Edward Stern is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online colleges and universities for the Guide to Online Schools.
Facebook is the most exceptional and exciting marketing tool in the history of the world, period. The social networking platform allows businesses to create a page, access 500 million and counting users, and target them based on location and interests. Never before has there been a way to reach so many people -- specifically, the ones you want -- so quickly and so affordably, as it's free to create a Facebook page.
However, like anything, there is certainly a right and wrong way to market through Facebook. If you do it wrong, you'll do serious damage to your marketing efforts, let alone the reputation of your company. Here's how NOT to market your business on Facebook; because sometimes, knowing what you shouldn't do helps you understand what you ought to be doing.
- Don't be THAT person who clogs feeds with daily updates on how amazing you are. The goal of social network marketing is to make them care, but there is no quicker way to further apathy and create disdain for your business than to spam the people who like your page. Don't spend every waking moment sending messages about how great your business is, especially when you have little in the way of backing it up.
- Do not offer deal after deal on Facebook, because you might get booted. Wanting to drive traffic and "likes" to your page is fine, but don't do it by offering miniscule Facebook-only deals. It'll frustrate your customers who don't live on the Internet and may even get you banned from Facebook; you have to get Facebook's approval to run a promotion on your wall. What you can do is publicize a promotion through Facebook -- but again, don't publicize it to death.
- Do not abandon your Facebook page to wither away and die. Social media can be confusing, and you may not always know the right thing to say, post, or promote. The best way to figure it out is to dive straight in and keep posting with persistence. Do not abandon your Facebook efforts after a week and a handful of "likes;" it's something you must build up, which takes patience and commitment, just like growing your business. Facebook is a free and unprecedented powerful marketing tool, so don't waste its potential.
- Your business' Facebook page is not your profile. It's good to give a human touch to your page and add pictures from the company picnic, but don't turn it into your profile or even something resembling a personal profile. Keep updates about your dog and that crazy bachelor party last weekend to yourself. When updating your business' Facebook page, keep it strictly business.
- Don't be shy about adding content to your page. Your clients want to see what your company is up to, so feel free to share anything that might be of interest to your client or potential client. Be sure to update regularly with wall posts, adding pictures, changing your info, etc. -- again, make a commitment and set aside time as part of your schedule dedicated to Facebook. A skimpy, unloved Facebook page is a waste of bandwidth and will live in Internet limbo forever, a sad testament to a failed effort nobody paid attention to.