Facebook isn’t just for finding your best friend from third grade or keeping tabs on an ex; it can be an amazing help for improving many aspects of your business. So, I have again asked the fabulous CarolRoth.com contributor network of entrepreneurs and experts to provide their best tips for using Facebook to improve business. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar insights, but I kept the concepts separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Business Vs. Personal
If you want to use Facebook (or any other social media) to improve your business, keep the business and personal stuff separate. If you post personal things, business "friends" are likely to hide and even ignore your posts and you won't get any mileage from your posts. If your posts are not professional, it reflects poorly on your business and you as a business person. A little twist on an old adage "Professional is as professional does."
2. Facebook for Face Time!
Facebook, when properly implemented, provides businesses with authentic face time with their customers and clients. Facebook is an ideal way to build relationships with clients and deepen the connection you have with them, building brand identity and loyalty. Creating a Facebook page for your business - whether virtual or brick and mortar – is a crucial step in growing your business, even when it does not result in immediately measurable ROI.
3. Hot Link Heaven
Get thousands of views from one post by creating hot links to well connected people and pages. To create a hot link, simply type @Name of the person or page. As you type, a list will pop up. Click the correct one and that post will appear to their friends/fans as well as your own. Make it authentic as in: So great chatting with @JaneDoe of @HerFanPage about @SueSchmo and the great work at @FanPage. Facebook limits the number of hot links per post to 6.
4. Facebook Tips
As with all social media, we, as business owners, aim to be viewed as an expert in our field. I like to post interesting articles about art and/or memorializing through art (since that is my area of expertise). I also like to post images of new products or products that are being highlighted.
5. Face Your Biz Fans
When we discovered our business clients spend more time on Facebook than on websites, we immediately created a fan page. On this page, we turn our company face toward our biz fans in a highly relational and special way. We deliver our blog first there, along with other special values. We are about to promote a new book launch and plan to offer a special promotion-free sample chapters-just for FB fans who will then "like" it, and create a viral component to the launch as they tell their friends.
6. Be Social
Facebook is a social media network, so the key to improving your business using Facebook, is just that...Be Social. Engage in topics that interest you. Find and connect to people who might have need for your products and services, but remember to build a relationship first, get to know them. Then, begin to learn and understand what issues and problems they are facing; apply your solutions to them by suggesting and discussing how your product and services will help them. Relate first- then sell.
Myles Miller of LeadUP
7. Facebook Offer Page
Facebook is now allowing iFrames, which makes it easy to create a webpage called an "app" page that can be placed on your business page via a sidebar link. You then name the link after the content on the canvas page... such as "Special Offer" etc. This allows people to stay inside Facebook while they look over your offer before deciding to link to your main website to purchase etc. This then creates a viral effect as Facebook users can "Like" your page which will spread your offer via friends.
8. Project a Friendly Image!
When interacting with potential and current customers on Facebook, remember that taking a slightly more informal and friendly tone can convey a more approachable company "personality" than your traditional website. You should also be careful, though, to avoid TOO much informality that will decrease your business' credibility. Constant vigilance is also important - don't let days go by without responding to your customers or they will feel ignored.
9. Use Other's Fan Pages
Join other people's FB fan pages and FB groups related to your subject. Demonstrate your expertise by being helpful to the people in each group. Answer their questions. Share your knowledge and resources. People will appreciate your generosity and want to know more about you and your services. This is soft selling at its best; no hard pitching is necessary. It's an easy way to attain new interest in your services and products without spending a penny.
10. Communicate for Success
Building your business exponentially includes how you communicate. Utilizing one method delivers one audience; using 10 styles moves the audience potential to over 3.6 million. Multiply 10 x 9 all the way down to 1 for the total.
Be conversational in tone and offer much good advice without asking anything in return. Connect your tweets, blog, and video to your page. Provide resources, valuable MP3s or PDFs and articles. Ask questions; encourage friends to do the same for discussions.
11. Let Them Book Appointments
A great way for service-based businesses to increase sales is by allowing customers to book their appointments and reservations right from their Facebook page! Owners and operators can easily add a 'Book Now" button or URL that takes customers right to their online scheduler, where they can then view services and availability, and then quickly schedule their appointment or reservation without having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Making it easy for customers to book means more sales!
12. A Beneficial Friend Request!
My one best tip for "How To Use Facebook To Improve Your Business" is use it to network with people who are experiencing success in the very same area of vocation that you operate in. Establish as many genuine Facebook friends and social media relationships as you can. Be willing to give others backing first by supporting their interests and products. Ask the people in your network for help and I am sure that they would be more than happy to assist your business as well. This will surely benefit.
13. No Keg Stands
We live in an increasingly "profersonal" world, where professional and personal lives intersect. The good news about this is that business is becoming more real, more human. The other good news is that it's easier to turn personal connections into business relationships. So, unless you have a process for turning keg stand buddies into clients, maybe think twice about posting those photos from that last party.
14. Keep 250 Friends Close
I use Facebook as a tool to help people stay aware of the accomplishments I have achieved. Every time I do a speech, get a media mention, win an award, or just do something nice for someone I post it. I never post what I am having for breakfast or other trivia that could turn people off. I have a simple rule - only post things of value. Facebook is also a great way to find volunteers for community projects.
15. Facebook Crossing the Lines
Facebook is the true SOCIAL Media. When using Facebook to market your business, you must be careful to not cross lines between personal and business that you don't want crossed. We found the best way to use Facebook is to make it fun and lighthearted. It is good to use your picture. Since it is a truly social platform, your customers want to see your face and do not tolerate any automated postings. Facebook also allows for very targeted ads, giving us some of our highest click rates with Facebook ads.
16. The Backstage Pass
Facebook gives access to you. Many people use Fan Pages as a way to put out information about their business and use it as a sales platform. But that is a one way street. Social media allows for a 2 way conversation not previously possible. You can talk to your clients. You can help them, answer their questions, and give them insights into your business. You can offer them solutions or even simple conversation. Access to you is like a backstage pass to your business. You are your best asset.
17. Quality Over Quantity
We encourage our clients to use Facebook as a two-way communication tool. Post content and links that appeal to your fans versus just posting the latest company news. Ask questions such as "How would this...", "Would you...", "Do you agree..." etc. For smaller companies, a small, loyal following that will promote the brand to their friends is better than a large one that doesn't. Also, studies show that posting outside of normal business hours leads to a 20% higher engagement rate.
Facebook is better than having your own domain name and here's why...
Facebook is where all of your business contacts already are!
You have their attention, so there's no need to cold call.
I link Facebook to YELP, Twitter and LinkedIn.
All my writing is on Facebook.
Photography? Of course!
Facebook makes it easy!
19. Los Angeles
"The Lady in The Crab Hat" Facebook is as much a visual medium as it is a well of great content. Your content! What works like a charm for me is when I marry my post with a grabby photo that tells my story. I imagine my message like a movie trailer and chose a compelling shot that makes my FB friends/clients wonder, "OMG, what is she up to today? I've got to read this." Like a headline, I chose photos that create a sense of urgency where readers have to know what's going on and they want more.
20. Financial Tips
Every Wed. & Sat. I post what I call "Harris's Tip". It is usually an article to google that can help or offers advice in saving/protecting our money. As a rule, people in general do not go searching for these kinds of things. By following me, people pick up some very nice tidbits and at times, become aware of some new scam that's out there.
I then refer them to my web site: www.claimfinancialhealth.com where they can watch my video and read about my book: It's My Money & I Want It!
21. Put Your Mouth...
where your money is!
Make a video of yourself talking about your product, your services or yourself. Get a testimonial from a satisfied customer and put it on Facebook. Do whatever it takes to give people a break from reading, watch a clip, and have a laugh. It always works.
22. Face(book) the Music
Only masochists could like reading negative reviews. And yet, these reviews usually contain an element of truth we need to hear. Want to improve your business? Toughen your skin and make the necessary changes.
Marlene Caroselli of CPD
23. Healthy Information
As an advocate, I use Facebook to inform others with life saving tips. For example, I encourage patients to do independent research and always ask pointed questions about their diagnosis.
24. Not-So-Sales Pitchy
I started my online business in November of 2009. In less than 2 years, I have increased my Facebook fanbase to just over 11,400. The key to my success is keeping the fans attention with questions, pictures, sales or letting them know about recalls. Keeping things not so "sales-pitchy" seems to work best for me. They remember us when they need something and in the meantime, I get to interact with them on a regular basis. I get to know their likes and dislikes, so I can better serve them!
25. QR Code Marketing
Use a QR code in your Facebook profile to link people to a mobile offer where they can download your report, get on your list or buy something from you right on their phone.
It also helps you connect with your audience in a more engaging manner, on their mobile phone.
Make sure you're linking them to an offer page that has been optimized for mobile phones though; nothing is more frustrating than a big webpage on your little screen with some flash video that won't play.
