It’s often said that the most difficult step for a business to take is to branch out into some new area and expand its horizons. The often quoted example is Facebook. Many businesses think about starting up an account having read and seen the sort of positive benefits that the social media can bring, but shy away at the last moment because it just seems like a step too far, or too much like hard work. Actually, I think they’re wrong. Setting up an account’s the easy bit: keeping it up to date and fresh is what takes the effort. So, if you’ve already boldly gone where some others didn’t, what can you do to make sure that Facebook, or other social media platforms, continues to work for the benefit of your business?
What you need is a strategy. It doesn’t have to be overly-complicated, or need to take up too much of your precious time. If you focus on the simple things, you’ll be surprised just what a difference it can make. So what are the simple things? What easy steps can you make to keep your business buzzing?
Facebook thrives on engagement: engagement with friends and family, and in business terms, engagement with your customers. It takes time to build the online community, but it can vanish in a moment if you don’t keep your finger on the pulse. The best way to develop relationships and foster a sense of trust is by providing information and helpful insights for your customers. Ask your fans questions, and make sure that you provide answers, not just to these questions, but also any questions your fans might ask of you. If you do this regularly, you’ll soon develop the reputation as a ‘go-to’ source and your fan base will grow even more. Don’t just stick with that either: set up a simple resource centre on your profile and give your customers information that will be helpful.
Talk to your fans
Obviously if you’re already sharing information with your fans, you’re doing it anyway. But it’s more effective if you take it further and speak to individual fans. You should be checking and reading posts from your fans anyway: all you then do is post something in return for them to read. Engage with them and make them feel special. It doesn’t have to be much, just a comment on a photograph and an off-the-cuff remark about a post they may have made. Have a look at who’s a fan of your page, and then try posting on their walls. You’d be surprised how special something like that can make a customer feel: if you’ve taken the time and trouble to do this, then they truly believe you must care about them. Don’t go over the top though: just be polite and be yourself.
Track what’s happening on your page
This might sound boring, but it’s actually very important. If you don’t keep up to speed, you’ll never know if what you’re doing is working. Tracking allows you to keep up to date with your fan base and also will help you maintain whatever momentum you’ve built. Look at things like the total number of fans, the number of new fans, how the fan base is building monthly, the number of ‘unlikes’ and the total number of activities on your wall each week, or month if you’re pushed.
If you’re wondering where on earth you’ll get this information from, don’t worry. Facebook has kindly fixed you up with all the tools you’ll need. Have a look at the Facebook Insights application on your page and click on edit in the top right hand corner. From there you can have a look at various metrics and measure how well things are going, or not, depending on circumstances.
In the second part of this article, we’ll have a look at the other steps you can take to keep your Facebook page thriving.