There are many options of which to take advantage in the world of social media, especially with Facebook coming into its own within the Industrial arena. But just being on Facebook isn’t enough — you need to be doing everything possible to maximize your presence, otherwise the chance to build a better relationship with your customers might just pass you by.

Take a look at this list to see if you still have additional opportunities:

1. You’re using a Facebook Business Page (rather than a Group or Personal Profile).

Don’t even go the Personal profile route. First of all, it’s against Facebook’s terms to do so. Second, you have to manually add each and every friend, rather than just letting them passively connect to you by clicking the “Like” button on a Business page.

As for Facebook Groups:

  • Groups will not allow you to have a custom URL; Business Pages do.  See #2.
  • Groups do not give you access to Facebook visitor statistics (a.k.a. “Insights”), while Pages do (after you get 30 fans).  See #5.
  • Group messages do not appear in News Feeds as Page postings do – a critical element. To get the word out proactively, you would need to send an email message every time, which might get on some fans’ nerves. To see a Group’s page postings, your customers would have to purposefully go visit that page, an unlikely occurrence. Page postings can also appear to those fans’ networks, giving you more eyeballs.
  • Even small details matter: Groups do not allow you to group photos by albums, while Pages do.

2. You’ve assigned your business a custom URL.

You want to make your Facebook address easy to communicate to your customers. So simplify it. After you have at least 25 people who like your Page, go to www.facebook.com/username while logged in to the account attached to the business Page and follow the straightforward instructions there. Claim your name before someone else does.

3. You’re updating regularly.

Putting up a post every 5-6 weeks or less isn’t going to cut it. When your customers go by your page and see that no one’s doing anything there, it has the look and feel of a store where the doors are locked, the lights are out and everyone’s gone home. So light it up. But of course, don’t just post anything. Make your information useful and worthwhile. See #4.

4. You’re mixing up your posts.

Too many businesses make the mistake of posting the same information over and over and over again. Your fans will become numb to this approach. Mix it up and keep it interesting. Add photos. Share behind-the-scenes news. Call out job openings. Highlight your best employees. And to be frank, offer deals. 40% of all people like a brand or business on Facebook for access to special promotions. Make it worth their while. Finally, be interactive. It’s “social” media, not one-way media. Encourage dialog by asking questions and responding to what visitors are posting. See #7 for more on this one.

5. You’re regularly evaluating your Facebook Insights data.

Especially once you’ve built up a significant number of fans (minimally 30, but at least 100-200 for the information to be useful), you can start mining Facebook data for interesting insights that will help you refine your communications. Find out the age and gender of your fans. Learn where they’re geographically coming from. Discover what postings of yours they respond to best. Adapt accordingly.

6. You’ve got at least five relevant photos in your Facebook photo album.

A new feature, rolling out the month of this writing, is the highlighting of five random pictures from your photo album at the top of your page. Use this space to showcase new products, services, staff members or even advertisements. 

7. You’ve updated your posting filters to allow your fans’ comments to appear as well.

Many business make the mistake of not allowing everyone’s posts to appear on their Wall out of fear of seeing messages up there they’d rather not be visible. While these kinds of messages are counterproductive (especially those spams), they do tend to be rare. And there’s always your ability to click the upper-right “X” on a particular post to remove it. But the important thing to remember is that the best part of social media is that it is in fact social. Let your customers know you’re listening, even to the complaints. It shows your business cares, you’re open to feedback, and best of all, that you respond to it. Future customers will see these threads and understand that your business is much more than about simply making money. Show that. 

8. Sign-in as your Page.

Also with the latest update, you have the ability to “be your Page” by switching over under “Account”. Having done this, you can like other business Pages, so make sure you hunt down your partners in the market and exchange your support. Take advantage of your new identity to judiciously post as your Page on the pages of others to increase your brand’s visibility.

9. You’ve listed your Social Media presence on your website’s home page.

For many websites, having your visitors stop at the home page and moving on to other sites is not at all unusual. So you need to have all of the critical information up there, beyond your business’ contact info and general overview. Having links to your Facebook page and other social media sites will encourage others to discover you there and help build up your fan base. 

* * * * *

Of course, there are many other ways to leverage Facebook for your business, but these are definitely the 9 must-haves to help you maximize the time and effort you’re putting into this particular communication vehicle. Beyond those listed, think about what options would be best for both your particular industry segment and what will help you reach the short and long-term goals your business has established. 

What other must-haves would you add to this list?
 

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