Facebook your business

September 2nd, 2010 in .Laptops & Netbooks
Mrs Mario
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Facebook may have started out as a way for students to connect with one another but it’s now outstripped its original packaging and has become a rich resource for business. Whether you run your own fledgling company, or are a part of a big conglomerate, Facebook can offer some tangible business benefits.

But how?

Yeah, I asked that too. I had visions of people “liking” my business updates, which is hardly something that brings in the bucks. So I did a bit of investigation have unearthed some of the clever tricks that other businesses have employed to get noticed, and enjoyed the fact that anyone with a netbook or ultra-portable laptop can do all of this on the move.

The first thing to do is to create a business account. It’s important to note that if you have a personal account with Facebook, you can’t create another account. It’s a violation of their terms of use. And that their business accounts have quite severely limited access to the features on Facebook.

If you manage to get past the lengthy terms and conditions then you can forge ahead in creating a business space on Facebook that will help raise your profile.  Speaking of profiles, it’s a good idea to put as much information in there as possible.

Telling your customers about who you are, and offering them insight into your ethos and services, means you can help engender a sense of trust and build up good relationships. Try to avoid heavy marketing speak, or coming across as one big advertisement. Unless your followers are die-hard fans it’s likely to put people off.

Your next steps are also pretty easy, if time consuming. I recommend going through the business applications available on Facebook and integrating those that will help boost your business. Applications like Social RSS, Easypromos, Marketplace and Testimonials will add that little bit extra to your pages, giving them a much needed splash of colour and encourage people to interact with you.

Follow that by uploading some ace photos of yourself or your business to help build your brand and put faces to the names on your page. People can identify far better with a personal photo than a line of type. It’s important to note that you should definitely limit personal photos, or keep them private from other organisations.

Information such as your latest company updates, newsletters and announcements should be easy to see and read. Also consider changing your Facebook URL to one that includes your company name. This will look far better on your email signatures than a lengthy Facebook link.

Which brings me neatly to my next discovery – self promotion. Stick that freshly minted URL onto your email signatures, marketing materials, business cards, websites and others such publicity devices. You’ll be surprised how many people click through to a website because it’s listed on your email signature. Hardly the discovery of the century, I know, but so few people realise how many opportunities they miss by not doing these things.

If you’ve chosen to link your Twitter stream to your Facebook updates using one of the applications I mentioned earlier, then you should consider keeping these short, sparse and interesting. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers and there is nothing better at getting people to stop following you than an endless stream of updates. If you haven’t done this, then make a point of posting regular updates on your site. And don’t necessarily make them all about work. Pull in interesting industry news and views too, people will be drawn to your insights on these issues and the fact that you’re so clued up.

This is just the beginning of what you can do to build a successful business profile on Facebook. Tomorrow I’ll be looking at other ways to build your network and get your page noticed by the right people.

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