Showing posts with label Online Communities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Online Communities. Show all posts

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Use Facebook for Business - Your Quickstart Guide for Getting Customers Fast (Social Media for Business)

How to Use Facebook For Business:
Your Quickstart Guide for Getting New
Customers Fast (Image via Amazon aStore)
With Facebook you can identify exactly who wants your products and then actively attract them, according to Wynne Pirini in this book. Facebook enables people to voice their opinion about your business to hundreds of their friends instantly, and you can choose to take control of this new frontier, or you can leave it to others to influence what the market thinks about your business.

This short ebook focuses more on the practical steps involved in getting started on Facebook rather than the philosophical aspects or the broader business consequences. The author uses clear instructions and helpful illustrations to show how to set up a personal profile, how to set up a business fan page, how to advertise to a targeted audience, how to use images to enhance engagement, and why Facebook Apps are useful.

There mere use of Facebook does not guarantee a return for a business. Many of the advertisements currently appearing on the site are a waste of space. In order to succeed, a business needs to find a creative way of engaging customers and potential customers. Some businesses are naturally more interesting than others, but the book does give some hints as to engagement strategies that might work even for boring businesses.

Before reading the book I was of the opinion that it was not worthwhile for most businesses to devote resources to Facebook. Facebook ads are usually not appealing or very relevant. But now I am not so sure. There is endless scope for low-cost experimentation, and with sufficient expertise and ingenuity it clearly is possible to create a campaign that achieves results. If you have not already experimented with a Facebook fan page, this book provides a handy step-by-step guide for you to follow.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Using Facebook for Social Media Marketing

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to this beginner's guide to setting up Facebook for Social Media Marketing. In this article, I'll illustrate how a beginner can set up Facebook to raise the profile of their organisation. I assume you already know how to use a computer, connect to the Internet, and use a browser.


Unless you've been living on a desert island for the past decade, you'll have heard of Facebook. It's used by millions of people the World over and it's a great way to connect with others.

This fact has not been lost on Marketers and Advertisers and they've moved to Facebook in their droves. Social Media Marketing, as it's become known, is a hot topic. Do it right and your organisation will benefit massively. Do it wrong and you'll disappear off the site like you never even existed.

What is Facebook?

Before talking about how to use Facebook for Social Media Marketing (SMM), it's important to take a moment to clearly understand what Facebook is. Facebook is an Internet based social networking application accessed via an Internet browser. The important element here is that it's for social networking. It's not designed for marketing or advertising (unless you want to pay Facebook to carry an ad for you). Abuse this fundamental viewpoint at your peril.

Everyone that joins Facebook MUST create a profile. It can be a Business Profile or a Personal Profile but you are only allowed one profile.

Creating multiple profiles is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Use and can result in all of your accounts being terminated.

I emphasise the above statement because it's really important. If you spend some time carefully crafting your online persona, it can be devastating to have it all taken away.

Business Profile or Personal Profile?

Facebook has only two primary profile types. A Business Profile or a Personal Profile. The personal profile gives you full access to all the features in Facebook. The business profile gives you access to administer your Pages and ad campaigns only. This is from the Facebook FAQ:

Business accounts are designed for individuals who only want to use the site to administer Pages and their ad campaigns. For this reason, business accounts do not have the same functionality as personal accounts.

Business accounts have limited access to information on the site. An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Social Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer.

In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests.

Deciding upon whether to create a Business or Personal profile is a big topic on it's own. But, in short: If you intend to do Social Media Marketing, I strongly urge you to create a personal profile.


Now you've created a personal profile. the very first thing you'll want to do is to check your Privacy Settings by selecting Account > Privacy Settings from the menu at the top right of the Facebook page. Take some time to work through these options before you start to use Facebook.

For example, one of the default settings is that your Family and Relationships are public. I'd suggest that you might want to limit this to friends only.

As another example, you may well want to keep some of your contact information, ie: your home phone number, private.

Completing Your Personal Profile

Once you've created your personal profile, Facebook gives you lots of hints on how to complete your personal information. Most of it is great advice and well worth following. Remember, what you're trying to do is setup your online persona. It will reflect you and your business. Let this guide your actions as you add information and photos.

Your aim is to have as complete a profile as possible so that your own friends will recognize you and will befriend you on Facebook. You'll also want your profile to be engaging enough so that you can make new friends online.

Adding Friends

Once your profile is ready, it's time to add some friends with whom you can communicate. Again, Facebook helps by offering to search through your eMail, Instant Messenger, Skype and other accounts to create a prospective friends list. Select 'Find Friends' from the menu at the top right of the Facebook page, next to the Account menu option you selected earlier.

You'll be presented with a list of contacts that also have accounts on Facebook and you can choose who you'd like to add to your friends list.

Adding current friends is the best way to get started with Facebook. Later, I'll show you how to add other friends.

The Wall and the News Feed

Facebook can be confusing at first so for now, I advise that you limit yourself to two main views when using it, the Wall and the News Feed.