26. Put Your Best Face Forward
For authors/speakers who sell books and products, it's imperative to include an engaging, friendly professional photo on your Facebook pages. Invest in a professional photo shoot, or ask a friend/colleague to take professional-looking shots for you. It doesn't cut it to just include your logo or brand. The general public won't trust someone they can't see. Use a professional-looking photo on your social media networks for consistency and branding purposes.
27. Make Social Media Sell for You
When customers understand their problems more clearly, they're better equipped to find the right solutions - your products/services. So, publish useful information that solves their problems on Facebook. Exchange relevant answers for insights on customers' needs. Or use a contest to entice a form-fill, a lead. Use traditional direct response tactics to nurture leads and capture sales. Avoid attention or engagement as a goal. Help customers navigate toward answers they will eventually pay for.
28. Sharing Articles Works
The way I use Facebook to promote my business is to post links and brief descriptions of articles that are of interest to my readers. Originally, I fought using Facebook, but when I realized how many visitors to my site came from Facebook, I gave in. Now, I share articles on Facebook before I post anything on other social media sites.
29. Relationships Matter!
Do NOT sell on Facebook! Using it as a means to trumpet your services to everyone will likely alienate your potential clients and customers. Instead, invest time in building relationships - have conversations with your following in an attempt to truly help them and let them get to know you. Making that kind of connection means that when they're ready to buy, they'll come to you because they feel like they know you! Back that up with a great product/service and you'll have customers for life!
30. Personable, Not Personal
Keep your Facebook page PERSONABLE, but not PERSONAL. The people who visit my Facebook page aren't interested in what I had for breakfast, how long I worked out, or what movie I plan to see this weekend. They want and expect Bargainomics-related information: what the latest online bargain is, a fabulous travel deal, and things like that. I generally post no more than four times a day. I keep the tone light and friendly, but I don't waste people's time yammering about my personal life.
31. Get Them into Your Email List
Depends a bit on what your business is, but my testing has shown Facebook advertising is most effective when you are directing people to sign up for a mailing list on your FB page instead of a direct sell situation. Offer them a free report or discount to sign up, and then you can send them your messages via an autoresponder and build a relationship with them over time. People typically do not like to be sold directly to on Facebook - but again, that depends on your niche somewhat.
32. Post Fresh, Fun Content
Post fresh, fun exclusive content on Facebook that can't be found on your website, blog, or Twitter updates. Make it funny, interesting, or coupon/discount related. This gives people a reason to "like" you!
33. Best Ways to Use Facebook
Post 3 times a day- 2 with business tips and 1 personal. On the personal one, add a video of YouTube that is informational or humorous. People often respond to moving visual offerings when also reading a post. Also "Like" the postings of others and add events once a week. If you offer information in your business, create a free teleseminar and post it as an event on Facebook. We do this for our online school- the Academy of Natural Healing. Link your twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts.
34. Be Helpful
When posting on your Facebook page, be helpful. In other words, post information and links to good information (or even motivational quotes or something like that) as the majority of your posts. Every now and then, you can slip in a marketing entry, an offer for a product or whatever. If you do it too often, they'll just "unlike" you or remove you from their feed. If they like what you post, they'll pay more attention to it and are more likely to be interested in the links that make you money.
35. Put Your Best Face On!
Whatever your profession is, you will connect with people in your own profession. Reach out to other people everywhere. Some of their friends are in your type of business. You never know. Do not limit your horizon. Meet as many people as you can. There can be a great business deal with someone who is not in your same business. A Joint-Venture could be the start of something new and very big. Try it... Life is a Great Adventure!
Kathy Wensel - Author/Speaker/TV Host (All About Freedom)
36. Reach for the Fans!
We use our page to engage with other like-minded pages, which in turn give us exposure to their fan base.
For example, responding to a cute photo at the local dog rescue helps us reach out to their dog-loving fan base that may not know we exist. They see our comment or "like" and it gives them the ability to click on our fan page and like us as well.
37. Find the RIGHT Assistance
Facebook can best be leveraged to improve business when interviewing and assessing potential hires (virtual, on-site, or employees). Determine the 'fit' for the organization:
* Assess skills & abilities
* Resume – verify education & experience
* Reference checks – at least 3
* Public information – use Facebook to see who it is that you're hiring, to see if they are a fit for your organization. Google them. See what’s available publicly, up to 3-5 pages deep.
