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93% of all American
adult internet users are now on Facebook. While this is not a surprising statistic for anyone that has fielded a friend request from their mom, aunt or even grandpa, it does make it harder for small businesses to ignore Facebook as a platform to engage their target demographic. The argument that a business targets an older or less tech savvy demo than Facebook users just doesn’t hold water any longer.
Businesses without a Facebook presence are not just passing up a valuable opportunity to engage their customers, provide customer service, and gain new consumers; they're falling behind. But just being on Facebook and setting up a business page isn’t enough. A Facebook presence must be maintained and used strategically to add real value to your brand.
Enter Josh Unfried speaker at The Social Media Club of Sacramento's recent workshop, “Advanced Facebook for Business”. Unfried, the CEO of WindFarm Online Marketing, spent almost two hours teaching SMCSac members, many of whom run or work for local businesses, how to take their Facebook presence to the next level. In addition to the obvious benefits of improving customer connections, staying top of mind, driving sales through promotions and increasing visibility, Unfried asserts that Facebook is now allowing businesses to "transform customer service into marketing".
"Everyone is now able to watch how you handle a complaint, or answer a question," points out Unfried. "For those that give great customer service this is a tremendous opportunity. For those that don't, the consequences can be equally negative."
Once Unfried covered the benefits and FAQs of using Facebook, the advanced tips started to fly. Even those in the room who had seemed relatively smug about their Facebook skills were soon scrawling notes and asking in depth questions. Unfried walked through the steps of setting up a business page, not because most hadn't already done it, but because, he wagered, not all of them had done it as well as they could have. A few lesser known gems:
Once the page is set up and ready to go, its time for the most important tool your Facebook page offers: engagement with your fans. Unfried spent a fair amount of time reiterating that engagement is key to successful Facebook marketing efforts. Increased engagement with your fans not only endears your brand to those you're engaging with, it keeps your posts higher in their news feed. The 'Top News' feed posts are ranked by which posts users are interacting with most. An engaged discussion with many comments and likes will keep your brand at the top of your 'fans' news feeds for much longer than it might otherwise.
"Does this inform? Does it inspire? Does it entertain? Does it connect?" he asks. "Ask yourself this before you post from your page."
And don't discount the "magic of randomness". Unfried shared an example of a client that is family dentist in Roseville. The most popular post shared on their wall was simply, "What color is your toothbrush?" Something about the question proved to be irresistible to the dentist's fans. The dentist was able to stay top of mind for each of their Facebook fans as they read and debated toothbrush colors. That single post allowed the dentist to remain at the top of the Top News feed for several days.
Tidbits such as these just scratch the surface of the (over) 90 minute presentation. Workshop attendees were so engaged, that as
Unfried noticed his time running low with some great content still to cover, the audience urged him to continue past his allotted time in order to glean more Facebook wisdom. When one member asked how to convert a personal profile to a business page, Unfried directed those interested to his detailed blog post on the subject, as it was more than time allowed.
Other topics covered in the workshop included growing your Facebook presence, Facebook ads, engaging other businesses, connecting Facebook to your website and more. To see Josh Unfried's Advanced Facebook for Business presentation in its entirety watch the archived UStream.
This 80 person event, which included food provided by Ten 22, beverages by Chic-fil-a, and prizes from the Sacramento Business Journal, was open to members of the SMCS and the general public. SMCSac simply requested a $10 donation to help the club continue to organize events and workshops about various social media topics. For more information about upcoming Social Media Club, Sacramento events, follow @SMCSac on Twitter. To attend the July 12th SMCSac event, register for Social Media & Motherhood on Eventbrite.com.
Disclosure: Megan Emmerling is a member of Social Media Club of Sacramento