While no one questions the popularity of Facebook–it’s broken the 500 million user mark, and continues to grow like crazy–businesses are still trying to find the best ways to integrate it into their marketing approach.
Businesses that operate nationally or even globally can benefit from portions of the enormous user base across the board, but smaller, more locally based businesses must take a different approach. If your business relies on the physical presence of customers, you need to use Facebook to find people in your area who are interested in your services.
On the most basic level, an owner needs to develop a Facebook pages to promote the business. One of the keys to this approach is to post status updates that engage your customer base, while limiting actual sales pitches, special offers, and related content to about 10 percent of posts. The best way to alienate your customer base is to be pitching all the time–and half the time, or even a quarter of the time, is still too much. Develop a healthy, trusting relationship with your customers, and they’ll be happy to come to you with their business.
Status updates comprise the foundation of Facebook marketing, but there is an angle to these posts that many businesses still fail to use. Harnessing this tool can greatly improve your reach, especially in catching the eye of users who haven’t “Liked” you yet (and thus receive your posts in their timelines).
This process is called tagging. It’s a way to get your status updates onto various other popular pages–even if you have no direct affiliation with that page. Used intelligently (and appropriately, because you must take care not to abuse it), tagging can go along way to bringing in new customers.
Tagging is the process of hyperlinking to another Facebook page by placing the “@” symbol in front of a particular term that has its own page. The option is only available once you’ve already started following the page yourself–using the “friend request” option for personal pages, or the “Like” option for nonpersonal pages.
Once you’ve begun following various sites that are relevant to your businesses–or at least closely enough affiliated that you often can use their related terms in your status updates–your posts will pop up on their pages whenever you tag them. If you run a microbrewery, for example, there are many beer-related pages you can include in tags. People who follow that page will start becoming familiar with your posts, and if they like what they read, they’ll check out your page, and hopefully your website, and become customers.