Follow Us:
Facebook for Your Online Success

Web.com on FacebookFacebook has become an integral part of the digital culture: over 300 million people presently share photos, post anecdotes and share ‘what’s on their mind’ in the context of their own personal community. Facebook offers an unprecedented opportunity for people to stay connected with family and friends—often long-lost—on a daily basis.

In the past year, Facebook has introduced some new capabilities that allow you to use their network as a platform for your business. They are refining and expanding these capabilities over time—so it’s only going to get better. Small businesses have yet to leverage Facebook to its full potential, and it’s a great time to jump in and use this tool to transform your marketing efforts.

Using Facebook is really not very different from offline social networking, which has always been key to growing and maintaining a small business. Creating relationships and getting to know regular customers has always been vital, as good customers will recommend your business to their friends and family members and expand your business.

While it may not be apparent to many small business owners how they can translate offline networking into social media, Facebook is really the digital equivalent: it is the ideal social platform for connecting with your busy customers. When customers becomes your ‘fan’ on your Facebook page—you can use this opportunity to update them on what is going on with your business, which will allow you to remain relevant to them. You can use Facebook to become a part of your customer’s everyday life—and they will share you with their network of friends.

So for example—if you are a restaurant owner, you could use Facebook as a place where you could talk about your weekly specials—what is new and fresh in the kitchen. You could publish daily or weekly specials with accompanying photos to tantalize people (have someone on the waitstaff do this on an iPhone as their side work!).

You could log in to Facebook and offer special promos to your fans anytime—‘come in tonite for dessert on the house’—or could identify your most loyal customers and send them a particular offer via Facebook email such as:

Dear Joe,

Would love to see you and Louise soon—come in this week and enjoy a glass of wine on me. Just mention my name if I’m not around. Hope you and the family are doing great.

All the best,

Pete

This same type of effort can be used by any small business to create and maintain rapport with customers. Spending even 10 minutes a day on Facebook can be a great business investment—and it doesn’t cost anything.

However, it is important to remember that having a Facebook page is NOT an advertisement, or a billboard—it’s a dialogue. If you come across as too self-promotional, it simply won’t work. If you are in question about what to post, just imagine what you would say or give to a customer in person. If you keep this in mind, your communications will remain conversational and will utilize Facebook as it is designed.

When used in the right way, Facebook can encourage loyalty and increase word-of-mouth business with very little effort on your part. To remain competitive in today’s economy, I think it’s wise to use this platform to the fullest.


    1. I’m glad to see that somebody get’s it. Facebook hands down is the strongest viral tool on the internet, hence their #2 spot. For small businesses this is a godsend because as powerful as it is, it’s also free. For the major corps it’s a goldmine. So many people do it wrong too, just as you stated. I have been the “some people.” Building core relationships through Facebook is the best thing a business can do. But you have to do it the right way. Good stuff.

      1
    2. How do you get people to go to your Facebook page? Or to your website using Facebook?

      2
    3. George K.’s comment is exactly to the point, and something this article doesn’t address. Facebook tech support itself is frustrating to navigate for people setting up business pages. The documentation on Facebook leaves many important questions unanswered, and I’ve been involved in a discussion on Facebook help to which dozens of other businesspeople have contributed. You cannot get any direct e-mail or phone support from Facebook—it’s all peer-to-peer, and as far as I can tell, no one from the organization monitors the user discussions and chips in with helpful solutions, as sometimes happens in other business such as Adobe.

      They have a PDF you can download about “getting started,” but all it tells you is that you’ll have to invite people to become a fan, but you can’t do that as a fan page owner. They also don’t tell you how to find the URL of your page to promote it to your customers by, say e-mail. I figured ours out by trial and error. You also will not show up in a search or in their directory until you have at least 5 fans! We finally got around it by having the business owner set up a personal Facebook page, and he started inviting people he knew to be his Facebook friends and THEN he was able to promote the Fan Page (as business pages are called).

      Business presence is an afterthought for Facebook—they didn’t start out to be of service to businesses, like say, Constant Contact, whose customer service is exemplary. I’d say they may prove to be useful to small businesses—honestly after all the effort we’ve put into it we’re still not sure. But if Web.com really wants to help businesses market on Facebook, they could address all these nitty-gritty and frustrating issues in this blog and fill in the blanks that Facebook does not.

      3
    4. One way to drive traffic to your Facebook account is to link it from your website. If you use Twitter or a blog, you can also link it there. Another way is to actually put up a sign to let people know you’re on Facebook (if you have a brick-and-mortar business).

      Once people find out you’re on Facebook, they can let other people who they know who are interested in the things you have know you’re on facebook, and that’s how it starts. New people who find out from searching Facebook, or by word of mouth, can then go to your website from your Facebook profile.

      4
    5. I understand there is a lot of frustration out there about Facebook business pages support. This is still a relatively new feature of Facebook, and it will get better over time—when such rapid growth occurs, there are often such issues.

      There are a number of ways to get people to your Facebook page:

      1. After you create your business pages, you can place a ‘become a fan’ box on your website. That way, when people come to your website, they can sign up to get your Facebook updates by just clicking a button.
      2. You can run targeted local ads on Facebook very easily that encourage people to ‘become a fan’ of your business in the ad for special offers, etc.
      3. Once you get 100 fans—you can claim your own unique Facebook address and drive people to your Facebook page by placing this address on your business card and letterhead, or on a sign, i.e., facebook.com/myplaceatlanta.

      As far as getting people to your website from Facebook—just add your website link to your Facebook business page in the ‘info’ section.

      I hope this helps. Stay tuned.

      5
    6. I’m still as deen as new money when it involves the vast world of online communications and cyberspace technology, but am not ashamed to readily admit to anyone who will listen, that my small online seafood delivery service could definitely use a major facelift! No pun intended. Any suggestions by any of my fellow small business cyberteers about overhauling Seafood On The Go’s accounts receivable would be greatly appreciated! I am also extremely interested in becoming a participant in any of a number of affiliate programs with companies such as Dell, Bass Pro Shops, Wal*Mart, and Academy but am as green as grass in the spring (as to how to get started). Bring on the info.

      6
    Join the Small Business Forum Community
    The Small Business Forum is a place where small business owners can learn, ask questions, and share advice on how to succeed online