It’s rare to find a company these days which hasn’t set up a Facebook page. With the constant talk about the importance of social media marketing for smaller businesses, most people know that Facebook pages are something they need to be doing-they’re just not always sure how or why.
I had been using ettitude facebook page as a very important part of ettitude‘s whole marketing strategy and our facebook storefront had been featured in Mashable last year. So here are some of my thoughts to share with you.
Facebook itself hasn’t helped the situation by changing things up with irritating frequency. The switch over to timeline didn’t just affect personal profiles-a few months ago, pages were changed over to the new format as well. The fast moving social media landscape can make investing time and effort into your Facebook page a daunting task, but the opportunity it offers to connect with your customers is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. By following a few simple pointers, you can make your company’s Facebook page a productive-and fun-one.
· Make it look good. The introduction of timeline means you have a great big space across the top of your page to play with. The cover photo represents what Facebook pages should be all about-showing off your brands personality, rather than a hardsell. Facebook doesn’t allow text about special offers, call to actions such as ‘like this’, or pricing information, to be included as part of the cover photo. Instead, you want an eye catching image that tells your brand’s story in a picture. The shape of the cover means that some shots will work better than others here, so have a play around and experiment.
· Use Facebook’s features. Is there a promotion or special offer you want to stand out for your viewers? Hover over the top right of the post with your mouse and click the pencil. The ‘pin to top’ button will make sure that the post stays at the top of your page for a month. If you have a photo or video you want to show off, the ‘highlight’ option will stretch it across both columns of your page-perfect for eye catching images.
· Play by the rules. Facebook has regulations which all page managers need to follow, and unfortunately they’re not always as well publicised as they could be. We’ve already mentioned the rules for your cover image above, but one of the easiest ways to run afoul of Facebook is running a competition or promotion without adhering to their guidelines. By far the easiest way around this is to use a third party application (see below). Don’t be tempted to ignore these-you might think Facebook isn’t watching smaller businesses, but all it takes is one competitor to hit the ‘report’ button and your page is suspended-and speaking to someone at Facebook to get it back can be extremely difficult.
· Explore the added extras. The popularity of Facebook means that there are millions of third party apps out there to help you add extra functionality to your page. Whatever you want to do on Facebook, there is likely an app which will help you. Some of them are free to install, whilst others require payment, which can be up to thousands of dollars for companies. Increasingly popular are ‘freemium’ options, where you can sign up to a free plan for a limited time or with a restricted number of features, to try things out. If you choose to do this be sure to read the restrictions carefully to avoid an unexpected interruption in service.
Some of our favourite apps:
· Easy promos-great for running competitions. As we mentioned above, Facebook has very strict regulations about running promotions and the only realistic way to do it safely is to use a third party app. Easy Promos runs on a very affordable freemium model and allows you to run voting and photo contests.
· Punchtab-heaps of different options for rewarding loyal visitors to your page.
· Fan of the week-this app announces the person who has participated and commented the most as your ‘fan of the week’. You can offer a small prize for this-it’s a great way to get customers engaged.
· Coupon-as the name suggests, this allows you to add a coupon to your Facebook page
Finally, remember the purpose of your page. It’s easy to get carried away making a page look great, but you need to have a plan with clear goals in place. Do you want your customers to ask you questions? Comment on new products? Or do you just want regular engagement with your fans, to keep your brand foremost in their mind? Whatever your aim, it’s important that you plan how to work towards it-and how to measure your progress.