It’s difficult to ignore the fact that there are 500 million users on Facebook. They all may not be relevant to you, your company, events, social media goals or objectives, but the sheer size of this community makes a viable case for having an effective presence there. If we use a mall analogy, as a business, your Facebook “like” page (formerly called a “fan” page) is a storefront to the world. It’s where others can learn about you, your likes, dislikes, activities, visually see your uploaded pictures, and get to know you from the discussions on your wall. (A note on security for personal pages: Much of what I’ve described above is only possible if you’ve set your privacy settings for others to in fact be able to see this info. I encourage you to share whatever you feel comfortable doing so, with your friends as well as the broader community.)
So, if Facebook is your storefront to the world, how are you merchandizing the unique value-add of your personal brand, company or event? Why should people “window-shop,” or better yet, “come in to browse” or “buy something?” Buying something, by the way, isn’t necessarily always transactional in products and services; it can also mean buying-in to your ideas, perspectives, charities and causes you care about, or events you plan, publicize or attend.
As such, here are five tips to enhance your Facebook presence/virtual storefront:
- Update your info. If you’ve ever been inside an old, musty store, you can tell it could use a good spring cleaning. The immediacy of social networking means that outdated info is no longer acceptable. Make sure you keep your profile and page updated, including your page images. Upload division logos, key campaign images or themes for upcoming meetings or events. They can’t buy from you if they can’t find your store!
- Update your wall. Way too many people spend time prettying up their pages, updating the Info, Photos and Notes tabs, but don’t proactively engage others visiting their “wall.” Wall updates are what others will see in their personal news feeds. So, if your wall isn’t getting updated, you’re not on their radar! Focus on writing compelling messages and encouraging your friends to comment, like or share your messages. In other words, put your best-looking clothes in the store window.
- Upload pictures and video. Rich media is considerably more engaging than simple text. People want to see pictures of you, themselves or other attendees and events as well as videos of your experiences. With cameras embedded in so many smartphones, it’s easy to grab interesting images through the prism of what you value and experience throughout the day. Many smartphones also can record short video clips. If you don’t have one, pick up a Flip video camera, which comes with its own video editing software and built-in USB connector; within a few minutes, videos can be edited on your computer and uploaded to YouTube. Create video that drives awareness and attendance for that next regional meeting, creates buzz for a business unit, includes attendee testimonials, or helps your executive team understand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into one of your meetings. Think of these as store “promos” that let customers know what’s new and why they should visit.
- Use insights. Did you know your Facebook page comes with a free analytical tool to tell you who’s on your page, their demographics (gender and age) and interaction statistics? The more you understand about the people who visit your page, the better you can customize the content to be something they’ll be interested in. Think of this as reviewing the daily sales reports of your store to understand what’s selling so you know what merchandise to put front and center as customers walk in.
- Share the value of your community. Too many people share information on what they’re doing, but few share great updates from their own communities. Have you ever seen a clothing store cross-merchandize shoes or accessories from another store to complete their window displays? It’s the same idea online – visit profiles of your Facebook friends and “like,” comment on, or share interesting posts from them. The good ones will enhance your visibility by association, help drive traffic and create buzz about your virtual storefront.
Remember, if you have a great store in the mall, but people can’t find you, don’t come in or buy anything, there’s a good chance you’ll go out of business. Facebook users spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on the site. How many are visiting your page? And what are you doing to nurture a value-based digital relationship with them?
For more social networking best practices tips, follow me on Twitter @davidnour.