Traditional advertising methods, including television, print ads and radio are, these days, littered with pleas for us, the consuming public, to “Like” a business on Facebook. The social media giant is everywhere and there’s no doubting its influence on our buying habits.

Proper usage of a business Facebook page will enable an interaction with a businesses’ customers and this can revolutionize its profile, its customer base and revenue. But can new businesses take advantage of the social revolution just as well as the big boys? The answer is yes, and the relative benefits can be way greater.

Facebook page creation

Cover the basics well and you will be rewarded.

  • Visually attractive – Facebook users are drawn to interesting images and illustrations. High-quality pictures will carry a message more effectively than any amount of text. Change the banner picture often to keep visitors returning for a glimpse.
  • Clear “call to action” – The landing page should contain a “call to action” graphic that draws the attention of first-time visitors. More “Likes” will occur if the graphic carries a meaningful message. Hide certain features that are available only to those who “Like” the page.
  • Investigate similar businesses – Prior to creating the page, find the Facebook pages that belong to local competitors and similar businesses in larger cities. Make some notes about the best and worst features on each page.
  • Use “sharing” option – An effective network of Facebook fans will grow exponentially when the “Invite Your Friends” Box is visible on the landing page. Allow fans to do the networking for the business.
  • Open purchase capability – The same products that are available on the business website should be available for purchase through the Facebook page. Two streams of sales will increase monthly revenue.
  • Create synergy – Link the business Facebook page to the company website and vice versa. Be sure to use the option to open a new tab or window so the customer does not lose contact with the Facebook session when visiting the website.

Reach out to others

Anyone who opens a business wonders if customers will come through the doors. The creation of a business Facebook page is equally daunting and you need to commit to continually developing it as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t. Use whatever tools you have …

  • Friends on personal page – A business owner and employees with personal Facebook pages can invite existing friends to visit the business page.
  • Ask friends to help – “Word of mouth” takes on a new meaning in the social media realm. Requests of friends will create a cascade effect that brings remarkable quantities of traffic to the page.
  • Online ads – All business ads posted on various websites can be redirected to the Facebook page until the fan base is established. Links on the business website homepage will drive more traffic to the website.
  • Traditional advertising – Business cards, letterheads, invoices and TV and radio ads must contain calls to “Like” the business on Facebook.

Engage the audience

Once the fan base begins to grow, the Facebook page must become useful to the fans to sustain the traffic level on the page. A constant stream of worthless marketing messages will not achieve the desired results. Every business has useful goods and services that draw customers. Useful and relevant information around the wider industry and about the business offering itself is a great basis for the Facebook page.

  • Create reference entries – Questions asked by customers can be answered in a “reference section” that will provide valuable insight. Proper use of a product can be documented for anyone to read on the company Facebook page.
  • Embrace interaction – Two-way communication makes social networking a powerful instrument for the business owner. The time required to respond to questions and inquiries is saved since so many people will read the responses. The telephone will ring less often if the Facebook page is utilized correctly.
  • Accept criticism gracefully – Negative comments are public but so are the responses. Every effort must be made to answer with respect and dignity. Complainers rarely contact the business directly. Deletion of the negative comments will cause undesirable results.

The Facebook difference

Social media offers a new dimension in advertising that has been lacking for decades: the ability to reveal the true heart of the business. Consumer trust rests on knowledge about the performance of the business. Reliable products and superior services are favoured by consumers, so the business must display the ways the company differs from competitors.

Customer comments on the Facebook page will provide great referral business. As the Facebook page evolves, add the features that work well for the specific business. Remove the clutter and listen carefully to the comments posted. Effective Facebook pages evolve over time as the conversation expands and more people join.