Whether you love it or hate it, Facebook is here to stay and it can be an integral part of your small business’s marketing strategy in 2017. Creating a unique Facebook page for your small business is the first step in gaining access to over 1.3 billion of Facebook’s registered users, many of whom are looking for businesses just like yours.
With an established website, blog and Facebook page, there are several effective strategies you can implement to build your business’s visibility to potential customers and convert those impressions into sales.
Getting started with Facebook.
Creating a Facebook page for your small business is a very easy process and takes less than 10 minutes to do correctly. If you’re already a Facebook user, the process is even easier if you create the page through your profile.
Simply click on the “Create Page” button in the left hand section of your home page and follow the step-by-step instructions. You’ll most likely want to choose the “Company, Organization or Institution” option when setting up your company’s page but the other options may fit your needs better.
The best part of creating a Facebook page is that it opens up a ton of options for you in regards to marketing strategies for your consulting business, both directly through Facebook and via other mediums as well such as your blog. The more connections you can make with prospective clients, the more likely you are to convert them into paying customers. Examples of effective
Facebook strategies for your business include the following.
• The opportunity to posts pictures, blog articles and relevant news about your business.
• The opportunity for clients and prospective clients to “Like” your business.
• The opportunity for current and prospective clients to ask questions and leave feedback on your Facebook page.
• The opportunity for friends, family, associates and clients to “Share” your page and updates.
• The opportunity to “promote” your page and individual posts with Facebook’s paid advertising program.
• The opportunity to comment on other Facebook pages similar to yours.
• The opportunity to boost your company’s web presence through organic internet searches.
• The opportunity to connect with other consultants and business owners in your niche, industry or market.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these strategies below.
Posting relevant news and insights.
Perhaps the most useful feature of having a Facebook page is the ability to post frequent updates about your business including recent news and insights. A perfect example might be posting one of your most recent articles about a particular topic you’re an expert in. The more informative your Facebook posts are, the more likely they are to be shared by the people following your page. A great example of this strategy is Coastal K9 Consulting, LLC’s use of their Facebook page. The company specializes in K9 training services including basic obedience, puppy development and Police K9 selection. In addition to frequently posting updates about their products and services, the owners post public service reminders about pet safety and wellbeing that are frequently shared (and re-shared) by the company’s Facebook followers. Each share is a potential connection made with that user’s Facebook friends.
Earning “Likes” for your page.
When you create a Facebook page for your business, you give friends, family, associates, clients and prospective clients the opportunity to “Like” your page. Each one of these “Likes” acts as a sort of social media endorsement that affects how prospective clients can view the credibility of your business. The more “likes” you have, the more established your business may seem to potential clients. If you continually update your business’s Facebook page with interesting and useful information, people will naturally start liking your page. Another option that I’ve seen people have a lot of success with is to offer “giveaways” to people who like your page. A buddy of mine owns a successful firewood processing business in Maine. He held a contest where anyone who “Liked” and “Shared” his business’s page was eligible to win one of his company’s sweatshirts. It may sound cheesy but it worked.
Comments and feedback.
Another advantage to having a Facebook page for your business is offering current and prospective clients the opportunity to ask questions and post comments about your business. Obviously, you need to be careful how you respond to negative comments on your Facebook page, but overall you’ll likely experience a net gain by encouraging and responding to thoughtful comments.
“Exploiting” friends and family.
You’d be surprised how willing your friends and family will be to “share” your business’s website and Facebook page on their own Facebook profiles. This is another great opportunity to reach a wider audience (your family and friend’s Facebook friends) and increase your chances of making a connection with a potential client. It’s also a great opportunity to gain more “Likes” for your business’s page. You only get one chance to make this first impression (your friends will grow tired real fast of you asking for their help) so make sure both your website and Facebook page are laid out the way you want them and are loaded with useful and interesting stuff that might attract the attention of a potential client.
Using Facebook’s paid advertising to boost your business’s page.
One of the best techniques I’ve found to market your consulting business is to use Facebook’s paid advertising program to “boost” your page and individual posts. Facebook has very detailed demographic information about each an every one of their users. Advertising with Facebook allows you to specifically target people that you feel have a higher likelihood of being interested in the services provided by your consulting business. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you owned a consulting business that helped large businesses negotiate lower rates for electricity and heating oil. You could write an article on your blog about how businesses can save up to 30% on energy costs this year with your proven strategy; maybe give the article a catchy title like “How We Save Your Business 30% on Energy Costs”. Then you post this article on your business’s Facebook page along with a relevant professional looking image or graph. Once you’ve done this you can use Facebook’s advertising program to promote the post in the news feeds of the people that you feel might be interested in your services based on their age, sex, location, interests and professions (among other options).
I’ve found this advertising to be much more effective than other advertising options both online and offline including using Google Ads, newspapers, classifieds listings, phonebooks (can you believe they still make these), magazines, etc. I’ll talk more about my disdain for most types of paid advertising in a later chapter.
Commenting on Facebook pages similar to your business’s page.
When you comment on other pages within Facebook, you have the option of appearing as either your own personal profile, or appearing as one of the pages that you manage. Commenting on pages similar to yours using your business’s Facebook profile image is an excellent way to promote your business to potential customers.
Example: The Simple Dollar is a very popular personal finance website with over 36,000 Facebook “Likes” on their Facebook page. It just so happens that I also have a personal finance website, Trees Full of Money, that I just started a Facebook page for last week. One way I can promote my website’s Facebook page to people who are interested in personal finance is to comment on posts made by the Simple Dollar. It’s very easy to do and can drive a tremendous amount of traffic to your Facebook page if you take the time to make a relevant and thoughtful comment on the post. This is exactly what I’ve done in the example above and as you can see, I’m the first person to have commented on this particular post. Every person that sees this post from here on out will see my comment and maybe wonder what “Trees Full of Money” is all about and visit my Facebook page too. It’s amazing how much traffic you can generate with very little effort. You can do the same thing with your consulting business. Track down Facebook pages of other companies and organizations that are directly related to your consulting niche. Read their posts and make insightful comments and replies to other readers. You never know where your next lead may come from!
Improved search results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
The major search engines are always tweaking their algorithms (formulas) as far as what websites are ranked first in their search results for particular key search words. One of the recent factors Google, Yahoo and Bing have been using in determining these results is the “social media” presence of a website. In other words, all other things being equal, if your business’s website and a competitor’s website are exactly the same other than your competitor’s website also had a Facebook page, more than likely your competitor’s website will rank higher than yours in the search results. You need to do everything you can to increase your business’s online presence to maximize your opportunities to make connections with potential clients. Creating a
Facebook page for your consulting business is a very easy step in this regard.
Connecting with other consultants.
Facebook is also a great way to connect with other consultants and industry movers and shakers. In my chapter on building a business blog for your consulting firm, I mentioned about connecting and sharing articles written by other consultants in your niche. Facebook is another great forum for you to share and comment on posts and articles written by fellow consultants. It is an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional as well as keeping abreast of what some of your competitors are doing in their specific areas to attract new clients.
Putting it all together.
As you can see, Facebook provides a tremendous amount of marketing opportunities for your consulting business. You don’t have to implement all of these strategies from the very beginning, just pick the ones that seem like the best fit for you. Remember, it’s never too late to get going with a Facebook page for your business. Just remember to keep it professional and update it often with relevant and informative information. You never know where your next client lead may come from.