Small business owners mistakenly think they need a lot of time, money and resources to get online and start using social media like Facebook. But it doesn't require a full-time social media coordinator, or much of a budget, if any to started.
The adage “keep it simple” goes a long way with Facebook. Below are ten ways for small businesses to maximize their presence on Facebook with minimum resources.
Set realistic goals for your approach to social media and you won’t be disappointed. Don’t expect to get thousands of fans within your first month of getting on Facebook. Think more along the lines of a two or three digit number. Then, when you hit something larger than you originally anticipated, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and that will give you momentum.
Cultivating a Facebook presence doesn’t have to be a full-time job, and it doesn't need to eat up all your free time. Try to set aside an hour a day to work on your business’s page, post updates and communicate directly with customers and fans.
Learn as much as you can
Take notes based on your experiences with Facebook’s pages and other business services — at the very least, write down notes about things you don’t understand so you can research them up later. You’ll find just about anything you need to know within Facebook's s official help centre. There are also other great help articles/resources on Google Search.
Start with a small budget
It is possible to promote your business on Facebook without spending anything via word-of-mouth and referrals. At some point you might decide to buy advertising on Facebook, but resist the temptation to overspend. If you do decide to spend on Facebook Ads, you’re better off starting out doing small test ads to see what kind of performance you get for your money, and then ramp it up when you figure out which demographics and keywords you want to target.
Create a page, not a profile
Don’t open a second account on Facebook to make a profile for your business. Not only does that go against Facebook’s rules but it also moves you one degree of separation away from the people who are already on your friend list. These folks are the first people you want to invite to become fans of your business’s page.
Post cool status updates
Make your profile work for your page by posting witty status updates that encourage your friends to engage with your Facebook business page. Apply that same sense of wit to the goal of one post per day to your page’s wall. If you can phrase it as a question, so much the better, because that will encourage responses from your community.
Have one-on-one conversations
Send a thank you and personalised message right after someone clicks “like” on your page. Make a point of responding to messages and wall posts within 24 hours. Pay careful attention to what fans tell you on your page and try to respond to their needs.
People have gotten pretty tired of mass messaging and excessive numbers of posts filling up news feeds — don’t contribute to this noise and fans will appreciate it. When you have something to say to your followers, put it on your wall, not in their inboxes.
Create coupons and promotions
Discounts for first-time customers really work toward generating repeat business. But don’t limit the promotions to the first time someone engages with your company, lest they lose interest. Periodically put special offers or promotions that they can only access as a Facebook fan in order to keep people coming back. By creating a special code for your fans, you can also track the number of bookings that come through from Facebook.
Get your fans to check-in when they arrive at your business. You can even give a small gift when customers check-in, for example, a voucher for their next visit, bottle of wine etc. When customers check-in, their friends and family will see the status update on their wall, which will help increase your business' exposure.