Even if you don’t use it you already know Facebook is one of the most powerful social network platforms. You have probably come to realize that it’s not just for teenagers and socialites, but also for the small private business as well. Why? Because Facebook gives every business owner an effective and affordable marketing tool. But we will agree to one thing: Facebook marketing can be intimidating.

When it comes to marketing your small business, social media should be part of your game plan. If you do not yet have a Facebook page for your business, stop what you are doing and call a marketing agency! Okay, it’s so simple you really can do it yourself and in under half an hour but the point is DO IT!

Facebook likesOnce you have your Facebook page up and ready to go, you will need to know how to use it to increase brand recognition, customer response and user activity. Here are a few simple first steps:

The first thing you will need to do is to gain followers, or friends, for your page. You can do this by promoting your Facebook page via email marketing or in your physical location. Create a special offer (perhaps a percentage off the customer’s next purchase) if they sign up to be your friend on Facebook and remind them of that while they are at your location doing business. Restaurants can use tent cards on the tables. Retail stores can have signs at the registers. Place the special offer on all of your print advertising.

Once you have your first few followers, you can begin your first Facebook marketing campaign.

Posting the occasional discount or reminder to come into your store is not enough and will quickly put your audience to sleep. You will need to engage clients and share posts that are worthy of re-sharing. For example, if your business is a car wash, you might want to post a cartoon about how much pollen is in the air and then remind folks that it’s time to wash their car.

And use photos! It has been proven that readers react significantly greater to image-driven posts, a major difference between Facebook and Twitter. Photo’s in posts draw more attention. And phot’s can elicit a humorous response!

A tip about pictures: crop them. Facebook shows tiny versions of pictures so you need to focus on the most important area.

Getting your readers engaged in answering questions on your Facebook page is another way to have them become more involved in sharing your business with others. For instance, you could ask a question such as, “What is your favorite car wash memory from childhood?” Readers love to share nostalgic answers to questions such as these and every time they post an answer, it not only shows up on your Facebook page, but it also shows up on theirs. Then, their friends can see the question and response as well and you have just introduced your brand to an entirely new set of potential clients.

Use the Facebook search feature for the keywords that relate to your business. The search for car washes in central NJ delivered someone looking for an affordable auto detailer and someone just back from Florida looking to get the bucks off the front of her car.

Think your car wash can help? Tell them you can! And now you are a solution provider instead of just an advertiser! 🙂

Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding posts:

  • You can write about any current event that is related to your industry or brand.
  • If you find any fun or interesting video (hosted on Vimeo or YouTube) that is related to your brand or product/service, share it on your page.
  • Encourage your audience to post pictures, stories, or questions that relate to your industry.
  • From whatever the fans post, repost the content that you find the most interesting and credit that audience member.

When it comes to marketing your small business on Facebook, remember to be engaging and fun. If you only post boring business posts, your readers will not share them, nor will they be impressed. Keep it light and social and success will follow.

After all, it is called social media for a reason!