneurs are wise to take advantage of this free resource, and learn all they can to maximize Facebook’s potential.
This week’s featured Social Caffeine ebook is 10 Commandments for Building a Brand on Facebook. Inside, you’ll find the marketing know-how for your brand to build an engaged following of raving fans on Facebook.
After February 22, the book will go back to its regular price of $2.99.
Just in case you’d like to try before you “buy”, here’s an excerpt:
Why Facebook is Your Brand’s Social Networking Lifeline
No matter what type of brand you’re looking to build, Facebook has the most powerful broadcast and flexible tools necessary for you to move your brand’s message from vision to reality. Strike while the iron is hot. Right now Facebook is blazing – a rapidly growing, indispensable marketing tool for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs.
According to BlogHer, 93% of adult Internet users in the U.S. are on Facebook, and last year ComScore revealed that one out of every eight minutes a user spends online is spent on a social networking site (and you can bet Facebook is at the forefront of that statistic).
Now, with Facebook’s new Timeline format, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of all Facebook has to offer. Their new brand pages stand to benefit creative entrepreneurs and social media power users in more ways than ever before.
Build a Following of Raving Fans
Facebook business pages are indexed by search engines; therefore, any targeted content posted on your page has the potential to show up in search engine results. If you consistently post stellar content, your search engine ranking will improve and you’ll remain visible to your audience.
Each post grants you an opportunity to engage with your audience and build your following. While they might not need your product or service immediately, subtly keep your business top of mind, and they’ll be more likely to choose you for their needs in the future.
When someone likes your page, that action appears in their activity feed,visible to all of their followers. They likely have friends who share their interests, offering you the potential to meet new followers.
The Timeline format allows you to feature a vivid depiction of your brand’s personality through your cover photo, highlighted and pinned content, custom tabs, and more. You’re now able to flaunt as much of your brand’s flare on Facebook as you do through other avenues of your platform.
Engage Your Customers With Your Timeline
By not obsessing over the number of likes on your Facebook page, and focusing on engaging with your current followers instead, you’ll build a loyal audience, sincerely interested in your business.
Your Facebook page lets you create a quality archive of information for your followers, and a convenient way for you to answer their questions, earn their trust, and build lasting relationships.
Before the switch to Timeline, users could create a default landing page. While this was a great way to leverage your Facebook page to create conversions, perhaps through building your mailing list or advertising product promotions, the page could become a crutch when unable to provide fresh content. Now, fresh content is given top priority; if you don’t consistently update your Timeline, your audience will be greeted by blank space (and you don’t want that).
By publishing to your Facebook page daily, you’ll build constant awareness for your brand, and become increasingly creative with how you engage with your followers.
Still not sold? Look at the stats
Facebook Insights allows you to track how a post is doing within 10 minutes of publishing, allowing you to make any immediate adjustments necessary to improve traffic while the content is still fresh.
Facebook has also enhanced the detail of available statistics, including:
Friends of Fans
This is the combined number of friends your fans have. As this number rises, so does your platform’s potential reach.
People Talking About This
This is the total number of people who have engaged with you in some way. Engagement includes liking your page, posting on your wall, commenting on or sharing one of your posts, or a mention of your page.
Weekly Total Reach
This is the total number of people who have seen content connected to your page within the last week.
Facebook offers an overall look at your page’s activity, as well as information on your individual posts. This will help you find your most effective content so you can continue to provide what your audience wants most.
What You Stand To Lose By Ignoring Facebook
Millions of people rely on Facebook as their main form of communication between companies, brands, and personalities, as well as the people they care about most.
If your business isn’t on Facebook, potential readers and customers won’t go looking. They’ll simply find another business like yours, already on Facebook.
You must earn your followers’ trust, and Facebook simplifies that process. Your potential readers and customers can follow your page long before they connect with you personally. They can watch your activity to learn more about you and your brand. Then, when they feel more comfortable, they can contact you about their needs.
Sure, they can subscribe to your blog updates, but the activity on your Facebook page gives them a behind-the-scenes look at how active you are as a brand and how sincere you are about your business.
Online marketing is about building personal relationships; it’s not just about the brand, it’s about the person behind the brand. The more ways you offer potential readers and customers to interact with you, the more likely they’ll become regular readers and customers.
Facebook makes it easier for your audience to find, get to know, and recommend you.
Facebook Bricks and Mortar (Getting Local)
If one of the marketing strategies for your business’ Facebook page is to increase traffic to your brick and mortar location, Facebook will soon be rolling out new useful features.
You already know many of your customers on a first-name basis, and share common interests. Your Facebook page gives those same customers a place to conveniently contact you with their needs. Facebook takes their offline familiarity, then gives them an online haven you can use to further increase your local traffic.
When filling out your Facebook page, amplify your brand message by classifying your business as local. This will help you build buzz and customer loyalty. When you make your Facebook page local, you’re not able to customize the About introduction as you would otherwise. Instead of a description showing below your profile image, your address, city, state, and zip code will show, along with your phone number and store hours.
If you’re a seasonal business, you can use your Facebook page as a way to get to know and keep in touch with your customers to build buzz for your following season. If you’re a local business who also has an online store, you can use your Facebook page for both your on- and offline promotions.
The more diligent you are with keeping in touch and responding to comments and questions, the more your customers will open up about what they’re looking for, consistently helping you improve your bottom line and their overall satisfaction.
You never want one of your followers to find a fantastic in-store only promotion, when they’re one of your avid online buyers from another state. Facebook has it covered, giving you the ability to provide localized content and offer your local followers specific walk-in promotions. You can also geotarget your posts (which is especially useful if you have more than one location).
Facebook Offers for Local Businesses
Since mid-2012, local businesses can now to send discounts and promotions to their followers through their News Feeds. Your customers can redeem the offers from Facebook’s mobile application, or they can receive them through email to use in-store. Customers also have the option of sharing your offers with their friends on their personal Timeline.
If your offer is juicy enough, you’ll connect to your current customers as well as new ones, because some of your market will find your offer appealing enough to share with their friends.
You can create incentives for those who already follow you, and encourage new customers to join your page for future offers.
Sponsored Stories Direct From Your Page
For those creative entrepreneurs who find their ad dashboard complicated, Facebook lets you create sponsored stories directly from your page. They’re different from Facebook ads because you can insert business mentions into the News Feeds of your followers.
Due to the volume of content shared on Facebook pages (it’s recommended you post up to five times per day to engage with your customers), the average post only reaches 16% of fans, so creating sponsored stories will be a fantastic way for you to bring new engagement and followers to your page. This is especially the case if you’re a small business on a tight budget.
You need more than a presence on Facebook
You must also determine your ultimate goals for your Facebook page, and how you expect your business to benefit. This will help you maximize your efforts, and build a following that will benefit and learn from you.
Always have fun with the process, and focus on customer engagement. By giving your market a fun and approachable Facebook page to visit, you’ll build a strong and memorable brand your followers will look forward to hearing from.
Use our 10 Commandments for Building a Brand on Facebook as your guide to get started.
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