Getting it right on 
Facebook for firms

I WAS having a conversation with a friend of mine recently who has his own one-man business. He told me that he should really get a Facebook business page set up, but he has no interest in Facebook at all.

I told him what I tell many of my clients who come to me to get started on social media marketing – you may not want to be on Facebook, but there are around 1.3billion other people who are … and that’s a lot of potential customers!

I’ve heard people say that they simply refuse to have anything to do with Facebook because they don’t agree with it.

The simple message is, “Don’t ignore Facebook!”

Now, Facebook may have all these millions upon millions of users, and the thought of being able to get your message to all of them sounds very appealing, but wait!

It is Facebook’s ability to let you home in on exactly the kind of people who will be interested in your product or service that is the deal breaker.

Being able to deliver your message to several thousand highly targeted users is far more valuable than broadcasting to all and sundry.

There can be a huge temptation to create a Facebook page for your business and immediately start posting information about your products, services and offers, pushing for sales straight away.

Remember, though, that Facebook is social media.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re at a cocktail party. There’s a room full of people milling around, and you decide to mingle.

The first person that you meet is soooo boring; they just talk about themselves, showing no interest in you or what you have to say. You take the first opportunity you can to move on.

The next person seems more interesting – they listen to what you have to say, have some helpful advice, and throw in a bit of humour as well. You decide to stick around to see what else this person has to offer.

You can extend this analogy to Facebook. Set up a page and post nothing but self-promotional posts and you’re simply wasting your time. You’re asking people to buy into you before you’ve passed the “Know, Like and Trust” barrier: people need to know you, like you and trust you before they’ll buy. So, give before you ask.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to give away free samples of your product. Give value by posting relevant content that people will find useful and may even share with their friends.

Over time you can nurture these relationships, getting more and more engagement on your page. This will help you build authority, credibility and likeability.

If you do it right, you’ll not need to engage in any hard sell – your audience will be more receptive to products and offers that you then drop into the ‘conversation’.

One of the misconceptions about Facebook marketing is that it is free. Getting Facebook right takes time, effort and, more and more so nowadays, an advertising budget. Fortunately, your budget does not need to break the bank. You can dip your toe in the water for only a few pounds.

So, if the thought of signing up for a Facebook account makes your skin crawl, take a deep breath and take the plunge anyway.

Andrew McEwan of The Web Workshop in Morebattle (www.thewebworkshop.net) helps businesses in the Scottish Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.