Why do we need a Facebook? We already have a website.
Wasn't Facebook created by some college kid? It's designed for kids, not businesses!
What would my business even do on Facebook?
If you've said or heard any of these statements, we dedicate the following blog post to you.
Low Cost, Easy, and Scalable
It's no secret that businesses today are under both time and money constraints. A Facebook business page is free (remember to sign up for your personal profile first), and gives you access to millions of users. Many apps (akin to plug-ins, used to interact and engage with fans on your page) are free, as are searches to find businesses you might want to connect with on Facebook. Updates and landing pages on your Facebook page are free as well. You can even create a storefront on your Facebook business page!
Facebook offers thousands (yes, literally) of apps for you to interact and engage with fans. A good majority are free, while some with more functionality and features do cost money. Advertising on Facebook is also low cost (not to mention super easy to utilize), and offers targeted exposure. For example, a fashion blog wants to target women over 18 years old in the US who like Heidi Klum and Project Runway on Facebook. There are over 1.1 million women who fit this description (Facebook just told us as we ran the scenario). Simply add more preferences to refine the audience, and with each change, Facebook will tell you the estimated reach for your ad. Next, set your budget, and with a few more clicks, you're advertising on Facebook!
As you can see, your Facebook business page is also scalable. If you have a limited budget and need to start small, you can; when you're ready to invest more in your marketing endeavors on Facebook, there are paid options to expand your presence. Whether you want a simple page where users can like your business, or a page with enough apps to keep them busy for hours, it can be done on Facebook.
Reach / Exposure
Now that we've gotten the monetary and ease of use concerns out of the way, let's look at how many people are on Facebook. In Facebook's IPO, filed 2/1/12, the company boasts 845 million visitors monthly. Daily users amount to 483 million, meaning over half of the total monthly users come back to Facebook every single day, with 360 million taking only one day off a week from Facebook surfing. Couple these numbers with the fact that at the beginning of 2011, Facebook had 585 million users, and you can see the explosive growth and user base this social media powerhouse has. Oh, and for you shutterbugs, 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook per day. Wow, those are some big numbers! It stands to reason that members of your target market are included in that 845 million, or 483 million, or 360 million, or 250 million. Oh, and they're captive, looking for new information, scrolling to see the latest news and updates which are always included in one central place (their news feed).
Remember we said you need a Facebook profile to sign up for a business page? This makes networking with business owners on Facebook a good possibility. Once you find the right profiles and pages, friend and like them, comment on their posts and pictures, post a link to their wall, or start a conversation with them! They will most likely reciprocate, and continuing the conversation gives you, Mr. Smith, owner of Smith Widget Factory, top of mind awareness when they need widgets...and who doesn't need a widget at some point for their business? Surely they know someone who needs widgets, and the exponential effect of your Facebook conversation reaches epic proportions. This isn't a dream it's really happening for businesses on Facebook and other social media sites!
Engagement / Interaction
Money concerns check. Enough of the right people to make it worth my company's while check. The only thing left is how to communicate with those people.
As we mentioned before, Facebook offers free updates to your pages. These updates are unlike any update you've ever done on your website, even for you webmasters out there. A business page can change status immediately, in as little as 5 seconds - 2 or 3 if you're a fast typist. It's simple to change your page status, upload a picture from a recent event, or post your latest YouTube video. If you've got more time, install a few apps so you can run contests, special offers for page likes, or even a game. A popular way for a company to gain followers (likes) is to post a special promotion that is revealed once the user clicks the like button. This is very easy to do, and yields big rewards.
Facebook allows you to get in front of your target market daily through Facebook ads, activity on your page or through interaction and apps, and posting status updates to reflect current sales, new products, or any other company news. We recommend a few posts per day, and this might vary a bit depending on the nature of your business. We all have that Facebook friend who posts the most mundane details every hour on the hour 14 hours a day. Sharing is good sharing too much is very bad. Think about what you post to make sure it is relevant, interesting, and timely. The goal is for Facebook users and those who like your page to want to read and respond to your posts not to scroll right by them because nothing ever catches their interest.
Analytics / SEO
Facebook Insights are analytics of your page's visitors, interaction with items you posted, and more. You'd think there would be a cost for such valuable information, but Facebook provides it for free any time you want to see it, accessible from your own business page.
Business pages, because they are searchable, are indexed by the search engines. If your competitors have Facebook pages, they are being indexed.
Facebook is a fun, social media site frequented by people and businesses all over the world. It doesn't matter what business you're in, or what your target market is. More than 25% of the time people spend online is at social networking sites. Make sure they can find you on Facebook when they search for your business or product.