10 ways you can use facebook to help your business

Facebook is not just for keeping tabs on friends and playing games. It can also be used as a highly effective business tool. It is great for marketing your products and connecting with your customers.

This is a list of 10 things you can do on Facebook to promote your business. Hope you enjoy reading this article and benefit your business from the tips below.

1. Create a professional Facebook profile

This is the very first thing you need to do. Create a professional Facebook profile. Your Facebook profile is like your second home page or resume. If you plan to use Facebook to create business relationships and support your professional business image, then your profile has to look professional and business ready.

I have written another article on how to make your Facebook profile ready for professional networking, I advise you to read that article for more information on creating a professional Facebook profile.

2. Expand your network

Everybody uses social networks today, and Facebook is the largest social network site with the biggest number of users. At the time of writing this article, Facebook has over 350 million active users. Chances are, most of the people you know and do business with already have a Facebook profile. In addition to having your friends and family on your Facebook profile, ask you clients and business acquaintances to add you on Facebook.

Some professionals even add their Facebook link on their business cards to make it easy for anyone they do business with to add them on Facebook. Before you do that, make sure you get a username from Facebook so your profile link would look something like “www.facebook.com/yourname” instead of a sixteen digit link. You can get your Facebook username from your settings page.

The bigger your network, the more visible you are on Facebook. On average, according to Facebook, each user has around 150-250 users connected to them. Whenever you post something on a friend’s wall, all his or her friends can see it. So, if have 200 connected to you, your reach potential is 200X150 = 30,000 people. I think you get the idea.

3. Use groups to get noticed

Groups are a great way to connect and network with other people with common interests. Look for groups that are related to your line of business. If you own a flower business for example, then you can join groups that are involved in flowering in your area.

Don’t just join these groups, participate in the discussions and contribute with useful tips, content and information that will add value to other group members. With time, others will start to ask you for advice on your field of expertise and you will build a professional image for yourself as an expert in your field.

If you want to take things to the next level, then you can create your own group on your line of business. Share useful information and help others with their questions. Invite people to your group and ask them to invite other people that are interested in your group topic.

These two options are not mutually exclusive, participate in other groups and operate your own group. You will find it very rewarding for personal branding and once you establish yourself as an expert in your field, people will want to do business with you.

Just make sure that your posts are not always promoting your business, if you have something you think will benefit them like a new product or service, do talk about it, but don’t make the bulk of your posts about you. People don’t care about you, they want to solve and satisfy their own needs, so, if you were in the flower business, they don’t want to know how fresh your flowers are, they want to know what flowers to get on what occasion or how to decorate flowers or how to extend the natural life cycle of a bouquet.

If you keep your content interesting to other people, you will get them interested in you.

4. Create a Fan Page

A fan page is a great way to promote your business. If you have a business of any shape or size, it would be one of the first things I would recommend to anybody trying to engage in social media. Fan pages are very easy to manage, great for publishing content such as photos and videos and have great analytics built in.

Facebook fan pages are (in a way) very similar to profile pages, you can add albums, posts, discussions, articles and news about your business. It’s a great way to promote your business online and build a fan base.

5. Create and manage your events on Facebook

If you have events, Facebook is a great way to invite people to your events. It also gives you great exposure on your friends’ network. Facebook events are very easy to create and manage. If it is an open event, say a gallery opening, you can allow your guests to invite other people on their network too, which greatly expands your reach and make your events visible beyond your network.

Next time you have an event, in addition to sending traditional invitations through mail or emails, try creating an event on Facebook and see the results.

6. Update your status periodically

When you change your status update, your status appears on your friends’ news feed, the more active you are on Facebook, the more visible you are.

Having that said, don’t just add any status update for the sake of updating your status, it has to be something interesting and relevant to your network. I know people who change their update status 10 times a day with things like “I’m watching TV” and then “done watching TV” a couple of hours later, then “going to sleep” half an hour later. You don’t need to advertise that kind of details about you.

