Monday, September 17, 2012

Facebook And Small Business: What Makes A Great Facebook Small Business Page?

There’s no doubt about it; a Facebook well done Facebook page can help grow your business….. but what are the keys to success for your business Facebook page? Read on….

There is no escaping it…… and many have tried; if you want to maximize customer and prospect engagement for your business, you need a great Facebook page. That naturally begs the question: What makes a great Facebook small business page, anyway?”

Beyond our own experience working with small businesses to maximize their online exposure, there are several resources that point to common traits of effective small business Facebook pages. I’ll get to exactly what those are in a minute.

While you don’t need a grasp of how to use Facebook that would put Bob Marley’s grip on his favorite smoking appliance to shame, knowing the common threads that effective pages share is a great starting point.

1. Great Header Graphics – They’re the first thing that your visitor sees, emblazoned at the top, as they are with Facebook’s new design. Use that to your advantage, to let visitors know where the heck they are. Your brand, or something very significant to it, should be prominently displayed there. Branding is key to your business and Facebook gives you a great opportunity to grab some more high profile exposure, and boost your brand image.

2. Visitor Engagement – That’s what you’re after, so go for it! Give fans not only plenty of opportunity to engage, but compelling reasons to want to. Update these frequently to keep them involved and coming back. Answer your posts promptly, as on your blog, but even more so with Facebook, it’s one of the best ways to engage your fans.

3. Frequent Updates – Post relevant info frequently, not only does that help you improve your page, it gives people reasons to return. As with almost everything that you do to breed success, it adds value. In fact, in many cases relevant info that people are looking for adds the most value.
As with many things in life, and especially in business timing is everything, so posting your content at the most advantageous moment can give you a significant boost. How do you when exactly that is? Excellent question, that. Thankfully minds greater than mine have heard your cries, and created tools to help you know when that is.

Edgerank is one such tool. They check a variety of metrics that will help you get a handle on when to post what. It will help boost your visitor engagement and get your page more likes.

You can also port your blog to your Facebook page. T hat will not only put more great content on your Facebook page more often, it will help publicize your blog.

4. Use Apps – Most of the best Facebook pages make great use of apps, and with good reason, it adds value for the visitor, and in the end, that’s what your business is all about, adding value. There’s no reason that shouldn’t hold true on your Facebook page as well. Using an app service is a great idea. Unless your business is to the point where you can have a dedicated social media staffer or two, it makes things much easier and more efficient.

5. Ask for Likes – Never forget the strong call to action! It’s the way to get the sale in your business, and it’s also the way to get more likes on Facebook. Of course if your content sucks…. but in any case, give them every reason to like your page, then come right out and ask them to do it. Put a prominent “Like Us On Facebook” button on your website to make it falling-off-a-log simple for fans to both like and find your company’s business page. Remember, make easy that behavior which you want to encourage.

6. Use Powerful Images Throughout – Yes, not everyone is visual, but it is still one of the best ways to create a memorable Facebook experience. Add new ones frequently, so there is always more to love and more reasons to return. Great images are also an excellent way to get the coveted “like” from your visitors.

7. Add video – Why stop at static images? Videos are proven to increase engagement and shareability, so use them. Embed YuoTube or Vimeo images on your page. You can make great video shorts using online apps such as Animoto for dirt cheap. Yo can also create your own using affordable software. We use Pinnacle Studio 16 for video creation and editiing. They are the leaders in this and the software is affordable, powerful and easy to use. Try Camtasia Studio from Techsmith for screen capture videos, such as those you make from powerpoint presentations. It is th most used software for this kind of application, and with good reason. You can get a free trial here.

8. Favorite Pages – Use the “Favorite Pages” option that Facebook offers. Yes, it is a link off your page to others’ pages, but if you’re strategic about ho you do this, it can be mutually beneficial. If there are other businesses you work with, such as suppliers, distributors, or subcontractors, link to their pages. In return, have them reciprocate. You’ll share beneficial traffic and expand your brand footprint. You may have to ask the other business to add you as well, but they should be happy to do so.

9. Specifically Oriented Pages – Create brand or product line pages. Yes, most small businesses will be too small to take advantage of this, but not always, and you may well be growing from a small to a medium sized business. On of the main keys to success here is to make sure you target your key demographics.

Facebook gives you the ability to do this, so grab it by the horns and run with it! You often pay big money for this kind of targeted marketing, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by. For example, if you run a camera store, have different pages for still and video. If you are a small clothing company, with lines aimed at different demographics, that screams for different pages, so build them.

A great resource is to check out Social Media Examiners’ Facebook Business Page content winners here. You can see in action some of the elements I’ve discussed.

So….. Building a strong Facebook business page is a proven way to bring in new customers and increase engagement with existing ones. Does your business have a Facebook page? If you do, submit it using the contact form and tell us why you think it’s worthy. We’ll choose one business to feature each month on our site from the entries we receive

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