Facebook. Now there is an idea I reckon every small business owner wishes they had thought of. For those who use it already I am sure you will agree it is definitely a social phenomenon. For those who aren’t on it, my advice simply is to sign up. If you don’t use Facebook yourself as a personal user, you are not appreciating the huge potential Facebook offers for small businesses wanting to reach prospective customers.
Three facts you may not have realised about Facebook:
- In Australia today there are 11.5 million people over the age of 13 who use the platform.
- 7.7 million Australians on Facebook are 30 years or older. In fact there are 1.8 million people over the age of 55 on Facebook.
- Facebook is not just about sharing photos of your holiday; it is also a powerful advertising medium. For as little as $100 per month, you can start publishing advertising that can be targeted to people in a specific town, to a specific gender, specific age group or even those who you know have an interest in the services your small business offers. There is very little wastage.
So how do you get started? This post is the first of three providing tips to small business owners on making Facebook part of your marketing mix.
The three posts will cover:
- What is a Facebook page and things to think about before starting
- Engaging your audience with compelling content and building an audience
- Facebook competitions and evaluating your Facebook efforts
What is a Facebook Page?
A Facebook Page is the equivalent of a Facebook Profile for brands and organisations. In many ways Facebook treats a Facebook Page the same as a personal profile; however, there are a few differences:
- Friends versus Likes: Rather than friends, your Facebook Page will generate ‘Likes’. Once a user has ‘liked’ your Page, your updates have the potential of appearing in their newsfeed.
- Facebook Page Tabs: A Facebook Page has ‘Tabs’ that enable you to create customised pages to host competitions, present product information and even house eCommerce platforms where you can sell your products.
- Page Admins: Unlike a personal account, a Facebook Page can have multiple ‘Admins’ of the page, enabling multiple staff members to access and control the Page.
- Measurement and Analytics: A Facebook Page has access to detailed measurement analytics, which enable you to see how many people visit your Page, the content they interact with the most and detailed demographic information about your community.
For more information about Facebook Pages you can visit this detailed guide by Facebook.
Things to think about before launching your Facebook Page
Unlike a web site, a Facebook Page is a platform for two way engagement with your customers. As such, there are some things you need to consider before you launch:
- Community Management: The person who manages your Facebook Page is typically described as the community manager. Depending on the size and engagement of your community this role will scale, but at the very least your community manager should be checking the page daily for comments that need responses and planning content so that your Facebook Page is updated regularly. Social Media Examiner has good advice on selecting a Community Manager.
- Q&As: Before you launch your Facebook Page, spend time with a variety of staff to brainstorm potential questions community members could ask on your Facebook Page. Speed is of the essence when responding to questions on Facebook, so as best you can pre-plan your responses. Think about the worst case scenarios. Hopefully they won’t be required, but it is best to be prepared.
- Escalation and response procedures: In conjunction with your Q&A document, you should also develop escalation and response procedures. This document will help business owners ensure community managers know the right response to provide and also ensure they know how to escalate questions within the business to the right people. The diagram below, created by David Armano, a colleague of mine, should give you an idea how these things work.
Stay tuned for additional advice in the coming weeks. Facebook Pages are a big opportunity, but they do require some new skills. I would love to hear your thoughts on the above and your own experiences in opening a Facebook Page for your business.
If any of the terms I have used above are unclear to you, visit this very comprehensive glossary that Facebook itself has created.