Yesterday my husband and I were in the lucky position of having a night out for ourselves. We knew we wanted to stay local, so we thought we would try out the new Italian down the road. Firstly though, I wanted to find out what my friends thought of the place. So I posted a question on Facebook. I also searched for the restaurant’s Facebook page firstly to get the phone number to make a booking, and secondly to read through the customer reviews. They were a mixed bag – we decided to give it a try, and we had a good meal.
So – what does all that mean for your business? If you go onto Facebook today you will find that your friends and family use it not just for posting pictures of their cute kitten, but they use it as a search engine.
People like to ask questions – and people LOVE to give their opinions. My initial query about the Italian restaurant sparked quite an engaged debate about the merits of the restaurant (including whether if you went on a Sunday, did they just reheat the night before’s leftover risotto – I am pretty sure they don’t….)
How can you make sure that what ever is being discussed about your business on Facebook, you are able to contribute to the discussion? By having a Facebook page for your business!
If someone is looking for a new reflexologist in your neighbourhood, and your competitor has a thriving Facebook page with reviews and details of their services – who is more likely to win the business?
Facebook is the new word of mouth. By putting your business on there, you are entering the conversation. By engaging with your page’s audience, you have the ability to steer the direction of the conversation. By allowing your potential customers to ask questions -e.g. ‘do you open late nights on Thursdays?’ – you are more likely to get a booking.
My Top 5 Tips for using Facebook for your business
1. Post regularly – if you have a Facebook page for your business, make sure you are posting on it regularly. How often is regularly? This can depend for each page, but I would recommend daily updates.
2. Make sure your contact details are all up to date – if a customer wants to get in touch with you, make it as easy as possible. Add your phone number, your website address, your email address, and any other details you have. Think of this as your online business card.
3. Answer all messages and comments – ALL of them – once you have your page up and running, and someone actually comments or asks a question, or sends you a message – make sure you take the time to respond to them.
4. Use images – this is easy if you are selling food or beautiful photo frames – maybe not so much if you are selling legal services. Have a look around at other similar successful pages and start testing what works with your audience. There are a lot of free images available online, but try and get some good photos taken of your own business or even better, of yourself!
5. Make it personal – try and give a little of your own personality into your Facebook posts – people like people. If you just post bland boring updates, you are not going to grow much of a following. If you inject a little bit of humour, personality, reach out to people, you are going to engage more of your audience.
Have a look around Facebook for pages that you like – take a pen and paper and write down what it is that you like about them – is it the images, the way the posts are written? Are they relevant to you and your business or do you just find them interesting?
Join some Facebook groups, like our Social Beehive, and see what your potential customers are talking about – and what your peers are posting about. Have a little fun – just remember not to get too distracted and spend half your day reading about the newest butternut squash recipe, or the latest jewellery collection released from your favourite designer.
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