Facebook business pages are free; every business can have one.
That fact cuts two ways. Your business can have a well-crafted marketing Facebook business page that matches, compliments and supports its brand or your business can be the subject of this article.
A few months ago, a childhood friend of mine contacted me about helping his business set up a Facebook business page. He is an artist and runs a creative services company. He only needed help with the technical aspects; setting it up, setting up a vanity name, etc.
Once I set everything up, he went about managing the page by adding content relevant to his business.
After a few weeks I decided to check in to see how things were going and I was horrified at what I saw.
He was treating his Facebook business page like his personal account and posting content that was either inappropriate for his business or just plain inappropriate.
I decided to give him five thoughts on what he could do to improve his business page and I’m sharing those thoughts here.
1. Your Facebook Business Page Isn’t For Your Friends.
Your page is about your business. It’s not an extension of your personal life or your relationship with your family and friends.
There are two aspects to that that are important to recognize. First, if you ask all of your friends to like your page, it’s going to give you a false sense of reality. Your friends are not your customers.
It’s great that your friends open their hearts to you, but it would be better if they opened their wallets.
Some might say that from a social proof standpoint, having all of those likes will help you reach more customers, but that’s not science, its wishful thinking.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t ask some of your friends to like your page; especially if they can help you reach out to new prospects, but having all of your friends from high school that you never talk to Like your page won’t gain you anything; at least not financially.
Secondly, you should not use your page as a vehicle to communicate with your friends unless you are doing business with them; and even then only if it serves a marketing purpose that benefits your business. A little banter here and there adds spice to your page and can humanize it, but constant back and forth, inside jokes and worse – posting images and videos unrelated to your business – will be a major turn off to prospects and clients.
Clients want to feel comfortable knowing that you excel at what you do; they don’t want to know what you and your drinking buddies are joking about.
Clients will be forgiving of activity like that on your personal page, but perhaps not so much on your business page. Why risk it?
2. Your Friends Will Like Everything About Your Facebook Business Page. Even The Bad Things.
One of the most important things any business can do is listen to its prospects and customers. That means that you should be open to hearing the good and the bad.
My experience with people setting up pages for their business and inviting all their friends is that their personal and semi-personal friends will hit the like button on anything posted; even when it’s bad. This is an emotional reaction. It’s a show of support. It’s great for your ego, but terrible for your business.
Posting content about a product or a service and seeing all of your friends like it will only delude you into thinking that your service is good when it might not be.
If you can’t help inviting the kid you knew from kindergarten, then learn to filter out the likes that are relevant and those that are not.
3. Treat Your Page Like A Part Of Your Business. Or Better Yet, Treat It Like Your Mom.
My friend posted a picture of a close up of a hand holding up a middle finger. My friend is a quasi-reasonable person, but he was playing to his audience of friends and not his audience of customers.
Your business isn’t about getting your high school drinking buddies to chuckle. It’s about money. If something isn’t appropriate to tell your mom, then it shouldn’t be appropriate for your business page.
Religion, politics, sex; if you can’t talk about it in front of your mom, then keep it off of your business page.
4. Write Content For Your Page That Looks Like It Was Written By A Grown Up
My friend tends to write in run on sentences with no punctuation and no consideration for spelling. I’ve known him for decades and been friends with him on Facebook for years; in that time, I’ve probably had a comprehensive understanding of maybe three things he has written.
For his private account, this is fine. It’s even cute at times. You know, like the way a dog runs towards the door and then skids across the wood floors when he tries to stop. Cute like that.
But it’s entirely unacceptable for a business page. You need to give potential customers a sense of security that the investment they are making in you and your business is worthwhile. In this economy – or any economy for that matter – prospects have options.
If all things are equal and a potential customer has to pick between your barely-there English and someone who can string a sentence together even primitively into a coherent thought then it’s bye-bye to you.
I suggested to my friend that his wife should write his content and then only after it has been considered for a while. His business does not have the immediacy that requires spur of the moment posting. I also told him that he should not be publishing content to his page from his mobile device while on the go. That’s a recipe for spell check disaster.
5. Post Pictures That Make Your Business Look Good. Never – And I Mean Never – Post Pictures That Embarrass Your Business.
I’m not talking about dirty pictures or off color jokes. That’s covered in #3 above. I’m talking about otherwise good images that are ruined out of nothing short of laziness.
As I mentioned, my friend runs a creative services company; I repeat this because it’s relevant to this point. My friend created artwork and put that artwork on a variety of goods such as posters, canvas and apparel. Then he took pictures of the final products.
With his cell phone.
In low light.
And apparently from a moving bus. They were blurred beyond recognition.
When I saw these pictures, I demanded an explanation. How could he invest so much time in creating sell-able goods only to squander it by displaying them so irresponsibly? Whatever your product or service is, the images you put on Facebook – or anywhere – should reflect your business at its highest quality.
I told my friend that if he had no option other than to use his cell phone, he should stage his products decently in good light and then hold his breath while he takes the pictures to eliminate as much blur as possible.
A better idea if photography is going to be a staple of your marketing is to invest in a good camera; not a cheap point and click, but a decent inexpensive DSLR camera with a multi-purpose lens. They say a picture is worth a million words. It may also be worth a million dollars.
My friend has taken down all of the images and content that he published that were low quality. He’s asked his wife to oversee anything that goes on Facebook and is working on re-shooting all of his product photography.
For a small business working on a budget, this is as good a place as any to start.
What does your Facebook business page look like? Let me know in the comments.