Facebook marketing tips, cautions, ideas and how-to guides for small business.
The articles are continually updated by the MarketingZone Editors. We keep up so you don't have to.
Learn how to market and promote your business, products and services on Facebook along with some important cautions and realities of setting up and maintaining a Facebook marketing program for your small business.
Facebook is approaching 1 billion users. It's the second most popular website behind Google in terms of unique visitors. And while it started out as a social network for college students, it's now expanded far beyond that. Facebook users who are 26 to 64 years of age represent more than half of Facebook's users in the United States, according to InsideFacebook.com.
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Facebook Pages for Business - They're "free."
- How to set up a Facebook page to market your business.
- How to claim your Facebook Places listing
Get Ideas & Inspiration for Facebook Marketing
NEW: Facebook gifts - could be a great way to sell products online
Want to know what other businesses are doing that are selling/offering the same things as you are? Facebook search isn't very good (they're trying to improve it but it's still in development). Here's a great free site that's all about helping you find relevant Facebook pages and posts: Facebook Instant - http://www.fbinstant.net/
Most businesses focus on getting more Likes/fans or engagement for their Facebook business page. Many of your customers/clients won’t want to "like" your Facebook business page because they don't care enough about your products/services/company to want to get constant posts from you. The people who are your "real fans" on Facebook are very, very valuable. Why? The real value of Facebook marketing is other people seeing the engagement with your best customers who are their connections. For example, if you’re thinking of buying a bike, the most credible advice will be from a friend who is the cycling enthusiast. If you’ve seen that he is often commenting on a bike store’s page on Facebook, you are more likely check out that store when it’s time to purchase a bike. That's a way to attract a profitable new customer who won't be coming to you for a screaming deal and price off.
The Editor of Business Insider said, "Google remains a much better advertising platform than Facebook. Why? Because Google is like advertising at a store. Facebook is like advertising at a party." We think it depends on what you are advertising. Some products, services and messages are more appropriate to promote at a party. Also to reach the broadest number of prospective buyers, it's not an "either/or" choice. You should use both Facebook and Google ads, along with other marketing techniques.
Facebook Marketing - What's New? What's Changed?
Lots of changes going on with Facebook that have implications for marketing yourself or your business on Facebook. As things change, we update this article.
Here's what's most important for you to know if you're using Facebook for marketing.
1. Facebook has a search function called "Graph Search" that will show people searching about you what groups, companies and information you "like". You need to be very proactive about managing your Facebook personal and business pages. Great blog post from VentureBeat on how to do that.
2. Facebook seems to becoming more popular with adults (especially Moms) and less so for teens and college students
Many younger people have switched to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (girls primarily). They still have their Facebook account but they don't post or check it as frequently.
3. Facebook is ranking the order of what appears in someone's news feed based on their behavior of interacting with the person or business page
Here's an example of Start-up America asking people to interact with them so they'll continue to see their posts.
Know this: most people will not see your post on Facebook.
You can check the posts you make on Facebook from your business page to see how many people saw the post. Note: saw the post does not mean they read or scanned it. it means they had the "opportunity to see" the post in their news feed.
Here's the latest data on active Facebook users. Remember, many of these people are accessing Facebook on a Smartphone where they can't see any ads, just sponsored posts (these are "ads" inserted into someone's news feed).
source: Business Insider
4. Facebook is selling "sponsored posts" (ads) which appear in the news feed instead of the side of the page where most people don't see the ads
Here's an example of a sponsored post from American Express. See the little word at the bottom "sponsored"?
If someone "likes" this, they then become a connection of the company paying for the sponsored post and they can then post to that person's news feed for free (it just may be very low in the priority ranking for the person if they don't interact - like, comment, or share.)
5. You can advertise to "friends of connections"
These are the little ads on the right hand column. Your ads will run on Facebook pages of people whose Facebook connections have "liked" your Facebook business page. When potential new customers/clients see the ad, they also will see a "thumbs up" logo that lists their Facebook friend as someone who "likes" the business. This may be a way to generate more referrals and new customers/clients.
Here's what's being posted by people on Facebook to ask their connections to alter what Facebook is doing "To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits "like" or "comment", automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me...."
6. Facebook has a feature that allows people to control how often they get status updates/posts (messages) from their connections.
What that means to you is that your "fans" on your business and personal page can choose how often they want to hear from you and that your posts may appear lower in people's news feeds. Facebook now wants to charge you to present your posts higher in someone's news feed. They're taking this idea from premiums for ad placements perhaps that magazines use where you pay more for the inside front cover and back cover. Or maybe this is Facebook's version of Disneyland's FastPass. Regardless, Facebook is trying to figure out how to "monetize" their company now that they have pressure from investors to demonstrate how the company is a money-maker.
7. People can now "subscribe" to read posts made by people they don't know.
If you see a subscribe button on someone's Facebook profile page, you can subscribe to get their public posts (messages). In this way, Facebook is now more "Twitter-like." However, there's one important difference. With Facebook when you "subscribe" to get posts (messages) you can control how many posts you want to receive (all; most; important only). With Twitter you get every post.
8. Facebook Privacy - you should know and do this
Take a look at your URL (top box on your screen.) If you see "http" or just "www", instead of "https", you DO NOT have a secure session and can be hacked. Go to Account Settings - Click Security on the left top corner - click Edit next to Secure Browsing, Check box, click Save. FB has automatically set it on the non-secure setting! Do everyone a huge favor, copy & re-post.
If you are concerned about inappropriate posts on your Facebook Business Page, you can set up the Page so that every comment must be approved by an admin before it's seen by others. Facebook calls this "post visibility."
9. Facebook has made changes to help people create "lists" of their connections which they can use to determine who to send a post (message) to. This works now somewhat like a direct mail list selection where you might choose to send an email message to everyone on your list or just to people on a sub-list (like employees, best customers, prospective customers, etc.).
- Does Facebook Advertising Work? Here are the best answers we got from hundreds of small businesses and online agencies about whether Facebook advertising works along with data from industry experts on Facebook advertising to help you decide if you want to advertise on Facebook.
Next page - should you create a Business Page on Facebook? Pros/cons...
Facebook Pages for Business How-to Guide - learn how to create a company page for your business.
Social Media Marketing
- Social media marketing how to guide for small business
- Handling negative comments on blogs, Facebook and Twitter
How-to Guides on Advertising
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