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Using Facebook to Market Your Chicago Business

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Traveling in Facebookistan: A Guide for Businesses

With nearly 10 billion users, Facebook is easily the most well known social network in the world. If Facebook were a country with a seat at the U.N., it would have the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook (should we call it Facebookistan?) has its own unique customs and norms, and you must understand and respect them in order to capitalize on the site’s potential as a tool for promoting and expanding your small business. Whenever I see local businesses faceplant on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t invest the time to understand Facebookistan’s customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook distinct from other social networks? It’s that users have strong ties with one another. They are linked to their best friends, their family members, their in-laws as well as their long-lost friends from grade school. They share intimate aspects of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • High school graduation footage
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements

The upshot for businesses? They have to be conscientious and careful in their approach. You can’t use the old kinds of one-way, direct-response marketing on Facebook, since people aren’t there to hear sales pitches. They’re not in a buying mindset. They’re in a socializing mindset. You have to respect that.

Keep it real (for real)

If you are hoping to port the old model of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. “With Facebook, business owners of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokesperson. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, so if your small business is not being authentic or engaging with users in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

Don’t be fooled: It’s meant to be hard

Marketing on Facebook is amazingly effective. But it’s also very hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it right. Many businesses assume that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. But it really takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make outrageous promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence—which takes time. However the payback is definitely worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of companies engaged in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of engagement, as per a study from Social Media Examiner.

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