SOCIAL MEDIA: Should your offline business be on Facebook?

Social media columnist
Social media columnist
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Facebook is one of the most popular websites on earth. Although it’s used mostly by people for personal networking and entertainment, businesses have found that it’s an effective way to build their brand and communicate with their customers.

If you’re wondering whether you should start using Facebook to promote your business or not, here are some things to consider.

You vs. Your Competition

Is your competition there already? If so, you’re losing customers. People search for businesses on Facebook and when they look for yours, they’re finding your competitors instead. On the other hand, if your competition hasn’t started a Facebook account yet, you’ve got the competitive edge. You can be the first in your area.

Are Your Customers There?

Even though over half the UK population in all demographics uses Facebook, there’s still the possibility that your customers aren’t there. If your target market is older people who are not heavy Internet users, it may not be worth your while marketing to them with Facebook. One way to find out is to ask them. At every opportunity you have to speak to your customers, do a quick survey to find out if and how they use social media.

‘Find Me on Facebook’

The traditional exchange of phone numbers has in recent years been replaced by people saying, ‘Find me on Facebook.’ It offers a great way to connect with people you’ve met offline. This is how people make personal connections but also how they reconnect with brands they love. Customers, clients, colleagues, business associates and anybody else your business comes into contact with can find you on Facebook.

Searching on Facebook

People are increasingly looking for the products and services they need using Facebook. This is especially true of local search, where people are looking for businesses in their area. This feature on Facebook is a great way to connect with people who otherwise you wouldn’t have come into contact with. Social media sites like Facebook have also replaced the traditional ‘word of mouth.’ People will find your business on their friends’ profiles and take that as a valuable recommendation.

Special Fan-Only Deals

Your Facebook strategy will work especially well if you offer something exclusive that’s only available to your online fans. Create special deals that are only for customers on Facebook. Run contests using your Facebook page where people can win prizes. Establish a customer loyalty system and reward your customers for likes and shares. All of these strategies give customers a reason to spend time interacting with your business on Facebook, not just when they walk into your store.

Interaction and Engagement

Facebook is different from a regular website in one major way – it’s all about interaction. If you’re going to start using Facebook, the goal should be to get people onto your page and engaged. Give them something to do on your Facebook profile. When you do this, it gives people a sense of participation in your brand and this goes a long way in creating long-term customers.

BREAKING NEWS

Twitter

Announced they are rolling out enhancements to their in-product harassment reporting and making improvements to “block” to make the Twitter environment safer.

They are improving the reporting process to make it much more mobile-friendly, require less initial information and make it simpler to flag Tweets and accounts for review. These enhancements also improve the reporting process for those who observe abuse but aren’t receiving it directly.

Google+

Introduces pinned posts for profiles and pages so you can now pin a post to the top of your profile or page.

Businesses often have posts they want to highlight such as photos of a new product or announcement of a new service. When someone visits your page, they’ll see the pinned content first above the rest of your posts. To pin a post, open the drop down menu on any public post when viewing the posts tab of your profile or page on a desktop browser.