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Facebook has over a billion active users. This number is sometimes disputed due to factors such as multiple accounts, but it’s safe to say that Facebook is the dominant social media site right now. The only close competitor is Twitter, and that has its own format so it isn’t even really a direct competitor. The question is, with so many people using Facebook, how can you effectively market your business on this site?
The Challenge and Opportunity of Facebook Marketing
Facebook marketing is definitely a huge opportunity, but there are also some obstacles to overcome. On the one hand, you have a huge potential audience, more than any business could possibly need. On the other hand, it can be difficult to target your specific market and connect with them.
Critics of social media marketing often point out that people spend time on sites like Facebook to socialize and be entertained, not to buy things. There is some truth to this, which is why it’s often difficult to try to sell directly on Facebook. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t indirect ways to communicate with your potential customers and let them know about your website, product, service or business.
Another challenge that some businesses face is figuring out exactly which features to use on Facebook. There are personal profiles, business pages and groups, for example. There is also the question of whether to use Facebook’s paid advertising platform. Let’s look at some of the most effective strategies for gaining a following on Facebook and converting your followers into customers.
Making the Most of Your Facebook Page
First of all, you should have a separate page for your business. If you have a personal profile, you should set up a new page for marketing. This gives you the opportunity to accumulate “likes” for your page. You can, of course, invite your Facebook friends to like your new page (assuming you are already active on Facebook -if not, you can still start from scratch).
Getting followers to your facebook page is one of your first goal. These will be people who will see your posts and hopefully share some of them. They may also visit your website and become your customers. Here are some tips to help you optimize your page.
- Use Appealing Images -this includes your cover photo. You can show off some of your best products on your page. Make sure the images you use look good and that the layout is attractive.
- Choose the Right Category -This makes it easier for people to find you on Facebook.
- Fill Out Your Profile Completely -This is a chance for you to describe your business and everything you do. Fill out as many fields as you can, using any relevant keywords you can think of.
- Post Frequently – It’s very important to maintain a consistent presence on Facebook. Not all of your posts have to be long, but people have to see that you are taking an active interest in your page.
- Respond to Feedback -When you get questions or comments, respond in a timely and friendly manner. You should even respond to criticism or complaints (unless it’s simply spam or people trolling).
- Make Your Page Interactive -Remember that Facebook is still a social network, which is why it’s essential to keep your page interactive. Encourage people to participate by asking questions and perhaps holding contests.
How to Make Your Page an Effective Marketing Tool
You want your page to be as active as possible. For a while, Facebook used an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine how important individual pages were -analogous to Google’s ranking system.
Earlier in 2013, Facebook announced that EdgeRank was no longer being used. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t similar factors that can make your page more popular. It just means that there is no precise formula to memorize.
- Advertise on Facebook – Paid ads can be a way to get attention to your page quickly. Research shows that the most effective Facebook ads are ones that point to Facebook pages rather than external websites. The good thing about FB ads is that they can be precisely targeted according to geography, age, gender, income and interests.
- Connect Your Page and Website – You should post links to your website or blog on your Facebook page. Likewise, you should have Facebook (and possibly other social media) buttons on your web properties.
- Use Facebook For List Building -You can have an opt-in form on your page to build an email list. Certain autoresponder services such as MailChimp offer apps to make it easy to set this up. You can offer incentives for people to sign up for you list, such as giving away a gift.
- Make Your Page Mobile Friendly – Since more and more people access the web from mobile devices, it’s important to make your page mobile friendly. For example, any apps you use on your page should be accessible to mobile users. You should consistently test your page and see how it appears on smart phones and other mobile devices.
Facebook is a Powerful Marketing Platform
There is a great deal of potential to use Facebook for marketing purposes. This isn’t something you can accomplish overnight, though. It takes steady effort to build your presence on a social network, get more followers and convert them into customers.
If you build a page, fill it with relevant and interesting content and stay in touch with your followers, you can use Facebook as a tool to help your business grow.