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Entrepreneurs give Facebook a 'like' Add to ...

With over a billion users, Facebook is now considered a marketing goldmine for entrepreneurs looking to communicate with customers and reach prospects.

A Facebook page allows your company to collect fans who endorse your products and services and post comments. Its popularity in the business community is growing because of its capacity to build brand awareness, manage a company’s reputation, generate sales leads and get valuable feedback from customers.

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If you’re considering using it for your business, here are some basics to get you started and make the most of the medium.

  • Set clear objectives. Do you want to use Facebook to attract more clients, reinforce your brand or improve customer service?
  • Make sure your Facebook page truly represents your business. Much as personal Facebook profiles mirror individual likes and dislikes, your page has to convey the unique facets of your company, such as your customer service approach or your stance on the environment.
  • Once your page is in place, you need a good strategy to lead people there. You can start with promoting it through your website, an email campaign or other social media such as Twitter. Some companies build a base of fans by inviting friends, family and clients to click on the “like” icon. Some even find inexpensive, creative ways to reward people for becoming fans.
  • Give your fans a compelling reason to continue visiting your page with value-added information such as article or videos about your business, industry, events or contests. Much like Twitter, it’s important to avoid overtly selling your products and services. Facebook is more about interacting and engaging interest than selling.
  • A rule of thumb is to post three times a week. However, it’s also important to devote time to listening to what people are saying about your company on wall posts. You can use this information to make improvements to your business, such as fine-tuning customer service or enhancing products.
  • Ask your employees to be vigilant about what they are posting to avoid revealing confidential information or inadvertently criticizing colleagues or customers. This should be part of a wider social media policy for employees.
  • Take a look at Facebook’s advertising page to see how you can connect to potential customers. Facebook allows you to target your audience by location and interests. As well, budget-conscious companies can buy pay-per-click advertising where they pay only when visitors check out their ads.
  • Measure your results. Facebook offers limited, free analytic tools for public use. You can go to Facebook Insights for information on analyzing user trends and demographics. For more sophisticated analytics, you can pay for reports from social media monitoring firms.

Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada. BDC provides entrepreneurs with financing, venture capital and consulting services. To find out more go to BDC.ca.

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