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Using Facebook to Market Your Business

Straight Talk about How You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Facebook to Market Your Business

With over a billion users, Facebook is far and away the most famous social network on earth. If Facebook were a country, it would contain the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook possesses its own unique customs and norms, and you should understand them so that you can fully leverage the site’s potential as a marketing tool. When I see businesses go wrong on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t bother to learn the local customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook so unique among all social networks? It’s the reality that people that use the site have solid connections with one another. Folks are connected with their best friends, their immediate family members and their close relatives. They share detailed parts of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements

What does this mean for small businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you should be low-key and conscientious in your technique. You can’t use the old forms of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to listen to your hard sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and welcomed.

Keep it real (for real)

If you attempt to port the old style of marketing into Facebook, you’ll be disappointed. The natives will get angry and shun you. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But Facebook is about authenticity, so if your small business is not being authentic or engaging with customers in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

If you’re doing it right, it’s hard

Marketing on Facebook can be quite effective. But it’s also very hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it properly. Many businesses assume that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. But it really takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make crazy promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence, which requires time. But the payback is definitely worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of businesses engaged in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80% report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation, according to a study from Social Media Examiner.

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