Hello and welcome to the late-night edition of Small Business Sunday! I thought now would be as good a time as any to write an article about how small businesses can use Facebook to build their brand online. Facebook is one of those tools that can so easily be misunderstood and therefore not used. What most businesses might not realize is that companies small and large are using Facebook every single day to engage with customers, connect with new customers, and build their brand. No, it’s not all about telling your customers what you ate for breakfast or your favorite color, it’s about giving them what they want.
So let’s start with step one – create a Facebook Fan Page for your brand. Every single serious brand out there needs a fan page. People should be able to easily become a fan by visiting just about any page within your website. Facebook gives you lots of great free tools for building widgets that make it easy to allow people to become a fan and interact with your brand directly on your website. If you’re already getting a nice flow of traffic to your site it shouldn’t take long for you to get a few hundred fans which is all you need to really start making an impact.
Next it’s time to do something useful with your Fan Page and I recommend creating a custom page. While it’s great to have users interact on your wall you’ll also want to have a standard landing page that visitors come to when they visit your page. This is your chance to define exactly what your visitors see when they visit your page, give them something other than your wall – point them towards your most interest product, service, or even an upcoming offer. This may sound hard, but it’s not – in fact you can read a tutorial here about how to create a custom Facebook fan page in five minutes.
Finally it’s time to make your brand the talk of the town. Run a contest, it can be for something small like a $50 gift card, but make the entry in the contest something social. One great way to start is to ask for photos, quotes, answers to a question, etc. Something simple that will make people want to interact. Just think about it, why wouldn’t one of your fans take a minute to answer a quick question or share a photo if they could win something? They’re already a fan, they know who you are, now it’s time to give them the chance to interact with you. This interaction is critical – don’t just do it once, continue to do everything you can to connect with your fans. This will only build loyalty, grow your fan-base, and most importantly build your brand.