I was speaking to a small business owner the other day and she said, “We’re not on Facebook, although I guess we should be. I just don’t have the time and I really don’t think it will help my business.”
Small businesses are my passion—I’m a small business owner myself! I spend a lot of time speaking and interacting with business owners and am dismayed at the lack of knowledge about the power of social media, and Facebook in particular, to help businesses grow.
The number one reason small business owners get discourage is unrealistic expectations. I’ve met with several people who want me to set up or manage their Facebook page and when we discuss goals, they tell me they want to get X number of likes. One even said her goal was to have 1000 likes within one month!
Number of likes on Facebook is not a goal!
If you moved to a new city or town, you wouldn’t expect to meet 100, 500 or 1000 people in one month, much less become fast friends. Developing relationships takes time, energy and effort. It’s no different for a business Facebook page. So let’s ask the question again: what are your goals, what do you—as a business owner—expect to get out of your Facebook presence?
-Provide customer service
-Let customers know about specials and promotions
-Build relationships and credibility
These goals are not exclusive to Facebook, but should be part of your overall marketing plan. In order to achieve your goals, you need to work first on the relationships/credibility factor. Let’s go back to the example of meeting new people. When you meet someone new, what makes you want to speak with them further and get to know them better? I’m willing to bet it’s not the person who talks on and on about themselves and won’t let you enter the conversation.
Follow the 60/40 rule for Facebook.
Use about 40 percent of your posts promoting yourself/your business directly and about 60 percent on what interests your fans. Use the 60 percent to share your expertise—tell your fans how to use your product in ways they hadn’t thought of, share a recipe, tell them about industry news, local events, even share a funny photo or video.
Using Facebook takes work.
It takes time to develop a vibrant Facebook community, but it’s worth it to make your business the go-to for your niche. Plan what you’d like to accomplish, write down how you’re going to accomplish your goals, and most importantly, be yourself! Check out this great article from Constant Contact on how to let your authentic self come through. You’re not Coca-Cola, some big, nameless brand, you’re Jane Doe, owner of a local business reaching out to local people, who will are, or will be, customers. Here are some good local pages—you can tell by the posts and interactions that they love what they do, and they love people, too!
About Lisa Karl
Lisa Karl is the president of Nova Creative Media, a social media/marketing firm in Ashburn, VA. She is also the publisher and editor of Find It In Ashburn! Connect with Lisa via Facebook (NCM), Facebook (FIIA), Twitter and LinkedIn.