Our first deep-dive post into Facebook focused on the paid side of the platform’s advertising offerings.  While Facebook’s mock pay-per-click platform works wonders for a lot of small businesses, there are other ways to utilize the social media giant without putting a dent in your marketing budget.  This part-two-post explores those free, social-media savvy ways to create awareness and effectively target within the Facebook network.

Let’s just take a minute to remember that Facebook has 750 million ACTIVE monthly users.  That’s a lot of people.  More importantly, that’s a lot of people that you can potentially reach with your messaging.  That being said, there are many things that need to be done beyond the step of simply creating a profile.  As we’ve stressed with all of our other social posts, you need to engage, engage, and engage again.  A critical realization that marketers need to have is the following:  If people are searching your Facebook page and liking it, odds are they are your current customers that are aware of your Facebook.  While interacting with and maintaining current relationships is extremely important, the new contacts that you need to reach are probably unaware of your company, your company’s offerings, and, obviously, the fact that you even have a Facebook page.

There are plenty of things that you can do to enhance your company’s social media presence that don’t require any funds at all.  In fact, a lot of the larger companies with big friend pools on Facebook tend to do more of the “engagement” marketing than a lot of other companies out there.  While LinkedIn may be a better lead generator in terms of quality and ease of searches, Facebook is by far the best way to establish your brand and culture and to get involved with the social community.

  • Make sure you have a FAN PAGE, not a personal page.  Facebook allows for “Fan Pages” where people in the Facebook community can “like” your page and then view your updates.  If you have a personal profile, people will have to go through friend requests.  Going about it that way is not only tedious, but you’re a lot less likely to reach a large amount of people.  (Make sure you have an impressive picture, too!)
  • Have fun with your content.  Facebook’s entire existence depends on people interacting with each other, companies, organizations, and applications.  Your content doesn’t have to be boring or only appeal to one kind of audience.  You should try to interact and engage with as many potential prospects as possible.  Hewlett Packard has one of the most impressive Facebook presences for a company of its grandeur, and a lot of the updates don’t really have to do with technology.  Mainly they ask questions about lifestyles, preferences, and interests, while trying to get people to think creatively and interact with the brand.  I saw this post on my news feed a couple of weeks ago and saved it just to illustrate this point:

  • They got over 3,000 likes and over 600 comments on this picture of a dog.  Plus almost 500 people to share the picture on their own walls.
  • Take engagement one step further.  Hold contests and polls for your fans.  Try to get them to digitally engage with your company in addition to commenting/liking posts.  This is also a great way to generate leads if you have to collect contact information.
  • Invite your fans to events.  Even if your event is an in-store sale, or an outside promotion that requires a call to action, you can make an invitation on Facebook to get the word out.  You can post pictures, content, or anything else on the event’s main page, and get a feel for how the attendance may turn out.
  • Find some verticals you are interested in and participate in groups.  Facebook has tons of “groups” that anyone (including companies) can participate in, which is a great way to drive traffic back to your page.  Facebook also has sites where they explain every facet of the platform to you, so if something is confusing you there is a tutorial to break it down:

Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers and gain their mindshare and trust.  Once you can connect with them on this level, why wouldn’t they want to buy from you?  If you aren’t marketing on Facebook already, give it a try and let us know what you think!

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