Instead, you can include famous quotes that are insightful and interesting, if you do that once a day, then people will wait for your status update to see what you will write next.

The point is, be interesting and relevant. You can write business related updates like “working on the xyz deal”, “xyz trade show is in town, go visit for the latest industry products” or “xyz published a new industry report”.

7. Share links about your business

If you have a blog with interesting articles about your industry, share them on Facebook. Or if you are reading a magazine article that has something interested in your industry, share it.
If you keep posting in interesting content that is useful for other people in your network, they will value your links and updates and look at you as a source of knowledge, this is the kind of image you want to reflect as a business professional.

8. Integrate your website and blog with your Facebook profile or fan page

This is the next level of social media. Integrating your website and Facebook profile or fan page is the natural progression of your social media efforts. You place your homepage on your Facebook profile and vice versa.

The way I see it, there are three levels to use your website to promote your social network, I will place them in term of difficulty from beginner to advanced, here they are:

Beginner:

Place your Facebook profile and fan page links on your website. This is very easy to do, all you need to do is to place an image for your Facebook badge and link that image to your Facebook profile or fan page.

It takes very little technical knowledge to do this and is the easiest way to get your website visitors to add you on Facebook or become fans on your fan page.

Intermediate:

Link your blog to your Facebook profile or fan page. If you have a blog and have RSS feeds on your blog, then you can import all your new posts you’re your blog to automatically get displayed into your Facebook profile or fan page wall.

You can do this through Facebook notes, an application on Facebook that is used to write articles, blogs or just share your thoughts. An important feature of the notes applications is the ability to import RSS feeds.

If your website supports RSS feeds, then go to notes, click on “import from a blog”, add your rss feed url and voila! All your blog posts are now in your Facebook profile or fan page and they will appear on all your friends’ or fans’ news feeds.

Advanced:

If you are looking for tight integration between your Facebook fan page and your website, then you can consider using Facebook connect. Facebook connect is an API (application programming interface) published by Facebook that allows your website to access information from your fan page without them having to actually go to Facebook.

Some of the things you can do with Facebook connect, is have your visitors become fans on your fan page, they can also share links from your website and post them into their profile, and one of my favorites, they can update their status to something like “I’m reading this interesting article on www.yourwebsite.com” and link to the page they are actually reading. All without having to leave your website.

To integrate Facebook connect on your site, you will probably need to hire a developer to program these cool features into your website as they need someone with good technical knowledge to be able to implement them. However, the investment is totally worth it in my opinion.

9. Gain feedback from your customers

One of the key objectives of social media marketing is starting conversations with your audience. Formal marketing research for a small business s is expensive, time consuming and needs a lot of resources. Besides that, people don’t want to fill up surveys and questionnaires that will take 10-15 minutes of their time.

Use your Facebook to ask simple questions to your fans or friends and get them to comment on your service, product quality or brand. It’s a great way to gain great insight on your customer needs without having to lose a fortune.

10. Research your competitors

Looking at your competitors’ websites will give you “formal” information on their products and services, but researching your competitors’ fan pages will give far greater insight into what people are saying about them and what they are communicating back to those fans.

Understanding how your competition works gives you a great advantage to stand out and be different from the crowd.
Well, here they are! 10 things you can do to benefit your business. While I am sure there are more things you can do on Facebook to benefit your business, I listed my top 10.

If you think people in your network will be interested in reading this article, share it on Facebook or your preferred social networks.

I’d love to hear how you used any of these points to benefit your own business and how it worked out for you. Or if you have other tips you think readers would be interested in, post it in the comments so everyone can benefit.

Responses (2)

Omar Ahmed

January 27, 2010 06:33

Cool! there were a couple of things there I never knew about facebook…

Reply

    Rami Taher

    January 28, 2010 12:09

    Glad you found it useful! More to come, keep checking back…

    Reply

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