By Rhonda Campbell
Boasting more than 850 million user accounts, Facebook has become a leader in the social media space. Many of the social media network’s users access the company’s services using a mobile device, making it increasingly possible for entrepreneurs, creative artists and small business owners to keep in touch with prospective customers and current customers around the clock.
Entrepreneurs Can Grow Their Small Businesses Just Like Facebook
Facebook was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes, four Harvard University students. Few businesses were likely familiar with the social media giant when it launched in 2004, and understandably so. MySpace was the rave at the time.
Understandably, the social media company that was founded inside a Harvard dorm room had work to do. It also had to raise operating funds. As it continued its forward progress, Facebook expanded its focus from Harvard to other Ivy league schools like Stanford, Columbia and Yale. By December 2004 it had one million active accounts. Operating funds came when Facebook landed a venture capital deal with Accel Partners in May of the following year.
Fortunately, just as Facebook’s founders did, entrepreneurs and small business owners can use existing customer connections to grow their profits. As an added plus, companies receiving more customer “Likes” on their company websites can also rank higher in search engines.
Connecting With Small Business Customers through Facebook
However, before companies start generating thousands and millions of “Likes” at their company websites, they need to create a Facebook presence. To do this small business leaders can:
- Create custom Facebook small business pages that entice browsers to “like” the business pages. Visitors “like” Facebook pages by clicking a “like” button located at the top or bottom of the page. The more people that “like” a page, the more popular the page becomes.
- Add a Facebook “like” button to company website intro pages (or other high traffic webpages on company websites).
- Use Facebook’s analytics (or build customized, in-house analytics) to monitor behaviors of Internet surfers and “friends” who visit company Facebook pages. Regularly update company Facebook pages to continue to grow the numbers of people who “like” the pages.
- Login into personal email address books and invite colleagues, family members and friends to join company Facebook pages.
- Post information (e.g. dates, times, locations) regarding specials, sales and events on Facebook pages.
- Encourage Facebook friends to visit their small business brick and mortar store to make purchases on discounted merchandise.
Advertising Products and Services on Facebook
Entrepreneurs, small business owners and entertainers can also get creative as they advertise their products and services on Facebook. For starters, they can:
- Create a Facebook page for each major character in their latest book or movie. In addition, entrepreneurs can create a separate Facebook page for each of their product lines.
- Upload pictures of events that they have attended (e.g. trade shows, book signings, public speaking engagements).
- Send out a motivational quote twice a day (once at the start of the day and again at the end of the day) to Facebook friends.
- Include their company website URL on Facebook info pages. For example, entrepreneurs and small business owners can add their company URL in their Facebook profile bio section. They can also add the company URL at the bottom of their Facebook Info page in the contact section.
- Give out their Facebook URL when they do radio, newspapers, magazines, television and Internet interviews.
- Add company Facebook URLs to customer receipts, gift bags, gift certificates, etc.
- Include company Facebook URLs at the top and bottom of company newsletters.
Getting More Exposure Via Facebook
Small business owners with Ning accounts can add the Facebook application to their Ning pages. Furthermore, Blog Talk Radio hosts can increase the numbers of listeners who tune into their regularly scheduled shows by sending an alert to their Facebook friends a few minutes before the start of their shows.
Entrepreneurs should also keep up to date with Facebook’s latest technological advancements (see the Facebook business link at the bottom of this article). They can do this by reviewing Facebook’s Developers page once a week or at least twice a month. This way they can add applications and features to their company’s Facebook page before masses of entrepreneurs start taking advantage of the tools.
Facebook makes it easy for small business owners, entrepreneurs and creative artists to connect with prospective customers. As a reminder, to connect with customers, businesses can create Facebook pages for their product lines, regularly post messages to their Facebook pages and highlight specials and sales they are running. When doing interviews, small business leaders can also give out their company’s Facebook URL. These strategies help entrepreneurs build relationships with smart shoppers, relationships that can increase a company’s product and service customer sales.
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