38. Another Connection Platform
Facebook has been useful as another platform for connecting with my target audience. First, they like my business, then they engage in conversation through posting questions, polls and blog posts, then they sign-up for my newsletter and then, they take the plunge and become a customer. It does not always follow this trajectory though.
39. Pest Control Tips via Facebook
With thousands of Facebook friends, I used it to educate and thank my customers. With much hype and misinformation in the news regarding bedbugs and pest control, Facebook is a perfect place to share links from my blog and others that give tips on prevention and to dispel tall tales.
I also acknowledge milestones in the lives of my customers: new babies, grandchildren, games, graduation, anniversaries and weddings. Customers love it when I share their good news with others. It shows they matter.
40. Provide Content, Not Pitches
The key to running a successful Facebook page is to avoid being sales-y. Instead of providing your sales pitch, your posts should be filled with valuable content for your target audience. This includes "Top 10 tips", solutions to problems and relevant industry articles. If your posts are all about "you, you, you" no one is going to bother reading them.
41. It's About Them
In any sales, it is always about them, the buyer, and not you, not your product, and not how great you are. Focus on FB content that causes your customers/prospects to think about their situation. Pose stories/articles that provide insight and then pose questions. Get a person thinking and they will begin to take action. No action on their part means no sales. Think about your own buying. You need to think in order to purchase; so does your customer. Things about you only build credibility, not sales.
42. Share Some Facebook P.D.A.
I love Facebook for network building! Whether giving an individual shout-out, or group hug, it’s the perfect platform for sharing P.D.A.’s (public displays of admiration) with those you appreciate, admire, or whose eye you wish to catch. My network has grown dramatically in the past 6 months through Facebook connections, which are leading to lucrative results for my business through partnerships, sales, and referrals. Can't beat it!
Facebook is for connecting with our clients and customers. It is a medium that puts a human face on the business - big or small. People like to do business with people. Our favorite restaurant is often our favorite server. We walk into a business and ask "Is Sam here today?" With all the technology we live with today - all the barriers to interacting as one human to another - Facebook allows us through the electronic medium, to be "human" and make that connection.
44. Show Some Personality!
Be a person, not merely a company voice. Your ideal customers respond to a human connection and that's what Facebook does best! Share relevant photos from your company's daily business activities and events, giveaways if they work with your company model, and ask a lot of questions (daily or weekly) to encourage community interaction!
45. The Journey
Social Media: ''It's about how you can engage the other person to feel they are personally on the journey with you.''
46. Let Your Fans Do the Work
Get out of the way and let people who like your company or content do the promotion for you. Integrating social sharing functionality and creating truly interesting content on your website will go a long way in promoting your brand. When people participate, it's crucial to show them how much you appreciate them. This can be something simple like a thank you in the comments or something over the top like throwing a party for all your fans who have said something nice about your brand.
47. Stay Sane by Being Authentic
Share your true personality in Facebook so you don't have an internal dialogue battle. I tie in meme posts to social media tips. This allows potential customers to see my personality in 2-D because the real me is pretty effervescent. By staying true to who I am, even in business, I don't question a post or wonder if something is professional enough.
Suzanne Najbrt of Najbik
48. Get Your Brand Facebook Famous
Use Facebook photo albums to showcase your product/service in action with happy customers. Rules: Make the album short and sweet. Each picture should be compelling, so edit, edit, edit. Give a FULL description of your product/service in the album description section. Provide clickable links to your site under the pictures and in the album description. Lastly, respond to those who comment on your album and pictures in a timely manner, and use/hyperlink their name when you do.
49. Let Them Eat Cake!
Make it fun and remember that you are talking to people on their own time; reward their loyalty by giving away product when you can. I did a daily promotion in July - my slowest month - and gave away a free cookie or slice of cake each day. My business was up 30 percent that month as a result!
50. Resource is Key
Posting resources for other friends is a great way to improve business. I post networking events, conference, lectures, articles on marketing, advertising and promotion. This helps people grow their business and also helps people to see you as a valuable resource.
51. Facebook = Branding = Cash!
Customers work with people they Know, Like and Trust.
Build your brand online and work toward getting your Facebook community of potential customers, today or in the future, to know you, trust you and like you. Give to them and they will give to you. Don't hard sell, but use your knowledge, expertise and WIIFT (what's in it for them) that in turn will allow them to engage you.
This is not as easy as it sounds, but find an expert to help you and you can define a strategy that is dead on.
