Facebook has been around a long time, and most of us have personal accounts on there, but were you aware that it also offers opportunities for certain types of business to connect, and sometimes even sell their product/service?

Facebook isn’t for everyone, despite what some marketing experts may lead you to believe, and you should consider carefully what you intend your account to achieve before creating one. While many of the statuses and posts on facebook are personal, and so of very little interest to most companies (“Look at this cute cat video I found on youtube…”) there are some very good opportunities for using Facebook as an element of your marketing campaign so long as you are clear about your goals:

The sorts of things that I have seen Facebook used for include :-

  • Customer enquiries and feedback – where the company use their page to gain feedback, address any complaints and enquires.
  • Direct marketing – To share special offers, promotions, or let people know that stock is running low “Only 1 HP colour laser at £450 left for sale – message us to reserve it”
  • As a shop front – This is perhaps the most risky of the uses as most people are on facebook to relax and not to shop – it works for certain types of businesses, a craft business for example may rely heavily on the visual impact of their product and the “impulse buyers” do well, but a branch of accountants  or book keepers won’t do so well as people are unlikely to buy into such services via such an informal medium.

However you chose to use your Facebook feed, it is important to ensure that it is set up correctly, Facebook have the ability for you to set your page up as a business, rather than a personal account which means that instead of friends you get likes and you get some really helpful analytics. There are many that just for one reason or another, use a personal page, but Facebook are cracking down on this – deleting any business pages that are using personal timelines.

The other point you must remember is that Facebook, like Twitter, is a form of social media and make sure you use it as such, interacting with your likers and making sure that you engage them, either via competitions, or responding to their messages.

The more social you are, then the better your results are likely to be, as you build up a rapport with your likers, it is easy to do this by spending a little bit of time chatting and passing on information about not only your products and services but also news that would be relevant to your likers and even sharing on other peoples posts if you feel they are relevant to your likers.

One example of a “direct marketing” user is Buy V2 Cigs UK who frequently share new products and special offers. Although there is very little interaction other then likes it doesn’t seem to adversely affect them as when they do get a question, or comment, they are quick to respond and the fact that they have over 1,500 likers would back up the success of this campaign for its target market.

If you want to be successful using Facebook as a marketing medium, then it is important to remember a few points:

  • Don’t just send out adverts, remember that Facebook is a form of social media and the important word in the name is “Social”.  You need to interact with people and build up a following.
  • Following on from the last “rule” don’t just post news about your business – remember that you need to involve people in conversations and very few people want to join in a “me.. me… me” conversation.
  • Try to update your page regularly, the worst thing you can do is to not post for a long while.  This makes people think that the account is dead (or that you have nothing interesting to say) and you will lose likers.
  • If possible use something called hash-tags in your posts, Facebook has picked this up from Twitter recently and are slowly being adopted by the business users.   These are words that have a hash sign (#) in front of them and help spread the message as people can monitor and search for the tag – typical examples might be (depending on your market sector) #tax, #seo, #plumbing, #ecigs or even #marketing or #peterborough.  If you search on Facebook for words that are related to your products or service you are almost certain to find hash tags that are being used by your customers, prospects and competitors.

Of course, as  previously mentioned, using Facebook for customer support  is almost as good as the “traditional” form of marketing as the support is very visible to anyone that looks at the account can see the initial problem and how you have responsed.