In my previous post, I covered the three essential elements to promote your local business online. To recap they are:
- A website
- Google Places (Now Google +Local)
Many small business owners I speak to are resistant to investing in a website because they promote their business on Facebook. It’s “free” after all and don’t forget there just over 30 million users in the UK alone all waiting with baited breath for your status update.
Ok, that was slightly sarcastic…
The number of users’ aside, it’s not always easy to promote your business on Facebook and it certainly isn’t “free” – unless you work for nothing of course. With all these millions of users spanning a spectrum of age ranges and interests spending hours per day online, Facebook has the potential to be incredibly useful.
How not to promote your business on Facebook
The techniques outlined below are bad practice. Not only do the break Facebook rules but are more likely to get you ignored rather than promoting your business.
1 Making Friends
The biggest mistake I see daily is the personal profile used exclusively for business reasons. Your personal profile is where you send friend requests. Businesses don’t have friends, they have pages that are Liked.
Using your personal profile for exclusively for business can risk you being banned from Facebook, it’s against their Terms. All that work collecting friends goes down the drain.
It’s free to set up a business page, and you are not restricted by the maximum 5000 friends either – you can have unlimited likes. Even better, pages are always public and show up in search results (granted, usually only when searching for your business name from experience).
2 Spamming isn’t promotion
A canned meat product made mainly from ham
Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients
The desire to reach those 30 million people using Facebook in the UK can be overwhelming…
Yelling about your business and special offers on your page (or profile) is one thing.
Posting again on your friends profiles, every group you’re in and every page you can find that is remotely related to your business is spam.
If you post the same (or similar) messages too many times, Facebook will send you a warning. It has been known to actually stop you posting anywhere but your own profile and pages too.
Facebook warnings aside, if I walked into your shop or office today armed with an ad for my business and sellotape. Then without asking you, taped my ads in your window, above your workspace, in the kitchen and anywhere I could stick it – what would you do?
Throw me out?
Pull down my ads?
One thing you wouldn’t be doing is phoning or inboxing me booking my services!
Why do you think it is acceptable to do the same to promote your business on Facebook?
3 It’s all about you (not)
If every status update is a sales message people will switch off. We’re bombarded with ads everyday on every medium, why would we like your page (or friend you) just to receive more ads about products and services we’re not necessarily interested in?
When you promote your business on Facebook, you do need to understand how Facebook works.
Not all of your likers or friends will see your updates.
That has always been the way and has nothing to do with the recent addition of the Promote Post feature.
Facebook uses a system called Edge Rank that decides whether and where your update is shown in a newsfeed.
To increase the likelihood of your message getting through you do need to encourage regular engagement from your likers – that’s likes, comments, shares, clicks, photo and video views.
Going back to constant self-promotion and sales messages, how many of these updates are likely to get a response – a click, a like, a comment or share?
Do you promote your business on Facebook? What works for you? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to visit me on Facebook too!