This is a second guest post via Daniel as a bit of a follow-up to the previous post regarding Facebook. As Daniel mentions, Facebook is huge, with over 500 million active users.
Love it or hate it, that’s a whole lotta people at the tips of your little fingers, and savvy businesses are utilizing Facebook (often in conjunction with Twitter) as the ultimate relationship marketing tool, via Fan Pages.
We’re all looking for new ways to market our businesses and it’s a smart idea to use the latest technology available to spread the word about your product or service. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has become the post popular social networking site with more than 500 million users.
These millions of users are potential customers if you use this medium correctly. However, it’s easy to turn people off if you are too heavy-handed with your pitch and don’t form relationships with your contacts properly.
Facebook is so popular now that businesses are just as likely to direct potential customers to their Facebook page as they are to direct them to their company’s website. This makes your Facebook profile just as important as a robust website and your knowledge of how to use Facebook for business crucial.
Following these simple tips for business relationship marketing will build your client list by infiltrating the social networking giant and turning it into your biggest marketing tool.
Create a Fan Page
Most Facebook users use the network to keep up with friends and family, not businesses. However, as more and more businesses are taking advantage of the networking benefits Facebook has to offer, Facebook has put some guidelines in place for business users.
Individual users set up profiles, businesses set up pages. Business pages do not allow status updates or friend lists. Instead, business users can make wall posts and maintain a fan list. Business users can still post videos and pictures and they can have discussion boards for fans to talk about products and services.
Before creating your fan page, take some time to think of a clever and easy to remember name. Similar to a website, having a catchy Facebook profile name will help prospective fans (and customers) find you quickly.
Market Your Fan Page
Once your page is set up, you need to attract fans. Start by asking friends, family and current customers to visit your page. As a business user, you are not allowed to send friend requests so it’s important to recruit fans via email contacts you already have to drive traffic to your Facebook page.
Every time a Facebook user becomes a fan of a page, it is posted on their wall as well as on the walls of all their friends. This equals major exposure to a large number of users. If you have an interesting Facebook fan page title and a unique, attractive profile picture, you are more likely to turn the users who stop by your page into fans.
Any advertising you do in other media (your business website, television or radio advertising, etc.) needs to mention your Facebook page. A quick invitation to visit your Facebook page, including the address (which will be “Facebook/business page name”) will let potential fans know that they can stop by your page to share product experiences with other fans and get the latest information about your company.
Promote Your Business
Perhaps the best thing about Facebook is you can use it as free advertising for your business. There are several ways to do this. Promote an event like a book signing, annual sale or concert with a snappy wall post. This wall post will not only be visible on your business page wall but also on the walls of all your fans.
Friends of those fans see the post when they are looking at the fans’ pages. Use Facebook Markup Language to customize your page and build tabs to suit your business marketing needs. Having a tab called “Sales” could feature all items currently marked down.
Clicking on these items would direct fans to your website where they would get more information or complete their purchase. Offering discounts for Facebook fans only is a great way to see if your marketing is working.
Perhaps the most important aspect of relationship marketing for a business is forming a relationship with your customer. This may sound obvious but businesses tend to lose sight of how closely sales are tied to emotion.
Brand loyalty is a huge marketing force and being able to pull customers away from a brand they’ve used for years takes personal interaction. Allowing fans to post comments and product reviews on your Facebook page goes a long way in forming that emotional bond. If customers feel they have a personal stake in the success of your business, they will promote it to their friends and encourage others to buy your products as well.
Facebook is a phenomenon that seems to have arisen out of nowhere to be the most popular social networking site in existence. If you want your business to be successful in this day and age, you must take advantage of every new technology and marketing tool available.
Learning how to form relationships with your customers and drive traffic to your website and into your stores is key. Facebook offers a way to do all of this and it doesn’t cost a thing except for the time it takes to create and maintain your page.