By 10 September 2012 | Categories: news


Now more than ever, it is possible to turn a great idea or saleable skill into a successful business reality. Chris Anderson looks at how using Facebook effectively can help turn the tide for one-person businesses.

Small, one-person operations have been defined by the limitations of real-world challenges such as location, financing and marketing. Yet thanks to the far-widening influence of social media platforms with their user-friendly interfaces, growing a successful small business has never been easier. A good online professional reputation goes a long way to elevating that one unique skill into a successful solo enterprise.

Vital to this is understanding how to constructively use the tools available, together with the principles of basic marketing and common sense. Four simple, distinct ideas can initiate a strong online social media presence for any business or individual on Facebook – the most elementary and widely used online social platform.

1. Identity, Simplicity and Professionalism

A Facebook page’s first impression is its visual element. Profile photos will be attached to each post and every interaction, determining the identity of the company. Simplicity is key, especially on a tight budget. Logos must be easy on the eye and photos should be basic communicators of the company’s message and philosophy.

As important as visuals, the tone of the page’s text needs to be established early. To project a professional air, be aware of spelling, appropriate language and writing style. Everything from the name of the company, descriptions of services and products, to interactions with page followers should be consistent, whether the tone is strictly professional or more conversational. These two elements are key gateways to capturing audiences and retaining loyalty to your company’s services and products, and apply across all social media platforms.

2. Interaction, Consistency and Personalisation

Retaining interest in a Facebook page comes down to interaction with your audience. Creating talking points through posts, whether they are of your products/services or related, relevant outsourced material (i.e: YouTube videos, news links, etc.), is the best way of discovering the demographics of visitors to the page. The adaptable Facebook Questions app is a great informal survey to gain customer feedback.

Communication with visitors should be confident and professional, but avoid being stock answers. Personalising interaction with a potential customer base stays a step ahead of how corporate companies interact with client. Consistent, real interaction creates loyal customers. Even if you choose to make your business a faceless one, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be a voiceless one.

3. Content, Content, Content

To explain the significance of how content can make or break a Facebook page, criticism has recently being given to a local television network for the amount of irrelevant content, mostly image and video memes, posted on their fan page. Users don’t want yet another stream of useless information on their newsfeeds, and can quickly turn against a page that posts twenty LOLCats a day, without actually saying what the company does. Any potential customer will remember the company, if only to avoid it in the future.

Moderation in this area is vital. Posts of videos and news items, even a meme once in a while, can create a strong community feel and encourage interaction on the page, ultimately building a good reputation for a company. This is only true if the material is well chosen, relevant and professionally presented.

4. Plan, Promote and Evolve

Stagnation kills a Facebook fan page. The three ideas above can make the difference, but in order to reap full benefit of the Facebook outlet for your business, a page should be a significant part in basic marketing strategy, its importance on par with the nuts and bolts of the business. Its cultivation should be a daily routine: regular posts and updates, cross-promotion with other social media platforms to gain the largest audience possible; and continued interaction with the business’ best asset: the customer.

Facebook pages are evolving entities, affected by the trends and habits of users, and small businesses and self-promoting individuals must constantly adapt media strategies accordingly.

Article written by Chris Anderson and first appeared in the TechSmart SME Guide, to read or download here


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