An estimated 74% of New Zealand adults have a personal Facebook presence. As so many of your potential customers are comfortable using Facebook in their personal lives, it just makes sense to have Facebook be a key part of your social media business presence and communication. A Facebook business page helps you to build your brand and increase the level of engagement and interaction with your customers. Facebook is also useful for creating the number of links and volume of traffic back to your website. Like any social media presence, it can take time and effort. The easiest way to build that engagement is to engage with others first – ask for likes and shares, include interactive icons (buttons) on your website and a link in your email signature.
The advantages of Facebook for your business
If you do set up your Facebook business page the right way and deliver real value to your customers then the benefits for your business in having its own Facebook page will be many:
- your customers can give you direct feedback – good and bad
- your customers feel they can connect with you in a medium that’s more informal
- it helps to spread your word-of-mouth advertising
- your customers feel as though you are actually listening to them and responding
- you have the opportunity to create a two-way discussion
- your fans become your unofficial online advocates and can help you increase your customer base
How a Facebook business page differs from a personal Facebook page
A Facebook business page is set up differently to a personal Facebook page – instead of writing your name and basing it on your personal interests and your friends it is instead based around your business strategy: promoting your company’s name, opening hours, location; and involves acquiring ‘fans’ rather than ‘friends’. The purpose is different as well. Instead of it being a social area where you can comment on your activities and what your friends have been posting and sharing it creates an opportunity for you to engage and talk with your customers. If you post something of value about your market, your industry or your product, you could find yourself attracting new prospective customers and have them become new ‘fans’. A business Facebook page’s content should be a place that should help your customer get ideas and a forum where you can offer tips and advice so that your customers additional value from visiting your Facebook business page in addition to your business website.
Talk with your customers in-depth and find out what they would consider valuable, make a plan to deliver that information whether it is directly relevant to your product or service or not. This presents a dual benefit in that you get to hear firsthand what your customers are thinking and it could give you ideas for what you could include in future articles on your website.
Less writing leads to more interaction
Research shows that the fewer words you use to communicate your message the better your chances of engagement. Just because Facebook allows you to use 60,000 characters to write – it doesn’t mean that you have to use them all. According to the research, people who write between 100 – 250 characters yield a 60% higher success rate with more people liking, sharing and commenting on Facebook posts than those posts which were written longer. Make sure that what you write is original and shows your customers that you have their best interests in mind – it doesn’t all have to be about pushing the latest promotion in your business. Use images, or even videos that are relevant to your business message. Give them something ‘extra’ they will find useful.
Why you need to join in the discussion
The most important element determining the overall success of your Facebook business page is ‘you’. It’s about what you write, what you do, what you post and the way in which you interact that delivers a powerful message to your customers. Your Facebook presence requires a certain investment of your time for it to be effective. You need to set aside at least an hour a day to build your fans and keep them interested and coming back for more. When you do and strike the right balance then the rewards will be apparent. Give your customers plenty of valuable original content which will attract and engage them.
If your content is genuine and engaging and your customers are liking, commenting and sharing your posts – then you’re onto a winner!
Do I need to have a personal Facebook profile before I can create a Facebook business page?
Each of the major social media networks have their own specific requirements in this regard but Yes! Facebook requires that you first create a personal Facebook profile (if you don’t already have one) – although in day-to-day use the personal and business presences can be kept very separate – so don’t worry, your customers won’t get to see your private family photos!