Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at October 13th, 2017
How do you tackle creating a Facebook page?
You may have been in business for a few years or months or days, or even several. Yet, for whatever reason, your small business is not on Facebook yet. Perhaps you’ve been busy. Or possibly you, specifically, can’t stand Facebook and you don’t truly want to spend any time there.
Or you feel you need to hire someone else to handle it, and it’s simply just not in the budget. And if you have to directly deal with it, it can feel a lot like one more project is being loaded onto you.
Facebook is, by far, the largest social media platform in the world. Statista (see: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/) keeps updated stats 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 statistic 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 anyone can draw is this: Facebook is huge in the United States. And that means you have got to take it into consideration. You cannot leave it to chance.
One point regarding Facebook is that it has ended up being so widespread that it is virtually what the old yellow pages used to be.
So Facebook is where most people get plumbing company referrals, make restaurant reservations, find soft drink coupon codes, and read blog posts from companies. It is in addition, the place where people consume a ton of web advertising copy every single day.
Also, you may discover that even if you do not want a Facebook presence for your company, it could very well be there already. Really? Why?
This is for the reason that if your service or product is well-liked, then your clients might wish to celebrate that. And if your business has goofed up way too many times, they may be going onto Facebook to make a complaint about your small business, and even to warn people away.
You cannot direct every facet of the conversation, nor should you try. Nonetheless, you can counter the negatives with positives. You can have a presence to answer inquiries or even put up a FAQ (frequently asked questions) in order that your clients don’t have to speculate.
Standard information just like your company’s location, number, business hours, and a means of getting in touch with customer support, and a map or directions should be no-brainers.
Restaurants can add their menus. Hardware stores can showcase their goods or perhaps host a modest ‘Ask the Handyman’ corner. Trucking companies can put up maps of where their drivers go. A pet store can set up a web cam for the fish tanks. The only limit is your ingenuity.
Want to do more? There are companies which deal with pretty much all of their customer support on the web. If you don’t want to, you can always at least present a means of contact– but realize that people could still want to have you manage customer service on the internet.
You can use Facebook as a place to reveal a new product line or that you’re opening a brand new store location. You can provide coupons to print, or tell the story of your company’s beginning and how you got started.
The next section is about solving problems after they happen. But this one is about handling them before they even start.
Every single business in history will encounter some problem or another. And with the advent of social media, that possibility multiplies. Plus 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 stinks!
Fortunately, Facebook can be a great way to manage your business’s reputation. How? By planning for the worst before it even happens. But how do you do that?
Consider the many, many ways that things can go wrong. Of course you can’t plan for every single eventuality.
But every company can have a stretch where their website is down. So write up the response 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 issue any business can have is if the weather affects operations. Even businesses that are solely work from home ventures, only operated online, can get power outages or even be made to evacuate.
After these two general possible problems, consider the ones which could affect your company 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 might even find you are dealing with a social media or other problem through Facebook. What happens if your hummus has listeria bacteria in it? What if your company building was flooded and records were destroyed? And 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 address questions, as well as to ensure customers that your business is still in business and aiming to grow, and you will hire those employees back when you can.
There are a lot of choices for how to take care of a crisis on the net, but sweeping it under the rug and ignoring it is not an option. Hard problems can even bring down a company, but having a plan in place will make things easier.
The middle of a panic and a crisis is not the time to think about having a plan!
For that reason, you are going to need a meeting point. It ought 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, enable more discussion. But everybody is on a somewhat equal footing in when it comes to furnishing web content. And if that is what you want, then naturally that is perfectly fine.
But if you are looking to only sell your own items, then a group is not going to help you that much. Instead, your own messages will be lost in the shuffle of everyone else’s content and messaging.
As the administrator, though, you can eliminate any discussions you do not wish to see. This can get wearisome, plus you lose the entire discussions.
By having a page, you are the site owner/administrator. You create the content, which in turn others respond to.
So this can involve commenting, and those comments can include web links. If you want those comments and links gone, you can get rid of them. But this is a project which is also bound to become tedious. But at minimum the overall discussions would continue. Your information will still exist.
We have all observed branding for our favorite commercial endeavors, whether it is the shade of green for Starbucks and its products, or making 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 signage.
For your Facebook page, your business website, your Twitter stream, and your background photo, it’s a good idea to brand these items. Branding can be understated, such as a color scheme, or more cutting edge, with the creation of a specific logo for your page.
Facebook is always altering the means of performing tasks, as it is continuously A/B testing. That is, it tests which layout or color scheme, etc. gets you to click more.
Currently, the way to make a page is, click on Pages on the left side of your feed and then click on Create a Page. Then select the page type that you want. Include the full name of your business and then click Get Started.
Truly, it’s that simple. Now go make a Facebook page!
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… eventually.
It could even be that they aren’t into Facebook, so they think their customers and prospects aren’t, either.
All of these are mistakes. Facebook can be an incredible 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 creating a Facebook page! Find out why so many companies are using this to improve their online presences.