Using Facebook for Your Business

This week I taught a class in Facebook for Business to twenty very eager students. I thought the reason they wanted the class was to learn how to make a Page for their business, how to promote their Page, and what content to post. It turned out that what people wanted to really know was why to use Facebook in the first place! Even some new Facebook users wanted to know this! I was pretty surprised. So here’s what I said about why to use Facebook to promote your business.

Marketing is Shifting

The world of marketing has really changed, even in the past two years. Messaging is no longer something companies only  “push out” to their audience. Marketing is shifting from an “outbound” perspective only to one that incorporates increasing amounts of “inbound” marketing. Inbound marketing is when customers find your business, for instance through Google searches or on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. etc. They come to you.

Facebook is just one of the many inbound marketing tools available to business owners now. When I started my talk by putting Facebook into perspective as an inbound marketing tool, I could see the lightbulbs illuminating over everyone’s heads one by one! The key is integrating Facebook into your overall marketing mix, which should also include other inbound marketing tools (websites, blogs, links, articles, etc.). All of these tools will help you to position your business as a knowledgable and credible source for your product or service – if used well, and used consistently. Finding out where your audience “hangs out” and trying to meet them there with captivating content is what inbound marketing is all about.

Opinions Have Always Counted

An important consideration with tools like Facebook is monitoring your audience’s comments about your products and services. Negative posts on the internet can do damage to a business’ reputation, certainly. But remember, how you respond to negative posts can also be a powerful tool you can use to your advantage. And positive posts will most likely outnumber negative ones, as most of your customers are (hopefully!) satisfied with your company’s products. While companies are accustomed to creating their own message to persuade prospects to become customers, the magic of tools like Facebook is that customers are actually helping to shape messages about companies now. As I said in the course yesterday, this is both the beauty and the horror of social networking. But never fear – people have been giving their unsolicited opinions about the businesses they patronize forever. This is just a new tool that helps them do that!

Should You Participate?

If you’re producing a good product, or providing a quality service, you have no more to fear than you would have before Facebook was created. And chances are, it will be a great tool to help spread the word of how valuable your company is – farther, and faster. My feeling is that customers are out there participating and commenting, whether you join in or not. So it’s better to be participating yourself, paying attention to the chatter about your business, and doing your part to influence it positively where and when you can.

If you want help with a strategy for identifying the right inbound marketing tools for your business and assistance in leveraging them well, we’d love to be a resource for you.