If you read the media, watch the news, and follow certain news outlets (blogs, etc.) you might think that any business that does not have a Facebook Fan Page is doomed. You might get the impression that Facebook fan pages make a lot of money and that every business should really jump on the bandwagon immediately. But is this hype about Facebook fan pages justified? Will your business need a fan page to succeed online?
I admit, I am offering the setup and creation of Facebook fan pages through my business (Net Services USA LLC) as well. Facebook can be a fun way to get marketing messages out and to connect with visitors and customers. But if you ask me to setup a fan page for your business I will ask certain questions about this project to make sure this endeavor is heading into the right direction. It is really important to determine why you would want a Facebook Fan Page in the first place. Do you need a fan page to better communicate and to better engage with your customers? What kind of content do you want to offer on your fan page?
Statistics show that in the beginning of having a business fan page on Facebook all is good and you connect with people, but over time the excitement disappears in many cases. Some companies are not updating their fan pages. Others are updating them too often and it looks kind of spammy. Other businesses have no idea of what to do with their fan page in the first place. And others heard it is good for Search Engine Optimization, but that is all they know. Some companies are offering games and coupons exclusively to Facebook visitors, but in general what might work for one business does not necessarily work for others. So, when putting up a fan page you need to have a strategy associated with it and you need to be able to commit resources accordingly.
What’s a good Facebook strategy?
One of the best Facebook strategies for businesses is to engage with customers and potential customers. Engaging means to actively communicate with the customers. So, let’s say you find a user on Facebook complaining about your product to friends. You could contact the user and start to discuss the issue and eventually provide a solution in public. Making things right to the customer is a great thing to do (if it’s a justified case of course) and building up a good reputation on Facebook definitely helps to spread the word (reputation management). Avoid engaging into heated discussions and fights. A public fight is never a good one, even if you are defending yourself against false allegations (exceptions apply, but whatever you do – stay calm and focused during the process – be professional). Don’t be too focused on generating sales through your Facebook page. It is better to really just be available and to have fun with visitors of your fan page. If you can establish a friendly and open environment, sales will follow. If you are pushing sales special after sales special the overall responsiveness will go down, your fan page will become boring. That type of behavior is also not engaging with the customer, it is more a one-way street communication channel and overall customers will turn away, because that is not what Facebook is about. You can also use Facebook to establish yourself as a likeable personality and completely ignore the business side of things (except for the design of your page). Just be yourself and have fun. By establishing yourself as described, people might come to you and inquire about your business and that puts you into a great position. All they see is You, not the business and that can be a huge advantage when they suddenly need services or products that you offer.
Using Facebook is another marketing channel that you are adding to your business. Keep in mind that any type of marketing requires time and resources and if you are short on either one you might want to hold off on it until the time is right. After all, you’re not setting up shop in a busy strip mall and then never finish the interior and open the doors, right!?