Cashing in On Facebook

The recent headlines confirm it: Facebook is a juggernaut of a company.

The massively popular social media site, started by some college kids, recently made a big splash during its IPO. It was a bit of rocky start, true. But the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is still one of the youngest billionaires in the world.

And really, the profit opportunity I’m going to discuss today has nothing to do with Facebook’s share price. What I’m interested in is how this social network has become one of the most useful marketing tools on the web. Here are some statistics to chew over:

•    There are 845 million active users

•    Over 50% of the U.S. is on Facebook

•    More users in Europe than North America

That’s a huge market of folks who are on the same website every day, probably several times a day. With numbers like those, it’s easy to see why there is such great potential for online businesses to use Facebook to increase profits, generate leads, boost sales, and keep in constant contact with customers.

You probably have a personal Facebook page yourself. I do, of course.

Since I moved to Costa Rica earlier this year, it’s been a great way to keep in touch with friends back home – and feel, at least a little bit, that I’m still part of the group. And I know our family back home has appreciated being able to keep up to date on what my wife, son, and I are doing down here.

I also manage Facebook pages for several clients – online businesses that have realized that being “social” attracts prospects and keeps customers engaged.

So Let’s Get Started

Like I said, you probably already have a personal Facebook page. In order to use Facebook professionally, you’ll want to start a new one that will be exclusively for your business. You can get all the details on starting a Facebook business page here: http://www.facebook.com/about/pages.

Most big corporations these days have a dedicated Facebook page, because it helps them connect to consumers. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 firm or the bakery on the corner, every company can benefit from the connectivity that Facebook offers.

That means you’ll want to have a professional-looking, yet friendly, Facebook page. Have a look at a couple of these established businesses:

•    http://www.facebook.com/sierranevadabeer

•    http://www.facebook.com/Nissan

•    http://www.facebook.com/aquafina

One of the best things about using Facebook as a marketing tool is (besides it being totally free) is you can showcase a different, more down-to-earth side of your company. You can post photos of your annual company barbecue, a recent live event hosted at your store, even fun little videos that show how you make the products you sell. For solo entrepreneurs and information marketers you could share details of a product launch, shoot funny little videos of something that happened in your home office, or update folks as you attend an industry conference.

This gives the customer a deeper sense of WHO YOU ARE as a company. This, in turn, means trust. And customers always shop at a place they think they can trust. So have fun with it. Don’t be overly aggressive with you sales-pitch, at least not on your Facebook page. It’s all about fun, fun, fun. (At least, in the beginning.)

And remember, your business’s Facebook page isn’t the only marketing channel you’ll be using.

You should always be linking back to your website. In fact, that’s the best way to monetize what you’re doing on social media.

For example, when you are running a sale on a product, you could mention it on Facebook and link back to the sales page on your website. You should also include links to sign up for your email list. You want to capture those leads that come in through Facebook.

But remember, you don’t want to engage in the hard sell on Facebook. Keep the mentions non-hypey and casual, when people are ready to buy, they will.

Making Connections!

Your company’s Facebook page is all about making connections. You’ll find that the vast majority of serious users of the Internet follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.

I’ve witnessed this firsthand in YouTube, another big social media site. Now, I’m aware that the comments section of YouTube is notoriously vicious and mean-spirited. But as far as actual users of YouTube (by which I mean uploaders of content), I have found them to be unfailingly polite. Subscribe to someone’s channel, and I can virtually guarantee that person will return the favor by subscribing to your channel.

My old friend the carpenter found a number of channels on YouTube that focus on the same topics that he does: woodworking, simple DIY projects, and home fixes. He subscribed to their channels, they subscribed to his channels, and both of their audiences just multiplied.

And it’s the same thing with Facebook. If you’re a carpenter yourself, for example, send a friend request to http://www.facebook.com/homedepot. Build your network, from the small mom and pop (who probably DO have a Facebook page) to the big dogs like Ace Hardware and Lowe’s. You never know where it’s going to lead.

This strategy, of course, works with any type of business in any niche. All you have to do is find like-minded businesses and follow these steps. If you’re an information marketer, seek out other information marketers, for example. They’ll be happy to help you… because you’ll be helping them too.

Once you’ve made connections with businesses in your same field, start posting on their Facebook page. Make it informative information. For example, a carpenter could say: “I saw you used a miter joint on that cabinet. Would’ve gone with a mortise and tenon, myself.”

These kind of expert messages not only identify you as a leader in your specific field, but it also makes people who don’t know as much perk up and say, “Hey, this guy looks like he know what he’s talking about! Maybe I’ll click over to his page/site.” Simply post your message. People will automatically be able to click over to your Facebook page. You could even include an URL to your website, too.

The most important thing is to be interesting and useful.

If you’re doing things right, the same thing should happen to your page. People will visit, post messages about your niche, your company, or your products. And these fans will start recommending you to their friends. And thus your network grows.

The New Age of Internet Connectivity

We, as Internet businesspeople, are privileged to be on the cusp of something big: the great connectivity of the Internet. Marketing with Facebook, the largest social platform on the web, can be very lucrative and introduce your business to thousands of new prospective customers. Don’t you think it’s time you cashed in?

Best of Luck!

John Hollister

PS. Now you’re ready to market your products to millions using Facebook. But here are a couple more resources to help you succeed.

Resources

http://www.facebook.com

http://www.facebook.com/about/pages (Business Page Set Up Guide)

Examples to Follow

http://www.facebook.com/sierranevadabeer

http://www.facebook.com/Nissan

http://www.facebook.com/aquafina

http://www.facebook.com/homedepot

Facebook Marketing Strategies

http://jameshicks.net/facebook-marketing-strategy

http://www.flashmint.com/show-type-facebook.html

http://mashable.com/2012/04/26/facebook-marketing-strategy/

     
     
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