It seems like almost everybody is urging business owners to jump into Facebook. The appeal of a free way to market to your customers seems like a dream to a cash strapped small business. Diving into Facebook isn’t risk free, but if you learn from the mistakes of others, you can avoid making a mess of it.
It’s a long-term commitment, and your time is money.
Like your business, you need to establish a solid foundation and a clear track record on Facebook so your customers see the value in becoming a fan of your page.
This means investing valuable time over a long period in something that may not reap immediate dividends. If the time you would need to spend working on your Facebook page could be better spent on your business fundamentals, get these right first, as social media is not the silver bullet that will save an underperforming business.
Don’t run from negative feedback
So you’ve set up your Facebook Page, posted some great content, only to have a customer spoil it by posting about a negative experience. Some business owners then run away and abandon Facebook entirely, or worse yet, begin playing a game of whack-a-mole by deleting the comments and hoping the customer won’t repost them or tip off the media about your censorship. Instead, this is an opportunity to demonstrate your business’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
If a customer cares enough to reach out to you through social media, they aren’t lost forever — dealing with this negative feedback and resolving the customer’s issue will not only repair the relationship, but in the long run it will establish a track record of your commitment to your customers.
Facebook is not all about sellingIt can be tempting to use social media to sell to customers. This is ok, but needs to be the exception rather than the norm. Your customers will engage with your Facebook page because they feel a connection with you, while pushing sales messages can be seen as spam.
Instead, give your fans an inside look at the personality of your business (or your personality as the owner). Once you have this foundation laid, the occasional deal or sales-related post is often welcomed by your fans (though your fans will be the first to tell you what they do and don’t like).
Things to avoid when running promotions
- Tagging other people or pages in posts or photos. This is often seen as spam, and it is very easy for someone to report your page to Facebook for review.
- Requiring fans use Facebook “features or functionality” as an entry mechanism. For example, requiring a fan to share a photo and tag their friends for an entry to be counted.
- You can use Facebook features such as the ‘Like’ button as a voting mechanism in promotions ONLY if you hosted outside of Facebook on your own website (or as an iframe app within Facebook)
These aren’t the only things to watch out for, your best bet is to fail fast and iterate what you do to establish a feel for what works for your brand.