You can set-up a Facebook business page in seconds. But, should you?
Lately, several small business owners have shared their Facebook frustrations with me. Many of their frustrations stem from a lack of planning on the front-end of the process.
There is far more to developing a social media presence for a business than setting up your profile and making status updates. In fact, it’s dangerously easy to create a Facebook page. It is dangerous because you can find yourself facing a negative—and potentially viral–public relations situation in seconds.
To ensure you start your Facebook business page off on the right track, try these 5 steps.
1) Have a strategy
It’s important to think through your posting guidelines and the goals for your page, especially if you are delegating the posting to someone else. Some of the questions you will want to answer are:
- Do you want to endorse other businesses and community organizations? If you do (it is a good idea!), do you want to be selective about who you promote? Some social service agencies are very political in nature.
- How will you handle negative remarks or complaints?
- Do you want to use the page to generate sales, leads, or just create awareness?
2) Inform and protect your customers
Make sure you clearly tell people the key information in the “About” section (business name, industry, address, phone number, and short description). Don’t leave your wall open to the wild, wild, west. Develop community guidelines for your fans so you can delete inappropriate content without coming across like a dictator and protect yourself from any liability. Your guidelines can be as simple and short as a few sentences. If you are in a heavily regulated industry, or have an audience that is more adult you may want to create a line-by-line list of Do’s and Don’ts.
3) Proactively drive traffic—don’t wait for drive-bys
Hang your sign up on the information highway and add your Facebook direct link to your website and online business listings (e.g. Google Places). Offline make it easy for people to join your page by using a QR code, a bar code that enables people to take a photo with their Smartphone to go directly to your page. You can create a QR code for free. You can add the QR code the same way you put any image on your business card, brochures, or ads.
4) Make Friends—it’s not all about you
A successful Facebook business page strives for engagement—quality of conversation versus thousands of “Likes.” Of course, we all want millions of “Likes” but it is more realistic for a small business to hundreds or a few thousand. Your page is a way for you to generate online buzz, which helps retain customers and attract new customers. To get the conversation started, send a special invitation via email to your customers and friends, invite your newsletter subscribers, and seek out your business partners. When anyone joins your page, reach out and talk to them directly on their page. Promote your fans’ interests and they will more than likely promote your business.
5) Create calls to action using other Facebook features—Get results
Unlike a personal page, a business’ Facebook page is about the bottom-line. It’s a great way to generate leads and for some, actual revenue. Rotate your cover photos and use them to promote different services or to link to more information on your website. You can also create sub-pages and expand your information or set-up a form to capture information. Sub-pages are a great way to add your catalog, display a library of videos, list business accreditations, or to provide a coupon to drive traffic to your website or brick and mortar store.