Facebook for My Business…Yes, No, Maybe So?

You’ve heard the hype, your kids are on it, now you are trying to figure out how to use Facebook to promote your business. Facebook presents an enormous opportunity, there is no denying the 400 million users, the fact that the average user has 130 friends, and that people spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook (Source: Facebook.com.)
It sure is enticing to see those stats and instantly jump on the bandwagon, but is it right for you and your business or just Social Media BS!
Here are the TOP 3 questions to ask yourself when evaluating a Facebook presence for your company.

Are my clients/customers there?

Here’s where you start…Your clients or customers, think about it, there is no point in being where your target audience isn’t. Now, you need to base this on facts not just if you think they are there or not. Too many people just assume that Facebook is for kids, when in fact the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 25-45 age group.
Start with a look at your target audience; are you selling to businesses or to consumers? If you are selling to consumers, then you have come to the right place. Define your ideal customer, their age, gender, what do they like to do, what groups would they be in, then think about where in Facebook (what groups or fan pages would they be on) and start to participate in those groups.
Businesses are really just starting to get involved, realizing that Facebook just recently opened the doors to businesses, so it’s just the beginning.

What’s involved in developing a strategic presence on Facebook?

Facebook in itself is NOT a marketing strategy, but how you use it is. This is not a place to truly sell, most people are not interested in your advertising, however they are interested in…themselves and their friends.
Networking has always been and will always be about the relationship you have with people. Just having a page on Facebook will not guarantee anyone will ever find it or become a fan of your business. You will need to be able to Attract attention, gain peoples Interest, get them to Desire your products or services and ultimately persuade them to take Action.
In using the time tested formula of AIDA, it will help guide you in creating a successful campaign to leverage Facebook to grow your business.
Just putting a page with your products and services on it won’t win you any points, determine how to add value to your connections and think about what’s in it for them.

How does Facebook work into the overall Marketing Strategy?

How do you currently stay in contact with your clients/customers, prospects, newsletter list, and employees? Think about the progression of communication over the past 10 years, from phones to cell phones, personal email to networks like Facebook. How will people like to receive communication from you?
The advertising industry has taken a massive hit with technologies designed to remove advertising messages. For TV there is TiVO and DVR, you can just fast forward through commercials, radio advertising was crushed by satellite radio and the iPod, newspapers almost wiped out due to free content online, and email marketing’s continual fight with spam filters.
So how does Facebook fit into your overall marketing strategy? Once you develop a presence on Facebook it is best to incorporate it throughout all of your marketing, just like your website, the more methods of communication that you can have with a prospect, or potential customer, the more likely they are to see your message.
Since this is not a sales environment, it is more suitable to become the expert in your industry and share information about what’s happening to position you and your business as the go to person for information on your industry.
The bottom line is that successfully marketing in Facebook is a long-term commitment, not something to try once in awhile. It is all about the relationship and not about getting a ton of friends and fans. Know who you are trying to target, figure out where they are in Facebook and how it will tie into your overall marketing plan.

C:\Dan Beldowicz\Images\dan_headshot1.jpgDan Beldowicz is the VP of Business Development with Single Throw Internet Marketing, helping companies attract new customers and generate new business through Internet Marketing and Social Media.
He has spoken about Internet Marketing and Social Media for groups including the Business Marketing Association, American Society of Media Photographers, MoveAhead One, NJAWBO, SCORE, Morris County Chamber of Commerce, Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, and Somerset County Business Partnership and is on the Faculty for the Association of Strategic Marketers.