  • The Wall. When someone first visits your Facebook page (or you visit theirs), the default view is the Wall. The Wall is a place to post and share content with your friends. The visibility of the items posted depends upon your Privacy Settings (see above, under Security).
  • News Feed. The News Feed is a constantly changing list of stories from friends and Pages (more later) that you follow on Facebook. It's only visible to you.

To get to your News Feed, choose the 'Home' menu option at the top right of your Facebook page.

To get to your Wall, choose 'Profile' from the menu at the top right of your Facebook page and then select 'Wall' from the menu at the top left of the page, just under your profile picture.

Using Facebook

Now you've set it all up, I suggest using Facebook for a while and getting used to it. Start some conversations and join in others. Write on peoples Wall or comment on what they've said. For now, it's not so important what you say (but remember that this is your online persona for you and your business so do apply caution) but it is important that you get some practice using Facebook.

And so, to Business...

Now that you've got to grips with the basics, it's time to create a Page for your business. To do this, go to your 'News Feed' page and select 'Pages' from the menu on the left side of the page. If you can't see that menu option, click on the 'More' button and it should then appear.

You should now see a button titled 'Create Page'. Click on that and then follow the simple directions.

The team at Facebook have written a number of documents that will help you create your Page. You can download the manual on creating Pages or visit and follow a number of useful links from there.

Your Business Page

Once your page is created, visit it and you'll see a series of steps to get you started. At the top of the list is a button to 'Suggest to friends'. This is where setting up a personal profile (as opposed to a business profile) really helps you. Basically, Facebook will send an invite to any of your friends that you select, asking them to 'Like' your page. This is important because once you have 25 'Likes', you can get a custom URL for your Page that is then easier to find, pass on to others and even use on your business stationery.

Why is a Business Page Important?

The primary reason for creating a business Page is to separate your business life from your personal life. Many business users don't like to mix their personal and business life. While they may be very happy to share some information with friends and family, they may not want that same information made known to their business contacts.

Once you've created a business page, you can invite your business contacts to 'Like' your business page and communicate with them there. This way, you can enforce a separation between you the person, and your business.

Note also that you can add other users as administrators on the business page thus reinforcing the fact that the business Page is a separate entity from individual users.

If Facebook is for Social Networking, How Can I do Marketing?

Earlier, I said that Facebook is a social networking site and that you should abuse this notion at your peril. What I meant by this was that users do not log on to Facebook to suffer interminable advertising messages or to be marketed at. They come online to socialise. If you try and push your business on them, they will desert you.

But, with over 500 million active users on Facebook, there's a very good chance that some of them will be interested in what you have to offer. The 'trick' is to find who those users are, engage with them, provide them with content of value and then promote your product in the right way. I've come across a great phrase that sets the standard for how to do that via Social Media Marketing:

Seduce, don't molest.

However, the topic of actually doing Social Media Marketing on Facebook is large enough to warrant a whole series of articles on its own so I'll cover that in future articles.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Social Networking Tips for Businesses

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Social networking is gradually evolving, facilitated by the technological developments. This is clearly understood when we visit the websites of companies that have all facilities in place, right from the product knowledge to the promotions, from providing knowledge to collecting responses and suggestions. Besides the major activities like advertising and promotions, companies nowadays indulge in activities like sales promotion incentives on the internet; these companies offer coupons, contest and sweepstakes to spread their social networks.

Social networking allows interaction with professional in an informal way. It's the easiest way to reach hundreds at a time without any expenditure. The power of social networking cannot be underestimated. The best social networking tips for businesses are as follows:

1. Quitting traditional networking mode - The first of social networking tips for businesses is to quit traditional networking mode and use the latest technology. You can set up a blog in your company name and get the feedback of the customers. It helps the company to have access to the global marketplace and identify the target audience with minimal effort. It provides wider reach with personalized messages and two way interactions.

2. Using facebook for business - The second of social networking tips for businesses is to use facebook. Facebook is the recent growing social networking medium. It is being accessed by thousands of people for business networking. You can create a company page and keep on updating it. Make it a page where your fan would go and checkout the page. When it comes to business, face book has always been the first choice of any businessman.

3. Using twitter - The third of social networking tips for businesses is to use twitter. Twitter is a fast growing and powerful tool used for business. It helps to create direct contact with the potential customers and provides them with the quick updates. It acts as an advertising channel and is quite safe and handy.

4. Highlight your expertise on forum - The fourth social networking tips for businesses is to use forums. forums are best networks to advertise your USP. It should be interesting and voice something to create your credibility. Reasonable comments received in it are highly acknowledged and recommended as an expert's advice.

5. Privacy online - The fifth social networking tips for businesses is to use Privacy Online. The top professional sites helps you to provide and offer high privacy setting. Every detail is personalized and is safe here. However the information should be filtered carefully.

6. What is necessary to post and what is not - The last social networking tips for businesses is to understand that there should not be any personal comments about the product. Through the response you receive, it is essential to target the audience of personal interest.

