Benefits of Facebook for business
Social media are internet services that let you interact with others and share and create content through online communities. Facebook appears to be the leader of social media. A Facebook page has many potential benefits for your business. While some of these benefits are similar to having a website, a number are unique to Facebook. Combined, the benefits listed below can lead to increased sales and profits for your business.
Facebook is a low-cost marketing strategy
Marketing activities that would cost thousands of dollars through other channels can be used on Facebook for a fraction of the cost. This makes it ideal for small to medium businesses with a limited marketing budget. Larger businesses can also trial marketing concepts and themes through Facebook before committing to bigger campaigns.
Share basic information about your business
Your Facebook page is a place where you can publicise your business name, address and contact details, and briefly describe your products and services. You can also talk about your staff, history, or any other aspect of your business that is likely to attract other Facebook users and create interest in what you do.
Share pictures and videos from your business
As well as allowing you to post text, Facebook lets you upload pictures and videos from your business. This can be a powerful way to communicate with customers and potential customers, allowing them to see your product or service without having to visit your premises.
Facebook also allows users to 'tag' photos to indicate if a Facebook friend appears in them. This function can be used to promote your business. For example, a tour operator could post a photo on their page of a group going whitewater rafting, then invite each participant to tag their image in the photo. Each tagged image will show up as an update on the participant's Facebook account, where their friends will see it too. This increases the level of interest in the picture, and your business.
If you do decide to use tagging, be careful. It can be a privacy issue, and some Facebook users are sensitive about being tagged in photographs. For this reason, it is better to ask participants to do the tagging, rather than doing it on their behalf.
Talk to existing and potential customers
You can use Facebook to 'talk' to existing and potential customers by posting and receiving messages. But don't use Facebook to aggressively promote your products or services. You'll have much greater success if you share information related to your business that is actually useful or interesting to other users. This increases your credibility and promotes your business by building long-term relationships with other users. For example, a veterinarian could post tips for looking after pets, timing them according to when particular health issues arise (e.g. ticks in summer).
You should also listen as much as you talk. Paying attention to what the market thinks about your business, your industry, a product or a marketing campaign can provide valuable insights.
Provide customer support
Customers can post after-sales questions on your Facebook wall, and your staff can answer them there. This is often more efficient than staff answering phone calls, and allows other customers to read common questions and answers without having to approach you individually.
Raise brand awareness and promote positive word-of-mouth You can increase your business's profile on Facebook by encouraging existing and potential customers to click the 'Like' button on your Facebook page. Once they like your page, your customers will receive your updates on their wall, where their friends will also see them. This helps to build awareness of your business, and to associate your friends with your brand. Customers can also post positive messages about your products or services, shared on their walls for all their friends to see.
Facebook can steer traffic to your website
You can include a link to your website on your Facebook page. Indeed, many businesses report that the greatest benefit of Facebook is the extra traffic that it steers to their site. Visitors who come to the website can be exposed to stronger marketing messages and, often, the option of buying goods and services.
Customers who come to your website from Facebook are likely to be more receptive than the average visitor, because they already know something about your business and were motivated to click the website link.
Facebook can analyse all the information that millions of users enter into their profiles. As the owner of a business page, you can pay to use this information to deliver targeted advertising to a specific group.
For example, an outdoor store could use Facebook to calculate how many men over a certain age in a certain city have listed 'fishing' as an interest. Then they could develop an ad for new fishing lures, and pay for it to appear only on the pages of those people. (Ads appear on the right-hand side pages in Facebook.)
Offer deals through Facebook Places
Facebook Places allows users to 'check in' on mobile devices at a particular place, so that their friends can see their location on Facebook. Facebook Places also identifies popular places close to where a user checks in.
Businesses can use Facebook Places so that when a user checks in to a neighbourhood, street or business, they receive a list of nearby businesses offering deals (e.g. discounts, freebies, loyalty rewards).
Businesses that have a Facebook page are automatically included in the Facebook Places directory.
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