What Can Businesses Do On Facebook?

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

–Putt’s Law

It’s here:  the new age of social media.  By now you probably know that you can use Facebook to reconnect with old friends from high school, post photos and catch up on what your friends are doing, but did you know there are a lot of business goals you can accomplish on Facebook as well?

Here are my top four things businesses can do on Facebook:

  1. Prospect for clients – People can be searched and segmented by narrow topic areas on social media, making it efficient to prospect for clients who may already have an interest in your product or service.  Because in social media people opt in to join your group or become a fan of your company, you also have the benefit of a more motivated, interested audience than you might have in the offline world.

  2. Listen to what people are saying/thinking about your company, industry and brand – You can use that information to develop new products and services that will appeal to your customers or to refine the products and services you currently have.

  3. Develop better customer relations – By engaging more frequently with your customers in a way they enjoy and prefer, you strengthen the bonds between you.

  4. Build your credibility and expertise – By being visible and active on social media, you increase the likelihood that when people think of your industry they think of you first.

Notice one thing I didn’t say was SELL, SELL, SELL.  Social media has the potential to reach a huge potential market, but that doesn’t mean you immediately should sell to everyone in your network.  That can be a real turn off and lead to people disconnecting from you online because it is so self-serving.

It’s like if you went to a party or networking event and you met some new people.  You wouldn’t immediately whip out your product and ask them to buy it, right?  Instead you might chat with them to get a better idea of their areas of interest and their needs, and if there seemed to be an overlap with what you were offering, you might give them your card and suggest they visit your company.  It’s the same thing online.  You need to build the relationships before people want to buy from you.

Facebook is great for building the know, like and trust factor that is so important for long-term success.  Because since social media is so new there are people out there pushing their products in a very aggressive way, and it might make you think that’s an appropriate strategy.  It’s not.

That doesn’t mean social media won’t help you sell your services, you just need to think of it with a longer timeline and in a more subtle way, compared to, “Okay I’ve set up my Facebook page so now I expect to see a 20% boost in sales this month.”

Facebook can be an important marketing tool for businesses when it is used effectively with reasonable goals.

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2009 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.