Facebook is the fastest growing social networking website on the Internet today with over 200 million users world wide, founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004 with fellow computer science major students and his roommates Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes at Harvard University. It is a free-access website organized by city, workplace, school, region to connect and interact with people. With the young and upwardly mobile population of the society as active users of the portal.
Looking at the impact of Facebook on its users in developed countries, it is highly regarded as the new media, which affords great interactivity and personalization.
Facebook in some countries is seen as a welcomed development that drives social changes, For example, Facebook was very instrumental to the victory of President Obama of the United States, and great support was mobilized via facebook for his elections. Facebook is seen, as a tool that brought that needed change. In places like China, Syria and Iran the use of facebook has been banned from their websphere at one point or the other by their government.
The impact of this social media in Nigeria is gradually being felt as more Nigerians especially the young people sign up to facebook to connect with their friends, classmates, colleagues and family. It is also evident that some governors, public office holders, prominent Nigerians are using Facebook to connect with the people. With over 200,000 Nigerians on facebook and the number increasing everyday, getting on facebook is now a fad.
Facebook for Business
Facebook as a social media affords the opportunity for individuals, businesses, organizations to network with friends, fans, customers, prospects and people from different countries and backgrounds, by sharing personal information, pictures, videos, articles etc. It has the ability to connect your business with customers and also to your customers’ friends. This is the Viral nature of Facebook which businesses should leverage on(read up the principle of viral marketing in my book:: How to Create Unlimited Internet Wealth ).
This has lead to a new method of promoting businesses and brands online known as social network marketing; this is quite effective because the platform helps businesses to engage with customers and prospects directly.
It can be difficult for businesses in Nigeria to figure out how this great marketing tool can help them, because of lack of this information on how businesses can leverage the strength of facebook to drive traffic to their businesses, many CEOs are not convinced as to allow facebook marketing strategies to be incorporated into their marketing plan. But armed with the information I am providing you through this article, it becomes evident why your business should market your product and services on Facebook.
Do you know right now that Facebook is the most visited website now in the world (behind Google and Yahoo)?
Facebook can help your business have new customers who are searching the product or services you offer, like I have always said, people get online searching for a solution to their problems, the platform with its tools and applications helps you connect and engage the customers with your brand, you can also create a community around your business, it helps you promote your website, articles, product, services, events, articles, contact and other things which will boost your business.
Create a Facebook Page for your Business
To start promoting your business on Facebook, the first step is to create a Page for your business; this is quite different from a personal profile. Do not create a personal profile for your business. Profiles are for people, Pages are for businesses. Facebook is building significant new functionality for businesses, and all of this functionality is only available to Pages.
There are a few differences between Business Pages and Personal Profiles:
Pages allow you to designate multiple administrators, so that you can have multiple people help manage the account, and if one of your administrators leaves the company, you can still have control over the Page.
Pages are, by default, public and will start ranking in Facebook and public search like Google.com.Bing.com results. Pages are split into different categories (local businesses, brands, musicians) that help you get listed in more relevant search results. Personal profiles have friends, which require mutual acceptance, whereas anyone can become a fan of your Page without first going through administrator approval..
A Facebook page for your business serves as the hub of your marketing presence on facebook, Facebook pages rank very high in search engines when you use relevant keywords to your type of business, create an engaging page because the success of your marketing lies on that.
How to create a Page
To create a page log on to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. (You must be logged in to create a Page.) Fill out your Page like you would a Profile. Click on “Edit Page” or “Edit Information” on the Info tab to add information about your business like your website, a short description, products, mission statement, Vision and so on. Add your logo as the photo for your Page. Take advantage of some of the features of business Pages like the discussion board to engage your fans.
Choose a category. Most companies will be in the” Brand or Product” category. The category will help you rank in more relevant searches and provide relevant info fields on your Page. Choose a name for your Page. In most cases, this should be your company name. Now create your Page and click “Publish” button to make your Page public.
As the administrator, your name and profile will not show up anywhere on your Page. You are the behind-the-scenes manager. When you post new information or respond to a discussion thread, it will appear to be posted by your company rather than you personally. You can designate multiple administrators as well to help with the maintenance of your Page. In addition to being the administrator of your Page, you will want to become a fan. Once you become a fan, you will be listed among all the other fans on your Page and all the Pages of which you are a fan will show up on your profile –giving your business more visibility to your network.
Promote your Page
You do not just create a facebook page for your business and leave it at that; you need to continuously promote your page for more users to become your fan. You need to engage your fans too until they become your customers. Facebook has over 33,000 applications that can help you do this more effectively.
Always update your profile with fresh pictures, videos, add interesting content to your page. Add poll, contest, and articles to your page. Leverage the viral nature of facebook through the news feed which gives you update of your fans and friends.
Send email to your existing customers and introduced your facebook page to them. Blog about your facebook page too.
You can also integrate facebook connect on your website; this will help increase your engagement with your fans by spreading information and updates about your visitors’ activities with their facebook friends.
Add facebook share link to your website, this makes it easy for your customers to share information about your business with their friends.
Create regular facebook events for promotions you are running on your product or services, events you have that will be of relevance to your fans, the good thing about this is that the events page will be automatically promoted on your facebook page for your customers, fans and prospects to see. With this you can determine the number of people that are interested in your product or service, the friends of your fans will also see such promotion.
Continuously interact with your customers on your page, join in discussions and use that forum to answer any question they might have, for this to be effective, assign a staff that will be updating your page and interact with your prospect like I have explained.
Your business can sponsor the development of an application on Facebook, which will appeal to your fans.
Advertise your business on Facebook
Advertising on facebook helps you reach millions of people. Facebook ads allow you to promote your business, get more fans for your business Page, and drive more sales. To achieve the best result, your advert should be well crafted by an expert.
Measuring the performance of your ad campaign is easy. Facebook has built-in analytics to help track ad performance in terms of number of impressions, clicks, and click through rate. Multiple ad variations can be run at the same time and ads manager helps you determine which ad deliver the best results for your business. This helps you get the best from your advert campaign.
From the analysis you can measure the total number of fans, group members, and/or friends, level of engagement and number of conversations with potential and current customers and fans can also be determined. Facebook’s built-in analytics, Insights, lets you track valuable metrics such as page views, wall posts, discussion threads, and photo views.
The overall marketing effectiveness of your page, the number of visitors from Facebook to your website that convert into leads and customers can be determined.
Following these metrics over time can help you measure the ROI of using Facebook and be more focused about how to use Facebook effectively to market your product or service.
I believe with this information you will incorporate Facebook marketing strategy in your marketing plan and explore this new medium for your business advantage.