There are over 400 million people on Facebook. Chances are that many people you know have accounts there- and they may not be the people you suspect. Given the number of people on it, and the degree of interaction between people, it is attractive to use it in your marketing.
Doing this well, however, is not as easy as it may seem. If you want to use Facebook to market your small business, but you're not sure how, the tips below should help.
Create and Promote a Fan Page
Any small business which wants to set up a presence on Facebook should first create a Fan Page. A Fan Page is a specific section of Facebook which is dedicated to whatever you'd like (your business, in this case). Note that you should NOT create a second profile to promote your business. Having multiple profiles is frowned upon. A Page is free to set up and can be populated with whatever information you'd like.
Once you have your Page, you need to promote it. There are a lot of ways you can do this, and most leverage traditional advertising. Let people know you are on Facebook in your normal print, radio and television ads. Also place the information somewhere visible on your website. People who like your business can not check out your page if they do not even know it exists!
Proper Facebook Page Use
Creating a page and populated it with your information is great, but it is not likely to help much in marketing. The people who visit your Page will usually already have at least a vague idea of what your business is about (after all, something made them decide to visit the page in the first place).
To use your Fan Page for marketing, you need to give people a reason to get excited. Generally speaking, people who use social media actively are people who want to feel unique and be on the cutting edge of information. Play to this fact. Create content exclusively for your Page. Run Facebook-only contests and coupons. Release cutting-edge information about your business. If you make your page a source of unique information users will embrace it.
Using Facebook Advertisements
Once you have your Page set up you may also want to start using FB advertisements. These are a lot like Google AdWords. They are simple advertisements incorporated into FB which promote your business.
The degree to which you use Facebook advertisements – and indeed, if you use them at all – depends on what your business is. Small local businesses will typically find the advertisements a poor platform. On the other hand, a small web-based business will get more use from them. In any case, you need to make sure your advertisement provides something instantly enticing. Anyone who views your ad will be making a split-second decision to click or not to click. They will not click if the information on the ad is vague or boring.
Also, make sure that you limit your ad budget. Every marketing campaign you embark on will ask you your daily budget. Keep this number low when starting out – perhaps a few dollars a day. If you do not you may find your ad budget spinning out of control. Also, if you are a local business only, make sure that you specify that you only want your advertisements to appear for FB users in your area!
Wrapping Facebook Advertising Up
Facebook is not like normal advertising, and is not meant to replace it. It is a great way of marketing to repeat customers and can be used to help bring in customers who are first considering your business. If you make your FB page a unique and interesting place to be, and treat it as a supplement to your traditional advertising campaigns, you will find it an effective low-cost marketing tool.