By Dave Pelland

Along with access to its large user base, Facebook offers a variety of tools that small businesses can use to promote their products and services.

Facebook won’t eliminate the need to create and maintain a company-specific website, but it offers an excellent way to engage with customers and prospects, promote your company and offerings, and increase revenue.

Online Showcase

One of the keys to creating a successful Facebook page for your small business is to understand its purpose and your goals. Facebook won’t be effective if your objective is increasing sales directly, but it can provide a powerful platform for increasing interaction and showcasing your company, team, customers, community and special offers.

The first step in launching a Facebook effort is creating a page dedicated to your small business. You’ll want to include basic information about your business, such as its location, hours, and other data that users will need to find your company. This will be especially helpful attracting mobile device users who are searching for businesses like yours.

The next step – and probably the most important one – is developing content that’s relevant to your users’ interests. This will vary according to your type of business.

For example, a restaurant will likely want to feature colorful photos of its entrees and dining room, while a services firm may be better served with customer testimonial videos or short case studies.

Promoting Your Page

Once your page is created, you’ll have to let people know how to find it. You can send a message to your email subscribers announcing the page and inviting them to “like” it.

Be sure to mention your Facebook pages on your other social networks, and to promote it on your company website (Facebook offers a variety of “badges” you can post on your website to direct users to your page).

Facebook offers a variety of advertising options that let you define narrow segments of users. Interested in reaching Facebook users with specific interests, locations and age groups? Facebook allows you to define your audience very narrowly, if you like.

Facebook’s advertising programs for small business pages include:

  • Marketplace ads – the standard ads that appear in the right column.
  • Page post ads appear in the users’ news feeds.
  • Sponsored stories appear in the news feeds, with a mention of a relationship the users’ friends have with your page (such as “Joe Smith likes Bob’s Deli.”)
  • Promoted posts appear in a larger number of your page’s fans than the Facebook algorithm might show without a promotional investment.

As with any online advertising or marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to start with a small investment and adjust your efforts over time to improve your results.

Website Replacement?

As they develop and promote Facebook pages, some small business owners may wonder whether a Facebook page can provide a cost-effective replacement for their company-specific website.

While Facebook does offer powerful promotional tools, most marketing pros recommend against eliminating a small business page because you’re effectively ceding control of your online presence to Facebook.

Instead, it’s better to maintain a small business website and Facebook page in conjunction so they complement each other and help you promote your small business effectively.

Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave’s editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank.