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  • Using Facebook to Market Your Website and Business

    If it seems like “everyone” is on Facebook nowadays, that’s not far from the truth: There are currently 500 million active users of the social networking site, and that number is growing every day.

    Social media marketing is hot, and it’s important to get past any reluctance you may have and consider how you can use these sites to further your business goals. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and even LinkedIn and Craigslist provide a golden opportunity to reach your target audience. And the best part is, it’s cheap or even free.

    For example, if Facebook users “Like” your business or page, any posts or status updates you make there will show up in their Facebook News Feed. It’s like advertising directly to your target audience for free, again and again.

    But be careful not to abuse this captive audience opportunity. Facebook users can and do “unfriend” or “unlike” too-frequent posters in just one click. Try to alternate pitch-type posts with helpful or fun posts.

    Most people like social networking sites because they want to interact with other people. One way to come across as more genuine is to actually BE genuine. A business can feel like a real person on Facebook, because there is a real person behind each post. Your Facebook friends (customers) feel engaged and appreciated, which builds business and loyalty. If you don’t have the time or interest to manage your company’s Facebook page, delegate it to a trusted staffer who can serve as “page curator.”

    Facebook users also relish the chance to give immediate feedback to a company, right there on its Facebook page, and even receive a comment back. (Decide ahead of time if your strategy will include deleting negative comments or letting them stand.)

    Another thing Facebook users love is free stuff. Plan Facebook-based contests and giveaways. You could:

    Ask people to post pictures of themselves enjoying your product in an unusual locale. The best one (chosen by you or Friend comments) wins something.
    Have Facebook-only specials. For example, announce that breakfasts are two-for-one to anyone who uses the code word “Facebook” at your restaurant the next day.
    Offer a coupon that’s only available via Facebook. Customers have to Like your page to access it. (Just upload it as an image to your Photos page.)
    Ask people to leave comments on a status update you’ve posted, sharing their favorite way to use your product, the flavor they like most or the best blog post you’ve written. A few hours or days later, use a randomizer to pick a winner from among the comments.
    Whether you set up your company’s Facebook presence as a business Page that can be “Liked,” or an entity that can be “Friended” (the latter has a cap on the number of friends), try to keep it separate from any personal Facebook profile you might have. Be sure to create a custom URL so your business is at www.Facebook.com/yourbusiness rather than a series of numbers. Also, make sure that you, as the business owner, have ultimate control of the page and its passwords. And read Facebook’s terms of use to make sure you’re not falling afoul of them.

    Don’t think of social media as an “extra” tool in your advertising and marketing arsenal. Give it the attention it deserves and you can build business while you’re building an online following. Even if you’re not a particularly social person, you’ve got to network – it’s how you thrive in business. And now Facebook and other social media platforms give you the opportunity to get the face of your business in front of thousands, if not millions, of people quickly.

    I’ve upped the offer: reply to any post and you’ll be entered to win a SiteHatchery.com t-shirt PLUS a $25 gift card to Starbucks!

    Posted by: Sitehatchery.com – a Chico web design company providing web design and development services nationwide.

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