Social networking is used as a weapon, and it creates such a powerful wave of positive feelings that even strongest competitors cannot stop customers from buying their products. It creates a corporate identity in the minds of the people about the product. There are many social networking tools like face book, twitter, privacy online etc which can be used. All these networking tools can help you to build a strong relationship between the customers and the intermediaries. It creates a corporate identity of a person and helps him to face the competitive advantage. Another factor that helps is sponsorship. It is a sort of agreement in which the sponsor facilitates the activity of the person or the team or the organization sponsored. Sponsorships are valued because they contribute towards public awareness and create goodwill by promoting positive messages for the company and its product.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Facebook Marketing and Social Integration

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Facebook, which was once only known for social gatherings and connecting with friends on the web, is beginning to look more and more like a huge online marketplace. Retailers are scrambling to reach the enormous audience that Facebook draws in daily and turn users into paying customers. It started with the Facebook fan pages, which allowed businesses to build a presence for their brand on the social media website. They can add an unlimited number of fans on their fan page, and many leading retailers have already successfully built a large following. Recently Facebook has been connected to e-commerce on an even larger scale. Many of these businesses that are already well established in Facebook are starting to create their own ecommerce apps, which allows them to sell their products to their fans directly through Facebook. 

If you own an e-commerce business or are thinking of starting one and you have not tried Facebook marketing yet then you better get started. First, you must build a Facebook fan page. It's fast and easy, simply look for the link on their website and fill out the information. Once you have done that, it's time to really begin customizing the page in a fun way that will attract visitors and get them to become fans. Below is a list of features on the fan page and how you can use it to market your business. 

Wall - have fans leave comments in this area, share their thoughts, help make suggestions, ask a question, etc. 

Info - write a description of your business, make it clever and remember to speak to your audience in a way that they will like 

Notes - post the latest news regarding your ecommerce business, announce promotions, etc. 

FBML - create up to 10 customizable html display areas that allows you to add anything you want 

Photos - post pictures of your products and you allow your fans to share theirs 

Discussions - get the conversation started, let fans give you feedback 

Videos - post videos to promote your products and demonstrate how to use them, you can also allow your fans to share their videos 

Events - announce special upcoming events or promotions 

Reviews - let fans rate your products or services 

Others - add other applications created by third party developers that are meant for use on the fanpage 

Once you have your fan page set up you can begin focusing on how to attract traffic. Your page does not have to be perfect, it is one of those things where the more interaction you are able to get, the better the content. So start small and watch it grow and develop over time. Once you are able to better understand your fans, you can think more creatively about what to include on your Facebook fanpage. A good idea is to create exclusive coupons just for them. You can also develop a fun contest for them as part of a promotional campaign where the winner receives something for free. Try to think of as many creative and fun Facebook marketing ideas to increase the amount of interaction on your fanpage. 

Ads are another great Facebook marketing tactic to get people to become better acquainted with your brand. However Facebook ads are in a lot of ways very different from other kinds of advertisements. The advertisements on Facebook cannot focus on direct sales like Google AdWords ads can. The reason is because they each have an entirely different type of audience. The group on Facebook are there to socialize whereas the group on Google tend to already know what they want and actively search for it. When trying to reach a Facebook user, you should not push your products on them. You have to first give them a reason to become a fan and then develop a relationship with them. Once the relationship is there, you can find interactive ways to keep your products and your brand fresh in their mind, and the chances of them turning into a customer is much better. What you need to do is apply to become an advertiser on the Facebook network and create banner ads that link to your Facebook fanpage instead of your e-commerce site. 

Most recently, an increasingly popular Facebook marketing technique is direct selling. Since selling directly on Facebook is now all the rage, there is no reason for you not to do it. The big name retailers are just beginning to make their fanpages even more interactive by listing their products there. Those that have already built a large community are discovering that merging e-commerce with Facebook is turning out to be very profitable.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Benefits of Social Media Marketing for You and Your Business

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

There's a lot of fuss surrounding social media these days. If you still haven't jumped on the bandwagon and aren't sure why so many people are making such a big deal about it, here are 14 benefits of social media for your business and you from Success magazine.

For Business:

Establish a brand and raise awareness. Since the majority of the population is already visiting social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, getting your brand name all over those networks can help let people know that you're around. If you have yet to create a company image online, social networks are the place to do it. Create a fun YouTube video that entertains and informs. Funny videos tend to make their way around the Internet a lot faster than any other kind, so when making a video, keep in mind that you want it to be interesting enough for your target audience to want to share. Using Facebook and Twitter to create a fun online community that your customers will want to visit will increase brand loyalty and drive traffic to your Website, allowing you the chance to make more online sales.

Spy on the competition. Follow your competitors on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll be able to see what they have up their sleeve. Just make sure to offer a better deal than whatever they have going on.

Pitch products in a more human, interactive way. Since people visit social media sites to get personal rather than be bombarded with ads, discuss your business in a fun way and engage your customers with questions. Ask their opinions and entice them to respond back. This way you’re making a valuable connection that will help increase your number of return customers.

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