In these tough times, capitalizing on the marketing potential of free social media sites, such as Facebook, can be a smart move.
Doing so helps you to communicate with customers, build brand loyalty, and win valuable new business. A
Facebook profile has many intricate tools that can be used to share key messages about your brand, product, or service.Read on to discover how you can use these to advantage.
by Tyler Olson and Michael Schneider
1. Power of positive profiles
The Facebook profile should represent who you are as a person or a business. Use it to tell the world what you want them to know about your company. Don’t just post your job title and e-mail address. Instead, use Facebook to evoke interest in the product or service you offer customers.
The profile is only viewable by people you befriend or those on your network, but friends and colleagues will click on it more than you think, so use it wisely.
2. Wonders of the wall
Anyone you choose as a friend on Facebook can leave public messages on your wall. You, in turn, are able to leave messages on other people’s walls. Such messages help you share more about your brand with “friends” – and also with your friend’s wide network.
A word of caution: don’t use it for spamming – but to dialogue with friends or those on your network who inquire about your product.
3. Seek and you will find
With more than 175 million active users, everyone you know is probably on Facebook. That means it’s a more effective search tool than flipping through the phone book or old databases.
Many old friends, colleagues and customers may want to contact you for business reasons and search your name on Facebook. The site’s privacy settings allow you to remain hidden in search results, but remain open, and include a photo, so you are easy to find and contact.
4. Fan–tastic pages
Creating a fan page for your product allows customers to publicly declare support for your brand or product, and adds a stamp of approval to their profile page, which is broadcast to their entire network. Some companies’ fan pages allow users to watch shows, purchase music or download programs.
An added bonus for the fan page creator is instant access to the stats, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of customers or potential customers. These help you build brand awareness, improve direct purchasing and retain your customers.
5. Brand exposure … a piece of cake
With your permission, every action you take on Facebook will be broadcast to your social network. For instance, if you become a fan of Microsoft Windows, all of your friends will see that and also be able to join the group. Use this feature to join fan clubs dedicated to your business.
The viral impact of having one or two other friends join could expose your brand to thousands of more eyes, especially if your friends are part of a separate network.
6. Status matters
Short status messages, which answer the question, “what are you doing right now?” – are becoming an important part of social networking. The status message is the most eye-catching part of a user’s profile and when changed, the new message is broadcast on your network’s news feed.
Use the status to provide updates about your brand, advertise new products or post links to your Web site. Many entrepreneurs use it to get their PR messages out faster, link to their blog or ask for referrals.
7. Double Rhapsody – Linking Facebook and Twitter
Linking your Facebook page to your Twitter account is a great way to expose your updates to new audiences, as you will find different crowds on both social networking forums.
Assuming you are also using Twitter to market your brand, and you should be, download the Twitter app for Facebook. It will automatically update your Facebook status with the messages you post on Twitter. Done correctly, your brand’s messages will get sent out to thousands of viewers, instantly.
8. Apps and brand building
Applications can be designed for profile pages or fan pages, groups, or for connecting with other social media sites. Building apps that support your brand can help spread awareness of your products or services through your social network. Applications also encourage your network to share the download with others to maximize its use, thus widening your reach.
9. Low cost ads, high-value results
The amount of information Facebook users freely provide on their profile pages gives advertisers the opportunity to directly reach their target audience. For instance, if you want to target 18 to 25 year-olds in Toronto, who are interested in video games, it takes less than five minutes to find those users. Advertising on Facebook is still very cheap, so it’s a great time to purchase space.
10. Respond – to compliments and complaints
If users in your social network are writing about your brand on fan pages or groups, take the time to respond to them. Say thank you for the free publicity and let the customer know you appreciate their support. Even if a customer is complaining about your company, it is still worthwhile to respond and try to sort out the issue.
Studies show that when customers receive a personal response, they are more likely to become satisfied with the company. Social networking provides a great way to get in touch with disgruntled customers, smooth over the rough patches and hopefully regain their business.
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