Go to a business seminar, pick up a trade magazine, or buy the latest best seller in Amazon’s business category and the topic of Social Media is sure to be discussed at length.  And right or wrong, where a Social Media conversation is brewing, the subject of Facebook typically heads the list.   If you’re a small business owner, there’s a high probability that adapting the proper strategy and delegating the needed resources (time and money) have resulted in a hybrid mixture of confusion and frustration.  Add to this the ever changing environment that Facebook presents and when/if you do figure out the right formula, the platform will assuredly change, causing you to adjust and rethink your strategy.

Remember that Facebook was never intended to be a marketing or business tool.  So if you are looking to use it as such, you’re going to need a well-organized plan and keep in mind that as Facebook evolves, you’ll need to evolve with it.

Hints to help you formulate your business Facebook strategy:

Consider Using Your Personal Page Rather Than a Business Page.
If you are a small business or even a one-man-shop, then you are the face of the business.  Your “brand” is you!  Chances are you already do business with many of your friends and family members and people will probably be your Facebook friend before they will go to your business page and “Like” it.  If you want your message to be heard on this platform, you’ll reach more viewers if you are delivering it rather than your business.   Now I know that the voice in your head is saying not to mix business with personal on Facebook but the reality is that you can’t separate the two.

Perhaps the strongest case for using your personal page involves Facebook’s filtering practice.  Put simply, Facebook tracks your viewing habits and uses this information to block and/or permit status updates from appearing on your newsfeed.  Posts on a business page are far more likely to be filtered out and never reach the intended audience.   Bottom line…  information posted on your personal page will reach more people than posts on your business page.

No selling on FacebookDo Not Blatantly Try to Sell or Promote Your Services
Have you ever been to a party and met someone who only wants to talk about himself?  You probably spent most of the evening trying to get away from this person and then breathed a sigh of relief when they were gone.  Since Facebook is the world’s largest party, you need to have similar etiquette.  You wouldn’t walk into a room and immediately start handing out your business cards so treat Facebook the same.  Interact with people, provide them with useful information, ask and answer questions, but no one is there to buy from you or read about how great you are so save the promoting for another time.

Drive Traffic Back to Your Website or Blog
Businesses that see a positive ROI from Facebook are those that have become masters at driving traffic from their Facebook page to their company website or blog.   This means first creating compelling content on your website and then using captivating headlines and photos that encourage the reader to “click” and learn more.  By installing analytics on your website, you can track how many visits originate from Facebook.

Educate, Entertain, and Inform
If your Facebook post is doing one of these three things, readers are more apt to “like” and “share” your posts, which expands your audience and allows you to reach new people.  If not, then you’re not only missing the mark, but you could be losing followers and wasting your efforts.

Be Consistent and Committed
Nothing is worse for a business’s online marketing strategy than a Social Media account that never gets used or updated.  Understand that an effective Social Media strategy takes significant time and energy to build and develop.  Be ready to make a long-term commitment before you get started.