If your business is online, the bulk of your marketing efforts should also be online — particularly in the social media space. Social networks like Facebook give online business operators the opportunity to interact directly with their customers. Facebook also offers a number of tools to customize your marketing campaign for an audience that’s already comfortable online.
The following article assumes that you’ve already set up a Facebook Page for your business. Once you’ve got your page up and running, here’s how you can use Facebook to effectively promote your online business.
Obtain Your Vanity URL
You want to make your Facebook Page as easy as possible for your customers to find. One way to do that is by obtaining a vanity URL, such as “facebook.com/yourbusinessname.” Having a tidy URL for your Facebook Page will make it easier for people to find and share your content with their friends.
To change your Facebook URL, you need a minimum amount of Likes (currently 25). Once you’ve attained 25 or more Likes from your fans, click the “Edit Page” link from your Facebook Page to make the adjustment to your URL. Alternatively, you can go to facebook.com/username and change the vanity URL for your own personal account, or your Facebook Page.
Promote Your Sales and Incentives
There are a number of ways you can use your Facebook Page to get the word out about your online promotions. First of all, you can post the news of your sales or incentives to your Facebook Wall. With a wall post, you can post a message, a photo, a link, or a video. By default, Facebook Pages will direct your customers to your wall when they surf to your page, but there are many applications available to customize the look and feel of your main page.
Applications such as Wildfire and Involver allow you to create Facebook Landing Pages, which are much more engaging to an audience that’s used to the online experience. Like any good website, however, it’s advisable to keep your messaging concise and clear; customers will quickly move on if your promotion is not easy to understand.
Coupon apps are also available. You can reserve a space on your page for the latest promotions. Some of these apps will allow you to set up your page so that customers can unlock coupons or discounts when they Like your page.
Target Your Audience with Facebook Ads
When you first launch your Facebook Page, it can be a bit of a slow climb to get a decent fan base. Consider advertising with Facebook Ads as a means to get more fans. Facebook Ads offer many customizations to campaigns; you can really target your audience and find your likeliest customers. Once you’ve grown your fan base, Facebook Ads become a great way to spread the news about your products and promotions.
If you need some help getting started, refer to our article How to Create Facebook Ads for Your Business.
Engage and Interact
Social networks like Facebook have become the easiest place for your customers to give you feedback, ask questions, and just have a conversation about your business. Once you’ve opened the Facebook flood gates, you have to be able to embrace both the good and the bad.
Resist the temptation to prune the commentary on your page, keeping only the best things people say about your brand. Instead, deal with all of the issues as they arise. Tackling negative feedback with customers shows that you’re listening, and that you’re transparent. Of course, keep up with the positive commentary on your Facebook Page as well. Dole out “thank-yous” and appropriate comments when people share anecdotes about your product.
Have a Content Strategy
Besides keeping up with the commentary from your fans, you’ll need to have a strategy around what to share in a forum like Facebook. One great thing about Facebook is that you can try updating your page in a number of ways to see what works best. Perhaps your fans tend to be less engaged with links than they are with the photos, or maybe they really respond to discounts and promotions. Try a variety of content strategies, and evaluate the feedback on an on-going basis.
Another thing to consider is how often you post. Maybe you can get away with multiple posts per day on Twitter, but perhaps you’ll need to be a little more conservative on Facebook. Use tools to track Facebook engagement, and adjust your content accordingly.
Do you have an online business on Facebook? What are your success stories? Please share in the comments below.
Jessica McLaughlin: Jessica is a digital media professional in Toronto, Canada with broad experience in web—particularly social media, online communities, content development and blogging. Jessica has worked for many major Canadian broadcasters, including YTV, Food Network, and HGTV.