As we discussed yesterday, a lot of businesses and bloggers have caught on to the idea that social media is a relatively inexpensive tool for promotion. I remember when a lot of people thought the same thing about faxes, e-mails, text-messaging and the home phone. Inoted that the problem is that a lot of these businesses are treating the social networks the same way they did the other communication tools, and simply "spamming" the sites, and unfortunately, they're getting the same reaction - they're getting blocked, ostracized, rejected, and banned in the process.
It is possible, however, to use the social networks effectively as a tool to promote a business and yesterday, we discussed how to do this on Twitter. Now, let's talk about Facebook.
First, you're going to need to decide whether you need to use a Facebook profile or page. If you fully expect to keep your followership under 5,000 (the maximum allowed for Facebook profiles), then a profile is still better, because it's easier to use, and give you more flexibilty in grouping and contacting your friends. However, if you have aspirations of gaining a larger followership, then it's best to start a page for your business. We've talked a lot about Facebook pages here on WebRev, but let's specifically address what types of posts are best for self-promotion, and which ones to avoid.
Remember Facebook is primarily a site people use to keep in touch with their friends from different parts of their lives, and a few of the businesses they epecially like. If they've looked you up on Facebook, and either sent you a friend request or "liked" your page - they already like you. This is not the time or place for a sales pitch. Just give them reasons to continue to read your posts. Remember, they can "hide" your posts from their feeds at any time, and your window of opportunity to keep them from doing that may be very small. The best posts offer truly interesting information folks they will want to "share" with others on their newsfeed - stuff like good deals, "how to" information, or interesting trivia related to your industry.
Incorporate technology if you have the resources to do so. Some of these "cool" pages have attracted followers simply because their pages were so interesting.
Don't post very often. People don't want to hear from any business on Facebook several times a day. Usually, a time or two a week is enough for most businesses, but once a day is OK if the information is truly interesting to your readers.
As we discussed with Twitter yesterday, don't use your business Facebook page or profile as a personal journal. Don't let everyone know when you're going to bed or going to off-line for a period of time, or what problems you're having with other people on Facebook or elsewhere.
Jennifer Pointer is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.