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Facebook for small businessMost business owners are challenged at the best of times to add another marketing activity to their list of things to do which is why Facebook is such an awesome single social media platform that can do double time as a social media marketing platform as well as several other functions most people probably haven’t thought of.

Below I’ve outlined three ways small business owners can leverage Facebook in their business.

#1 – To Extend Your Marketing Reach

You notice that I did not say as a selling platform?  People hate to be sold to in social media spaces.  The opportunity for you here is to have conversations with your customers. Ultimately people buy from those they know like and trust. So growing the number of fans you have either by using paid Facebook advertising or simply engaging more on Facebook is an opportunity for you to talk with more people and give them a chance to learn more about you and your business. At some point they will remember you as the friendly, helpful people on Facebook and you will be in with a chance when its time to buy.

That’s not to say you can’t announce your most recent promotion when it comes around.  Just don’t make that the core of your Facebook messaging. Remember this when your boss asks you why you aren’t pounding your Facebook fans with sales messages day in and day out.

#2 – As a Pre Sales Tool

Facebook is the biggest community of connected people on the planet.  There is a pretty good chance that your prospects are on Facebook. It’s a great way for you to help answer any questions people have about your product or service before they need to buy it. Because it’s a public forum, other Facebook people will see how you dealt with the question and be suitably impressed. In fact there is no reason why you couldn’t simply compile a list of regularly asked questions into an FAQ format and make that a sticky post on your Facebook page.

#3 – As a Customer Support Platform

Facebook excels as a customer support platform.  Lost passwords, status updates and the like.  It is a quick and easy platform for you to provide support to customers in a public forum.  Typically once people have their questions answered or problems resolved they are very happy and will be public and vocal about this.  And Facebook is the ideal venue for that.  Just remember if you have a customer who is somewhat more difficult to satisfy, remember to take the support call offline and ask then to call you directly on the phone so you can solve their issue for them.

4 Facebook Tips That Don’t Really Work

When it comes to Facebook and your small business, there are plenty of digital marketing tips and tricks out there that claim to help you achieve social media success. But the truth of the matter is that some so called tips are just a waste of time and energy.

1. Buying Facebook Fans

You’ve probably seen posts on your page from people claiming to help build a following for your business. In the short-term you will see the number of ‘Likes’ to your page increase – the problem with buying fans and followers is that a lot of these people don’t actually exist. If you’re buying lots of fake LIKES then you’re not going to be able to grow an engage audience that you can potentially convert to loyal customers.

2. Tagging Irrelevant People in your Pics

You’ve seen it in your own feed, if someone gets tagged in a pic on Facebook, they receive notification and it’s often been suggested that businesses try this to try to get more people to notice your brand. Warning – stay away from this approach. It’s something that spammers are renowned for and that means that regular social media users are pretty savvy to this. Only tag people in your photo if they’re actually in the pic and you won’t go wrong.

3. Hashtagging everything

In a word – DON’T! When Facebook first launched hashtags, everyone was adding them into their Facebook content and for a while it might have seemed like a good thing. But now it’s been proven that posts without hashtags are the ones with more viral reach. So by all means use a hashtag if you’re trying to promote a cross-platform campaign that includes a hashtag, otherwise stick to your own strategy – slow and steady wins the race.

4. Facebook polls

Once upon a time Facebook Polls were thought to be a great avenue to engage fans in your business. But now this feature has been shut down in favour of businesses obtaining the same information from their LIKERs simply by asking regular questions in their posts and reviewing the comments posted.

This could be a tactic you think might work for your business, but given the speed trends come and go, this approach could quickly lose its appeal and you might just be better off avoiding Facebook Polls completely. However, there are always exceptions to the rules – so if you’re running a poll or survey on your business website there’s no harm in posting a link on your Facebook page to maximise your target reach.

At the end of the day, if you stay true to your business and brand values, focus your energies on creating compelling content that your target audience wants to read and integrate Facebook into your overall marketing strategy – your Facebook page will grow at a solid pace and more importantly, it will deliver results!

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