Between Joanie and I, we tend to get a lot of requests for interviews about social media marketing and web PR for businesses. Earlier today, a reporter interviewed me about how companies in the wedding industry can use social media marketing to increase their sales. I passed it off to Joan Barrett, our resident Facebook guru, and she gave some really good responses.

So, I decided to rewrite the questions and answers to be more general purpose, and this is what we came up with: a brief guide to marketing with Facebook, in question/answer format:

Q: Once a Facebook page has been created, how can a company make the most of it?

A Brief Guide to Marketing with FacebookDon’t force a conversation by asking your followers to specifically comment on your updates. Instead, update your page with interesting links and commentary about topics related to your industry. News items, celebrity anything and interesting facts related to your industry are always good things to share. The key is to make sure you’re not just spamming your friends and fans with offers and links back to your business site.

It’s also important to get in on conversations yourself, to keep yourself in plain sight of potential and current customers. If somebody posts a funny status message, don’t be afraid to “like” it. Be friendly, and remember that Facebook can be a huge asset when it comes to web PR.

Q: How can I make my page as visible as possible, without spending money on Facebook ads?

Although it’s important to be active in relevant groups and fan pages, it’s even more important that Facebook users are able to find you – even when they don’t know they’re looking for you in particular.

Like you optimize your website for SEO, you also want to optimize your Facebook pages for certain keywords, too. Make sure your “Info” tab is filled out with your location information, which will help local people find your business. The Mission and Overview sections should be full of product-based keywords, which will help people searching for the types of products you sell find you.

The About section at the top of your page is good for getting your message across in a handful of characters – make sure it’s well-written, conveys what you do and entices them to stay on your page (and ultimately go to your website and make a purchase). Optimizing your pages correctly is a huge first step in marketing with Facebook.

Q: How can e-tailers use Facebook to build customer loyalty?

These days, a Facebook page is a significant portion of a company’s online presence – you can’t just rely on your website. By keeping your page filled with useful and entertaining information, you can build a reputation of being an enjoyable company (plus, you stay in front of your customer base).

Encourage happy customers to write a testimonial on your Facebook page (and maybe even provide some sort of incentive to encourage them to do so). Your friends and fans will see the positive reviews, and you’ll be viewed as a more legitimate online business. The best web PR comes in the form of legitimate customer testimonials, so do whatever you can to incorporate them into your social media marketing strategy.

Q: What are some of the common mistakes businesses make when marketing with Facebook?

There are five big mistakes business make when marketing with Facebook: posting too many updates, not spell/grammar checking their content and updates, having an unkempt page, excessive self promotion and not varying the content enough.


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