10 Superb Ways For A Small Business To Friend Facebook

By Glen Stansberry on 23 June 2011 (Updated 7 July 2011) 0 comments

Love it or hate it, Facebook has proven to be a major source of traffic and income for small business websites. A recent study showed that Facebook shares are worth almost three times as much as a tweet. And these nuggets from this compelling infographic ought to give a good indication as to how important Facebook has become to ecommerce in general:

  • 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know;
  • 67% spend more online after recommendations.

Plenty of big companies have already seen incredible success with Facebook promotions:

  • Pampers sold over 1,000 diapers in an hour on the Pampers Facebook store;
  • Baby & Me receives about 50% of online sales from Facebook;
  • Spinback sees an average of 10.9% conversion rate for Facebook shares that lead to a purchase.

If your small business is selling products online, then Facebook can be a fantastic way to add social proof and find more leads. Here are a few ways to snag some of that Facebook traffic for your small business website.

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Before you start, figure out if Facebook marketing is a good fit for your customers. After all, you may find that your audience or customers just aren't going to catch the Facebook fever. That's fine. Figure out what does work and focus your efforts there. There's no sense trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

If you find that Facebook will resonate with your clientele, then forge right ahead. Just don't put all of your eggs into the Facebook basket without testing the waters first.

2. Start Tracking

If you're going to start Facebook marketing, you're going to have to track your results. Facebook Insights is a great place to start tracking shares, fan pages, apps, or just a regular domain. And it's free.

You can also start tracking sales from Facebook by setting up Google Analytics to track sales.

3. Start Engaging

If you've got a fan page on Facebook and have started to get a few fans, it's time to start engaging them. Start conversations with your fans on the page. Ask intriguing questions. These are the things that will keep visitors coming back to your site. Facebook pages are fantastic platforms at generating discussions, so use it to the max.

Compete.com has found that 68% of people who like retail fan pages do so to stay current with promotions and sales. Use your Facebook page to post coupons and sales as well as product updates. You might even think about posting special promotions only to your Facebook page to reward your fans. (More on that later.)

Many small businesses make the mistake of simply setting up an RSS feed to automatically post content to the page. If you want to start sparking true engagement, then you're going to have to go to the next level and get away from automation.

4. Take Advantage of Friend Referrals

There's no stronger recommendation than one from a personal friend.

Facebook is different than other social sites because the friend connections are stronger. If your friend in real life recommends a book to you, you're much more likely to buy it than a recommendation from a random guy on Twitter. 

Do everything you can to get shares. Add the Share button to each product or post, at the bare minimum.

5. Reward Facebook Fans

Often it's not enough to ask to simply get people to become fans of your business on Facebook. Sure, asking helps, but try giving them something in exchange for becoming a fan. A free newsletter, a coupon, anything that will get users liking your page.

As an example, some musical artists like Lady Gaga let fans who have "liked" their page listen to songs and watch videos that others can't.

6. Learn More about Facebook Ads

Facebook is going to overtake Google and Yahoo! as the largest online display advertising company later this year. Not only that, Facebook allows you to target very specific demographics of people who will see your ad. Facebook ads are a great way to generate leads to your Facebook page, and to generate sales.

Aside from Facebook's In-house ad doc, there are a couple of great guides already out there. The How-to Guide for Facebook Advertising and Facebook Ads 101 - How to Setup and Track Facebook Ads are great places to start.

7. Create a Landing Page for Your Facebook Fan Page

If you don't have a landing page for your Facebook fan page, then you're already missing out. Instead of showing new visitors your comment threads or posts, direct them to a targeted landing page with more information about your business. Here's an easy guide to creating a landing page for your fan page.

8. Think about a Contest

To boost the number of fans on Facebook, you might consider starting a contest. Contests generate interest and attention that you might not get from traditional content. Plus, friends love to share contests on Facebook.

Gigcoin has a great article on how to evaluate whether a contest is right for you or not.

9. Stop Giving away iPads

If you do decide to create a contest, make sure the prize is something targeted towards your audience. For example, if you have a small business that sells cookware, give away a free kitchen set.

Whatever you do, don't give away a generic gift like an iPad. Search Engine Journal has an excellent writeup on why you shouldn't give away iPads for contests. In short: they're too generic. You're not attracting targeted fans when you give away un-targeted gifts.

10. Consider Starting a Facebook Store

Selling items on Facebook has become quite a boon for many shops. Facebook has passed Google to become the most visited site on the internet, so it is only logical that selling products on Facebook is the next step. After all, the average Facebook user spends 14 minutes on the site every day.

There are some existing applications like ShopTab and Storefront Social that allow you to quickly integrate your existing store into a Facebook application.

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