52. About Face...
Leverage Facebook to communicate clear, consistent messaging/branding about your company/service. It's a conversation - so talk to your target market creatively, insightfully and respectfully. They're listening...
53. Your FB Page is a Mini Website
Treat your Facebook Welcome Page (using iFrames) like a website.
Have on it something they get for free only AFTER they LIKE the page, such as an eBook or Audio.
Include a video on it welcoming people to your Fan Page and guide them through what you want them to do, e.g. LIKE the page, download your eBook, and then go comment on your wall.
Make sure there are links to your website and all your other social media profiles so they can get to know you more.
Make it a portal to YOU.
54. Facebook Sales are Easy
I currently manage more than three dozen fan pages, and have tried a lot of things in the past few years, but the one consistent way I've been able to generate sales for my clients is through incentives. Coupons are one of the best incentives at driving sales. Moreover, coupons, or coupon codes make it very easy to track your ROI.
All of my clients that use incentives have much better results than the ones that do not.
55. Trickle Down "Likes" Effect
Increase your visibility by asking questions of your fans that are unrelated to your business. Questions about news, books, movies, their accomplishments, etc., easily engage an audience to click and respond. Once that user responds, a "friend" will see it and may "like" your page. This will generate buzz around your FB page. Now, you have a sort of trickle-down effect. A user "liking" your page just because they have something to add is a potential client or sale.
56. Care Enough to Make it Live
On Facebook, we refer to the people who we're connected to as either "friends" (for our profiles) or "fans" (for our pages).
However, we seldom actually talk to or get know our friends and fans. They are voiceless names and photos we send one or two sentence messages to on occasion.
How about actually contacting the people we're connected to on Facebook and setting up a time to talk on the phone? Remember, live connections are proven to be a powerful business building method.
57. Fan Pages Work for Businesses
The most important tip when using Facebook for your business is to understand the difference between a fan page and a personal page. For your business, you always want to use a fan page.
Don’t just post quotes from dead authors or what you had for lunch today. No one cares! And don’t try to sell your fans something every post. All this says is, “I am not original and all you mean to me is the next sale you make with me.”
Be human, original, entertaining, add value and interact.
58. Build a Virtual Community!
My friend Cristin and I started a project called "Project 555." The idea: write 555 words per day for 90 days. This will result in almost 50,000 words, more than enough for a book. We created a Facebook group for other people interested in taking on the same challenge.
It's been just over 60 days since we started. This hasn't generated immediate bottom-line impact, but I am confident that this can only help my business over the long haul. Business is about relationships, after all.
59. The FaceBook Photo Gallery
Say you're a small biz- you manufacture and sell a breakthrough reusable non-invasive holistic earplug offering quick comfort for migraine headaches and hangovers (See EarCooler.com). Retail space is costly for niche products. BUT FaceBook is the perfect place to launch that item. Start excitement with blogging, set up photo galleries of products and get followers to join in the fun by starting contests, trivia about the product and product need. Post Youtubes. Ask friends to go viral for you.
60. It's About THEM, Not You!
Make your Facebook Business Page about Them. Too many businesses use their Facebook page as billboards instead of communities. In the world of Facebook, you have to engage way before you promote. And the best way to engage people is to talk in terms of their interests. Before you hit send, ask yourself, will my audience find this interesting, funny, or valuable? If not, consider changing your message.
61. When Bigger isn't Better
If you've ever set up an ad campaign on Facebook, you may have felt intoxicated by the ability to reach millions of consumers. Resist the urge. Instead, focus on targeting through interests, demographics and geographics. This is especially important if you are local or just starting out. Shouting down the Facebook well is far less effective than culling a select group with a dramatically better chance of making a purchase. Take an iterative approach and be prepared to retool based on response.
62. Recipe for Success
One of our happiest clients has built a premium spirit folio and thousands of fans (e.g., CRUZaders) by consistently adding cocktail, as well as entrée recipes to the company page on Facebook. Naturally, the ingredients list includes their hand crafted spirits along with the events, fundraisers et al., but the recipes have been a unique way to reach a diverse and tasteful audience.
63. Give Consumers a Voice
Give consumers a voice in your business – start with a survey. Your survey should 1) invite users to contribute and/or chime in, 2) acknowledge their contributions and ask questions, and 3) demonstrate user input/ideas at your place of business.
A simple (and satisfying) example is my experience following a frozen yogurt shop on Facebook who asks users what new flavor combinations they’d like to see. If my suggested flavor were to be featured at the shop, I’d be sure to visit!
Do you know another tip that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!