As we all know, social media is booming with experienced business people, networking opportunities, and the ability to reach customers all over the world. Now, more than ever, small and mid-sized businesses have the ability to compete toe-to-toe with their larger competitors. Expanding your business, building a strong brand identity, and the ability to target specific customers should be on the top of your priority list when optimizing your Facebook page, or any social media channel for that matter.
When creating (or updating) your Facebook page, keep these things in mind:
- You want to build a strategy that is social by design. Discussion topics, engaging photos, contests and custom content, such as blog articles, are a great way to accomplish this. It will attract more views, likes, shares, and comments – more interaction that customers will remember.
- Creating an authentic brand voice will allow customers to remember your company and make more of an impact on them, making them want to come back to buy from you. Determining the purpose of your social media channels will help you identify your brand’s voice.
- Nurturing your relationships with your customers on a social, but professional, level will increase customer loyalty and interaction with your company (equals sales). Social media provides a great opportunity to provide excellent customer service and engage with your your customers.
- Responding in a timely, and professional manner, will not only reflect highly on your company, but could also be the key to winning business. Recent studies show that customers expect a response within 30 minutes or they’ll move on to the next company on their list – your competitor.
- Finally, keeping your personal and professional pages separate will diffuse confusion of those looking at your site, and it will help you appear professional. While your personal Facebook page might be the place where you discuss your views on political events and fawn over the latest funny cat video, this might not translate well with your current and prospective clients.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of social media as it relates to your business, let’s talk about how you can optimize your Facebook profile to help you better engage your audience. Filling out your Facebook profile in its entirety is essential because this is what draws customers to your page, and what keeps them there. A few areas to look for (and fill out) include:
Set Up Your Vanity URL – you definitely want to select a vanity URL (on all social networking sites when possible) because this makes it easier for your customers to find you. You must have 25 fans before you can create your vanity URL, so you may have a few days to think about what the perfect (and simplest) URL would be. Our recommendation is to make sure that your urls match across your various social media channels. For example, our Facebook url is www.facebook.com/surrylmarketing and our Twitter url is www.twitter.com/surrylmarketing. Consistency is key when optimizing SEO and helping your current and prospective customers find you online.
Add Pictures – especially to your cover and profile. Using your logo is a great idea (read: essential) for creating brand awareness. Also use pictures that tell the story about your business and about what you have to offer. Take care to ensure your pictures are the proper size, are clear and are carefully positioned. Your photos are often the first thing a person notices when they land on your page. Just like in the real world, first impressions could make or break your reputation with prospective clients.
Picmonkey is an easy-to-use photo editor that can help you set up a stunning cover photo.
Use Tabs – one of my favorite Facebook features is the ability to customize your page using tabs (ie. “Free Digital Marketing Audit” as shown above). These are the fun little sub-pages that allow you to share custom content without requiring a visitor to leave your page. They are a great way to promote special offers and engage your visitors.
Woobox is a great app to help you get started.
Add Content – a blank Facebook page is pretty boring. Add content on a regular basis – milestones, important dates, specials, events, etc. – to engage your customers. And ask your customers questions; get them engaged in the conversation. Be sure to stay away from anything that would look negatively on you or your company (i.e. putting competitors down, political views, etc.) as this will only hurt you. While original content is always best, you can supplement your blog articles, whitepapers, photos and status updates with timely and relevant news articles.
Smartbriefs is a great resource to use when curating news content.
Invite People to Like Your Page – start with the people you know. Social networking is like a virus. When one person sees that their friend likes or is following a page they are much more likely to like or follow it as well.
1.) Invite Friends – this feature, like it suggests, allows you to invite your Facebook friends to like your page.
2.) Suggest Page – this feature allows you to upload your email contacts to suggest your Page to them on Facebook.
3.) Share – this feature allows you to share your page on your personal page, on a friend’s page, in a group (our recommendation) or in a private message.
Engaging activities, such as running a contest with your customers, are also a good way to gain followers – offer a drawing or a percentage off their purchase if they can show you they’ve liked or followed your page.
Your business may be located in a rural area where your primary customer base is your little town, but with the power of social networking you can grow your business to become world-wide! Giving the best customer experience possible, creating a strong brand, and engaging with your customers is the best way to do this.