When it started, Facebook seemed to be this innocuous little plaything, a social media platform useful for catching up with friends cross-country, or spying on old high school crushes. Nowadays, however, Facebook has turned into one of the most powerful (free!) marketing tools out there for businesses, all the way from huge mega-corporations like Walmart, all the way down to the simplest mom and pop shops or work at home moms.
If you don’t have a Facebook business page set up already, even if it’s just for your home photo studio or your kitchen table craft endeavors, here are a few reasons why taking the quick & easy plunge makes perfect sense for your business, diaper-related or otherwise!
1. Facebook is one of the most accessed media platforms on the planet
– over 600 million people are signed up to use Facebook worldwide
– in any given day, 50% of active users sign on to their Facebook accounts
– 48% of young Americans say they find out news from Facebook, and the same percentage report checking Facebook immediately upon waking in the morning
– in 20 minutes on Facebook, 1 million links are shared and 10 million comments are made
– the average user spends 55 minutes on Facebook every day
– the average user is connected to 80 fan or community pages, groups and events
2. Facebook will expand your business outside of your local niche
Whether geographically or in an online setting, all business hit a stand-still where they have maximized the amount of business potential that they can gain from the one niche area they are located in. Perhaps you sell diaper covers or crafts at your local farmer’s market but see the same 200 people pass you by every week. Or, maybe you have an online shop that gets the same handful of fans wandering by on bookmarks or message board links periodically. Facebook is the number one way to expand your target audience. With 70% of its users located outside of the United States, Facebook can take your tiny little homegrown business into something that can cross borders (if only for word of mouth exposure and popularity, if nothing else!). With fan pages linking up to one another (and pages getting publicly ‘liked’ by users, too), people are bound to ‘stumble’ upon your Facebook page far more frequently than they would your website, which may not even show up in the top 10 pages of Google’s search results. Throw your Facebook link and name out there from time to time, and watch your number of fans steadily (and speedily!) creep up, expanding the borders of the clientele you can reach.
3. Facebook is mobile
Of Facebook’s 600 million users, 250 million of them currently access Facebook through a mobile device such as the mobile version of the website, or an app specifically designed for their smartphone. This makes Facebook truly accessible wherever, whenever. Though many people prefer not to browse full websites on their smartphones (the type can be too hard to read, or they may load improperly), they will log in to check their Facebook friend and fan page updates literally anywhere from the train to behind their work desk to on the toilet! Connecting with your fans and colleagues over Facebook means they’re fully accessible at all times of the day and night, even when they normally wouldn’t be checking your website or blog for regular updates. Aside from the people who will be accessing your fanpage, it also becomes very easy for you to update your own fanpage even when you’re out and about and on the go, with nothing but your phone to help you keep in touch with your clients and fans.
4. Facebook fanpages are customizable
Once you’ve set up a basic fan page (with info, photos, and your wall), it then becomes very easy to begin integrating other tabs that are useful for your business. How about adding a welcome page, or a contact tab, where folks can send you an email directly from you fan page? There are contest tabs, special archiving and database tabs, as well as games, discussions forums, art apps, and more. Overall, people on Facebook install 20 million applications every day, which shows people are open to and are savvy to apps, just another new wave of social media.
5. Give your fans another chance to shop with you directly
With all the apps and customizations available to your fan page, it should come as no surprise that even Etsy shops and Hyena Cart stores can be integrated directly into your Facebook fan page. For the lazy (or confused) shopper, this makes buying from you simpler and more convenient. Since Etsy and Hyena cart themselves are also pretty much next to free ways to promote yourself, this combination is a terrific duo for the small business mom or pop who wants to peddle their handmade wares online.
6. Fan pages have perks that personal pages do not
Technically, it is part of Facebook policy that businesses and organizations are not permitted to use personal accounts and run them as fan pages (for example, first name “Everything”, last name “Cloth”). However, with fan pages being so simple to run and having so many perks to personal accounts, it really doesn’t make sense why anyone would prefer the former to the latter. For example, personal pages cap out your friend limit at 5000, whereas there is no limit to how many fans you can rack up on a fanpage. Personal pages will require you to send friend requests and approvals to link up with clients, whereas fan pages give people the open ability to link themselves up by ‘liking’ you page directly. Fan pages can be integrated into websites with ‘like boxes’ and other features, and they create a real sense of community rather than just a one-on-one connection.
7. Google crawls Facebook fan pages
Worth mentioning on its own is the face that having a Facebook fan page will help boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because Google bots regularly crawl Facebook fan pages for data. That means that if people are out there searching for targeted information or ar plugging your business name into the search box, your Facebook page will turn up in the results as well. This is great (free!) exposure!
8. Facebook is constantly improving the use of their fan pages
Fan pages are constantly evolving, changing, and receiving updates and new additions. Facebook has come up with new ways of displaying tabs and apps, as well as new ways of managing your fan page (you can now comment as your page and receive notifications directly as the page owner). Commenting as your page allows you to gain even more connections and exposure opportunities for your business name.
9. Facebook fan pages make you approachable, accessable, and allow for direct, public interaction with fans and clients
By ‘liking’ a favorite company, brand, or business on Facebook, clients are now able to feel importantly connected with the names they love. They are no longer just a nameless number to the corporation; they become a named fan who can interact freely with this business, whether large or small. Fans strike up conversations with you or other fans directly on your wall, starting a real sense of community. You can respond back within seconds by liking or commenting on their posts, making them feel truly heard and validated. The most successful fan pages foster a real sense of community and camaraderie, making their page a real destination on Facebook that people will check into several times daily. Involve your fans enough, and they’ll start word-of-mouth advertising for you, without you even having to ask. Facebook allows all its users to tag one another in mentions and posts, including fan pages. So, if you do a good enough job impressing your clientele, you’ll start to see your name cropping up all over the place (and there’s nothing a business likes more than that!).
10. Triangulate your fan page to direct traffic to your other pages and profiles
Once you have peoples’ loyalty on Facebook, why not farm out some of that traffic to your other sites and profiles? Remind them of your username (and posts) on Twitter, and chances are they’ll wander over and get connected there, too. Link to blog posts as they come up, and solicit feedback via Facebook comments instead of just blog comments. Integrating all your media and pages seamlessly into one another will maximize the strength of your online presence and sense of community.
So, are you jumping out of your seat ready to sign up for a fan page of your very own all of a sudden? Click here to sign in with Facebook and create a fan page of your very own!