Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at January 11th, 2018
How do you go about building a Facebook page for your small business, the right way, from the start?
You may have been in business for a number of years or months or days, or perhaps several. Nonetheless, for whatever reason, your small business is not on Facebook yet. Perhaps you’ve been swamped. Or possibly you, specifically, can’t stand Facebook and you don’t actually want to invest any time there.
Or you think you should employ the services of a person to take care of it, and it’s simply just not in the budget. And if you have to specifically administer it, it can feel a lot like an additional project is being loaded onto you.
Facebook is, by far, the biggest social media platform in the world. Statista (see: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/) keeps updated statistics about Facebook’s size. They also report on the Top 15 Countries using Facebook. See: https://www.statista.com/statistics/268136/top-15-countries-based-on-number-of-facebook-users/.
And yet another stat they keep is on Facebook reach in the United States, per age group. See: https://www.statista.com/statistics/187041/us-user-age-distribution-on-facebook/.
Putting all of this information together, one conclusion anybody can draw is this: Facebook is gigantic in the United States. And that means you have got to take it into consideration. You cannot leave it to chance.
So Facebook is where lots of people get plumbing contractor recommendations, make restaurant reservations, download soda promo codes, and check out blog posts from companies. It is in addition, the place where people consume a ton of web advertising content each and every day.
Also, you may find that even though you really don’t want a Facebook presence for your business, it could very well be there already. Really? Why?
This is because if your service or product is beloved, then your customers might want to commemorate that. And if your business has screwed up way too many times, they may be going onto Facebook to gripe about your business, as well as to warn people away.
You cannot dominate every part of the dialogue, nor should you try. Nevertheless, you can respond to the negatives with positives. You can have a presence to reply to inquiries or even put up a FAQ (frequently asked questions) in order that your clients don’t have to guess.
Essential information which includes your company’s location, telephone number, business hours, and a method of speaking to customer support, and a map or directions should be no-brainers.
Restaurants can upload their menus. Hardware stores can highlight their goods or maybe host an unpretentious ‘Ask the Handyman’ corner. Transportation companies can put up maps of where their truck drivers go. A pet store can set up a web cam for the fish tanks. The only limit is your creative thinking.
Want to do more? There are corporations which manage almost all of their customer support on the web. If you don’t want to, you can always at the very least offer a means of contact– but recognize that people might still want to have you handle customer service on the web.
You can use Facebook as a venue to reveal a new product line or that you’re opening a brand-new store location. You can supply vouchers to print, or tell the story of your company’s founding and how you got started.
The next section is about solving issues after they happen. But this one is about handling them before they even start.
Every single business in history will encounter some issue or another. And with the advent of social media, that possibility multiplies. Also, as a corollary to that, the means of broadcasting your problem to over a billion people is available to anyone. This means anyone with an axe to grind can come after your small business. And that is terrible!
Fortunately, Facebook can be a stellar way to manage your business’s reputation. How? By planning for the worst before it even happens. But how do you do that?
Think of the many, many ways that things can go wrong. Of course you can’t plan for every single eventuality.
But every business can have a stretch where their website is down. So write up the answer you will give, and where you will post it. And if this is a frequent problem, then maybe even consider a specific thread or note just to report outages.
Another problem any business can have is if the weather affects operations. Even businesses that are solely work from home ventures, only performed online, can get power outages or even be made to evacuate.
After these two general possible issues, consider the ones which could affect your business directly. Planning ahead will save your sanity later. And your customers will appreciate that you’re making an effort to keep them informed.
But then there’s what happens after the fact.
You may even find you are handling a social media or other emergency through Facebook. What happens if your hummus has listeria bacteria in it? What if your company building was flooded and records were lost? Or what if you need to lay off a lot people?
While you wouldn’t be announcing cutbacks on Facebook, you might need it as a place to respond to questions, as well as to assure customers that your business is still in business and trying to prosper, and you will hire those workers back when you can.
There are a great many choices for how to deal with a crisis online, but sweeping it under the rug and ignoring it is not an alternative. Hard problems can even bring down a small business, but having a plan in place will make things easier.
The middle of a panic and a crisis is not the time to start to think about creating a plan!
For this reason, you are going to need a meeting point. It has to be your business’s Facebook page. So here’s how to get started.
Why do you want one over another? Why does it matter?
Groups, as might be expected, allow for more discussion. But everybody is on a somewhat equal footing in regards to furnishing content. And if that is what you want, then certainly that is perfectly fine.
But if you are looking to only showcase your own wares, then a group is not going to help you much. Instead, your own posts will be lost in the shuffle of everybody else’s content and messaging.
As the administrator, however, you can clear away any discussions you do not wish to see. This can get cumbersome, plus you lose the entire discussions.
With a page, you are the site owner/administrator. You produce the content, that other folks respond to.
So this can include commenting, and those comments can include web links. If you want those comments and links removed, you can eliminate them. But this is a chore which is also bound to become monotonous. But at minimum the general discussions would continue. Your message will still be there.
We have all seen branding for our favorite commercial ventures, whether it is the shade of green for Starbucks and its product lines, or the use of a mascot/spokes-character like Flo from Progressive Insurance. Or it could be the backward ‘R’ in the old Toys ‘R’ Us store signs.
For your Facebook page, your internet site, your Twitter stream, and your background photo, it pays to brand these types of things. Branding can be understated, such as a color scheme, or more sophisticated, with the creation of a particular logo for your page.
Facebook is regularly altering the means of executing tasks, as it is continuously A/B testing. That is, it tests which design or color scheme, etc. gets you to click more.
Currently, the way to create a page is, select Pages on the left side of your feed then select Create a Page. Then pick out the page type that you really want. Include the full name of your enterprise and then click Get Started.
Seriously, it’s that simple.
For all of the planning and care that goes into starting a new small business, so many business owners leave Facebook to chance. They think it would be better to let it grow organically. Or maybe it’s something they’ll get around to… one of these years. It could even be that they, personally, aren’t into Facebook, so they think their customers and prospects aren’t, either.
All of these are errors. Facebook can be an awesome place to interact with customers, gather intelligence, spy on your competition, and solve problems. And you can advertise there, too, of course, and often for very little.
But ignoring it, much like a 300 pound gorilla, or the elephant in the room, is not going to make it go away.
So start building a Facebook page! Find out why so many companies are using this to improve their online presences.