Using Facebook for your business
If you are running a smaller business and don’t have a marketing department or the budget to hire a social media specialist, chances are you are the one that will do the work - when using Facebook for your organization or business.
This article includes some helpful tips, information and tools that can help you successfully use Facebook for your business.
If you decide to use social media tools to communicate with your customers, make sure you have a plan. It will greatly help with your success.
Social media tools like Facebook need regular attention to engage and attract visitors. We included an example of a communication plan, which you can easily set up by using a simple spreadsheet and your calendar application.
Increasingly, Facebook users search for information, organizations and businesses within Facebook, using the built in search tool. You can rank high in Google, but if you don’t have a Facebook Page, how will people find you without leaving the site?
Why have a Facebook Page?
For businesses, having a Facebook Page is becoming more and more a necessity, in addition to operating a regular website.
Getting started is easy. The following links will help to get you started:
How to create a Facebook Page?
Set up a username (also called vanity URL)
By default, your Facebook Page will get a randomly assigned number and URL (facebook.com/pages/yourbusiness/123456789).
Facebook makes it possible to customize your Facebook Page URL (facebook.com/yourbusiness).
Click on the following link to set up a custom username, after you created your Page and are still logged in to Facebook (important):
Before you start promoting your Page, make it attractive and look complete. Add all necessary information about your company, services, include a profile picture or logo, and some great photos showing your products or services you provide.
Populate your Facebook Page
Then, add a few posts over the next days. A Facebook Page with a few posts and content will look much better to new visitors when you start promoting your brand new Facebook Page.
Some businesses included custom landing pages (aka Welcome Tab, iFrame App, etc.). This goes beyond the purpose of this post. Contact us if you need more information or help setting this up.
Following are links to Facebook Pages of some of our customers, as examples of how a Facebook Page looks for a business or organization:
Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge
Tourism Canmore Kananaskis
Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions
Now, some people may say: Why would I want to add Facebook to my website? Isn’t that sending people away from it?
Promote the Facebook Page on your website
Social Media is an important aspect in online marketing today. If you are going to use Facebook for your business, make it easy for people to connect and interact with your business, including proving the tools to do so from your own website!
There are many benefits of integrating Facebook with your website, including providing you with an easy to use tool to show new content and make announcements right on your homepage.
Larger websites use Content Management Systems where they can publish and update information in a blog or a news section. Using a Facebook box, somewhat similar capabilities to share information is available to anyone, right on your homepage. This allows you to post to Facebook and keep content on your homepage fresh at the same time.
However, using your own blog or news section is important if want your content to benefit your website in terms of search engine optimization. Typically, smaller websites can be served well with a Facebook like box, where larger websites use social media in conjunction with their own blog. Makes sense? If not, drop us a line.
Following are some examples of a Facebook like box, integrated with a website’s home page.
How does it look?
To use Facebook effectively as a business, have a plan. Planning ahead and setting up a communication schedule will save you time.
Have a Communication Plan
To start, look at what other businesses in the area are talking about. This may give you some ideas. Also, read on the documentation provided by Facebook for businesses (links included at the bottom of the article).
Choosing what information to post will depend on your business, your audience and your goals. If your business is in the tourism industry, your audience is probably interested to find out about what’s happening, upcoming events, things to do, new products, special offers, etc.
Think about the frequency of your posts. Find the right rhythm for your audience, and that works with your schedule. Keep the conversation human, authentic. For example, you can share photos of your business, the community and customers.Share new and exclusive content and encourage participation. Also, keep in mind social media is a conversation tool. Therefore, address negative feedback in a courteous, genuine, transparent way. Other people will read it too.
One way of building a plan and time saving workflow could be:
This way, you could have a continuous presence on Facebook and new content added regularly, including on your website homepage, for less than a couple hours a month.
Example of a simple communication plan
- Use a spreadsheet for planning your posts ahead of time.
- Include columns with post topic, content, planned posting date.
- Set aside time on a regular base (1 hour once a month) to prepare all draft posts for the next month. Brainstorm, research and write your posts, decide on an appropriate posting date for each post, spacing them a few days apart.
- Setup a task for each post in your calendar application, using the post content and date, and set up a reminder.
- When you’re alerted by the reminder, simply copy and paste the post content from your calendar application to your Facebook page - a 1 minute job!
Without a clear communication plan, chances are it will take you significantly more time overall, if you add it all up, to produce similar results and getting things done.
You can raise the profile of your Facebook Page within the community by “liking” other pages. Use the same Like button your customers use for your Page, to like other local businesses and associations. Connect with people and businesses, just like in the real world. Some businesses overlook this simple aspect.
Example like buttons on websites:
If you need help getting started or making improvements to your social media efforts, send us an email with your questions.
Ask for help
Following are some links to useful documents: