FaceBook Fan Pages
One of the powerful considerations about using a Social Media web site is the fact that most of them provide a level playing field when it comes to small business owners vs the big boys. For instance, you can build a Facebook Fan page for your offline business and so can a major automobile manufacturer. Within those Facebook Fan pages, both you and the multi billion dollar car maker have the same tools and resources.
In addition, you must keep in mind that things change on the Internet, sometimes at breakneck speed. As an example, between March 2011 and May 2011, Facebook implemented some major changes which changed the whole landscape of using it for business. Suddenly, controlling the content on a business Fan Page and using product images to build a brand became game changers… for those who knew how to do it!
With all of that in mind, at the current time, I consider Facebook to be the Social Media site most likely to be compatible with the majority of offline businesses and their needs.
Facebook Marketing for Small Business
Facebook’s membership has exploded and is currently greater than 500 million, according to its own website.
As part of the Facebook mechanism, possible Friends are suggested to you, based on Friends that you and the other person have in common. While you can do searches, it is hard to find and befriend a person that Facebook doesn’t think you should know. On the other hand, Facebook makes suggestions that will extend your network, based simply on friends you may have in common with someone.
Another important mechanism is the Facebook Like option, which has now been extended beyond Facebook Profile pages and Facebook Fan Pages and out into the web at large.
A third and exceedingly important Facebook mechanism is the ability to link between websites, Facebook Fan Pages, and Twitter accounts. This can be done with a variety of website creation software options. At the moment, I am encouraging my clients to use the blogging software, WordPress, for non blog websites.
With WordPress as your website management system, once you have signed up for the Networked Blogs Facebook App(lication), you can set your website to show any changes on your Facebook Fan Page and your Twitter account. Your Twitter Account can be set to show Facebook Fan Page Comments along with Posts from your WordPress website. In addition, your Tweets will be displayed on your Facebook Fan Page and your website.
Now, I know that the previous paragraph was confusing so let me give you the abridged edition! In my example, you have three web presences for your business – A Facebook Fan Page, a website built with WordPress, and a Twitter account. Any Post made on one of those three sites will automatically appear on the other two sites.
This is VERY powerful and is a REAL time and energy saver IF you take the time to plan your web marketing strategies with this capacity in mind!
With the potential of getting a three to one benefit from any of your Social Networking posts, as described above, let me go a bit deeper into the opportunities afforded to an offline business by having a Facebook Fan Page.
NOTE – It is important to understand that while a Facebook Fan Page can be considered a potential web site substitute, it offers long term hazards that, in my opinion, are not worth the risk.
Building your business’s primary web presence on a third party web site is taking the time, effort, and money to build a nice new house on land that you DO NOT OWN! You might be OK in the short term, but later down the road, you may lose you house, simply because you do not own the land.
While you may decide that it is efficient to start with a Facebook Fan Page, you should also plan to build your own website ASAP! As a business owner, you should be careful to own and control as many of your business assets as possible.
With that warning out of the way, before utilizing any Social Media site for your Social Media Marketing, take the time to read the site’s ToS or Terms of Service. Do NOT assume that you know what is allowed and what is not.
As an example, you may have multiple Twitter accounts, but each account must be tied to a different email address. Any email address can have only ONE Twitter account.
With Facebook, any human is allowed ONLY ONE ACCOUNT! This means that any Facebook Fan Pages built for any businesses will be offshoots of your primary, personal Facebook account.
If for some reason, you do not want a Facebook Fan Page to be obviously tied to your personal account, you can set the Privacy setting to obscure the connection. In the case of most offline businesses, this would not be a concern. However, I have a number of online businesses, some of which I am open about and others that I have chosen to run from behind the scenes. There is nothing questionable about doing this, I just prefer to keep the connection quiet to minimize others copying my business model. However, ALL of my business Facebook Fan Pages are offshoots of my SINGLE personal Facebook account.
Part of the evolution of the Facebook Culture is that, in most instances, it is considered appropriate to ask other members to share with their Friends about your Facebook Fan Page or your new post or any of a number of other Facebook interactions. This is markedly different from other websites and their culture, and as a business owner, it is a powerful tool.
It is perfectly OK to ask others to LIKE your Facebook Fan Page. In fact, this can be an important traffic builder for your Facebook Fan Page!
To find out how we can help you build your FaceBook Fan Page and implement a Social Media Marketing plan for you and your business, contact me in the following ways: