Every other company—big or small—appears to have a Facebook page. It makes you wonder if it’s a condition to have a business these days. Sure, enterprises can probably survive without having a Facebook presence, but the marketing potential and audience reach it can provide are often too good to pass up.
From billboards to grain containers to store receipts, that familiar “f” logo seems to be everyplace you look.
The media is constantly covering developments and trends in the social media industry and, with its recent IPO, Facebook seems to be all everyone is talking about. Corporations of all sizes promote their Facebook pages at nearly every customer touchpoint. But what does all it mean for you as a small business owner—and can your company survive without actually having a Facebook page?
In a past report, we glanced at social media for the corporation and reviewed what to do once you establish a presence online. But let’s take a step back and think about the value of a Facebook page for your business.
Social media has grown tremendously in the last several years and displays no signs of abatement. Unlike traditional advertising (print ads, TV, radio, etc.), the growth of social media gives small businesses access to consumers for a low start-up cost and offers the opportunity for real-time conversation, reaction, and analysis. Currently, Facebook has over 900 million active users worldwide. Other social networks have increased in favor as consumers are more connected than ever, especially with the help of smartphones.
But the big question is, is it that important for people to “Like” your business? Well, maybe. Here are three things to consider:
- Know your clients. While Facebook attracts users of all demographics, you have to ask yourself: is your customer base active on social media, and would they be interested in connecting with your business’s page? Is your primary customer likely to be an actor on Facebook user?
- Know your market. Just as essential as knowing whom you’re selling to is determining whether or not having a Facebook page for your type of business would be helpful for your customer. For example, if you have dry cleaning or document shredding service, would having a Facebook page bring value to your customers? What sort of usefulness would your customers get by “Liking” your company on Facebook?
- Commit to maintaining it. Before you launch a page, make sure you can dedicate yourself to maintaining it. This not only represents updating and posting regularly but moderating the community. While having a Facebook page can open the door to fans of your business who post thank you messages or share positive stories of your brand—it can also open the door to negative comments and customer complaints, which will be in full view for the public to read. Rather than ignoring or deleting these comments, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Mikal Belicove offers suggestions on how business owners can deal with the negative comments.
The important part about Facebook is that any business can get started simply by creating a free Facebook account and connecting with customers. While creating a fan base can be a challenge for any brand, once the page is live, it can share business news, ask for consumer feedback, and, ideally, grow the business. It’s almost like having your PR team and focus group at your side.
So, does your enterprise need a Facebook page? In the end, it’s up to you. As with any new marketing initiative, it’s essential to comprehend what you’re getting into—as well as what intention be required of you—before you leap in.
And if you do, enjoy the ride—you’ll be in terrific company.
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