I have lost count of the ways Facebook made waves this year. They crossed 1 billion users, introduced their new Timeline for both private users and business pages, had a not so successful public issue, compromised user privacy by displaying personal messages etc., not necessarily in that order.
But they created headlines, one way or the other. And headlines translate to publicity and heightened brand awareness.
Facebook’s scheduling features made social media management easy for many business owners and managers. Their Promote features caused a lot of mixed reactions.Desperate to generate a revenue stream, Facebook tried to monetize a lot of features, and made controversial changes to their Edgerank algorithm. People the world over suddenly started seeing fewer updates from friends. Page Statistics for fan pages plunged to all time lows.
As 2012 draws to an end, and bloggers and gurus do their annual roundups and 2013 predictions, the question that is topmost is many small business owners’ minds is this – is Facebook no longer our friend?
Should you drop Facebook from your social marketing mix, and ‘friend’ some other new kid on the block?
For a simple answer, let’s check how many users Facebook has – Over 1 billion. Over 1 billion!
That number is only going to go up. Just as there is no free lunch, you cannot expect any business to run on fumes forever once their gas tank is empty ( that is after they run out of funds). Business 101 taught us that the purpose of any business is to make profit.
Why not give Facebook the benefit of doubt, and focus on what they do offer you – free or paid.
Here is a brief roundup of our Facebook posts in 2012. If you’re just getting started with Facebook for your business, this could be a great primer. If you spent time and money building up a Facebook page but are not so happy with it right now, this is a good recap of what potential you have with your Facebook page.
Getting started with an attractive Facebook fan page
We got down to the nitty gritties showing you how to set up an outstanding business page on Facebook.
How to Create a Facebook Business or Fan page was one of our first posts after we launched in June 2012. It is a detailed step by step account of how you can set up a Facebook business page, and the things you should populate for maximum benefit.
Facebook rolled out its Timeline for business pages sometime in March 2012. This mandated a similar structure and look and feel for most pages, leaving only certain areas to be customized.
Facebook Timeline for Business gives you 10 ways you can enhance your Timeline to attract more fans and engage them. Have you tried them all yet?
We explained why getting a vanity URL was beneficial for your business with Why You Need a Facebook Vanity URL. We went on to walk you through the various steps needed to do this with How To Get Your Custom or Vanity Facebook URL.
Growing your business with Facebook
There are skeptics out there who are still not convinced they need a website. It follows that people will doubt that a friend network will affect the bottom line of their business. Can Facebook really boost your business addressed some of these questions and outlined ways in which you could get the most out of Facebook fan pages.
Our post Why Our Facebook Business Page Needs Your Likes! stressed how a ‘Like’ was mutually beneficial to both the business owner and customers. We highlighted a rare perspective here – Page Likes not only provide insight to a business owner, but also cheer and motivate.
Too much or Too little? Your Facebook Content Strategy
After setting up a fan page, engaging your fans is the next step. How many times do you talk to them? Several times a day, every day, every week, or what? Our post With Facebook, How Many Updates Are Too Many? gave you five different strategies for customer engagement.
We suggested posting frequency for certain types of businesses, and the highlight here was ‘There is no fixed formula’. This was echoed by our most important strategy outlined here – evaluating insights. Since every business is unique, we suggested you analyze your past statistics to check for any recurring patterns.
This is applicable today too, in spite of any changes Facebook may have made to your Reach.
Facebook Advertising – What the fuss is all about
Long before Promoted Posts rolled out, Facebook ads – the ones that you see in your sidebar – were the avenue for paid promotion. Our post Why Your Facebook Ad Needs an Objective outlined the need for a well defined purpose for an ad. With the same post, we also went into a detailed explanation of the two high level objectives you could have for your Facebook ad, namely clicks to certain landing pages or just building a fan base.
We showed you the essential components of a killer Facebook ad with our post How to Create a killer Facebook Ad – The 4 step quickie!. The four components of an ad highlighted here are actually universal, and can be applied to any campaign you undertake, whether it is via conventional media or social media.
We dissected Facebook ads and gave you a complete breakdown on how you could exploit every feature provided by Facebook to generate a large fan base with 10 Ways to get more Fans with Facebook Ads.
We told all about Promoted Posts in our post Facebook Promoted Posts – What, How, When, Why. This post outlined differences and advantages of promoted posts over unpaid posts and paid ads giving business owners a clear picture of when it was the right strategy for them. The short window of opportunity was the highlight here, so was the potential for reaching mobile users.
Facebook and your business in 2013
I hope I have put forward a strong case in favor of Facebook. To say that they had an eventful 2012 would be an understatement. If you have spent time and money building up your Facebook page, ditching it for the next shiny new thing is not prudent.
Do you intend to be the business owner who squeezes the most free features out of every tool out there, and then starts over with the next free tool? If so, its time to open your eyes and accept that nothing is free! Your time is valuable and hence translates to money every time.
You need to make Facebook a part of your marketing mix, and allocate a fixed amount of money to it – whether it is $100 or $5000. I am not asking you to put all your eggs in one basket. But a certain percentage of your total advertising dollars.
You will need to track your results to see what return you get out of your investment. And for this you will need a complete end to end strategy for capturing website stats and sales data. Tools like Hubspot provide this kind of functionality.
As we end 2012, and move to 2013, I advocate Facebook for business for the same reason I embraced it – the potential to go viral worldwide!
[author_image timthumb='on'] http://rightmixtech.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/KKAbout.jpg[/author_image]
Pragati assists clients in leveraging technology to meet their business goals and establish a strong brand presence on the Internet. She strongly advocates collaboration and knowledge sharing and encourages people to think of long term strategy while increasing their online footprint.
Co-founder at RightMix Technologies, Pragati is currently busy meeting the various demands of a startup.
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