Facebook Pages level the playing field for small business

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Few small business owners and entrepreneurs have the bandwidth or the budget to launch a full scale marketing campaign. Combine this with a lack of critical mass in terms of audience associated with the larger competing organisations/brands, and it almost seems hopeless to try and compete.

However, with the dawn of the digital age and the rise of social media platforms and opportunities, the sky has quite literally become the limit. It is no longer just about having the traditional above-the-line campaigns spanning across radio, TV and print, but about creating an online brand presence, about having a conversation, about listening and responding in real time to customers, potential customers and even potential detractors.

A truly successful social media strategy is one that is not based on talking to every man, but developing a specific and personal customer and audience experience.

There is no doubt that the current platform of choice for a two way, tailored communications experience online, is Facebook. And more specifically, a Facebook Page is the first line of communication for an aspirational organisation.

Using Starbucks, as an example of a brand with one of the most successful Facebook Pages, here are some tips and considerations, for maximising impact and delivering value, for a company of any size.

  1. Know your brand personality –- know who you are and what your brand stands for, maintain a standard “language” and tone that you use when interacting and ensure that this resonates across all your audience interactions.
  2. Understand your audience – know who are you talking to, what makes them tick, what kind of information they use and re-use, what media they consume and who do they talk to.
  3. Don’t SPAM -– instead of putting out marketing collateral, share content that is interesting and relevant to your industry, topic and audience.
  4. Make time – to post relevant information, to respond to comments and queries posted to your Facebook Page and to really get under the skin of your audience.
  5. Listen – to the conversations not only on your Facebook Page, but on other blogs, newsfeeds and other Facebook Pages in order to ensure that when you do respond, it isn’t mid-stream or out of context.

Once you have these five elements buttoned down, Facebook has made the nuts and bolts of creating a Facebook Page ridiculously. Log into your Facebook account, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the step-by-step guide to setting up your page and gaining access to more than 500 million people around the world.

Your challenge — to sift through these half a billion people and make sure the right people “Like” your Facebook Page.

And unlike traditional above-the-line advertising, which can sometimes feel like a bit of a hit-and-miss approach to reaching your target audience, Facebook advertising is audience customisable. By deploying a customised advertising campaign, you are able to eliminate what marketing and advertising folks call ‘wastage’, resulting in a more cost effective and tangible campaign.

Don’t forget — a social media strategy should be a dynamic and interactive audience and consumer interaction. The conversation with your customers is never truly ‘completed’.

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