January 27, 2011 10:16:00 AM
Last week we looked at a few contests some large corporations are currently running on their Facebook pages. Let''s look at some ways local businesses can create buzz with their pages.
Before we get to the tips, let me offer a word of caution. A lot of business resources suggest a company should be everywhere in social media: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Google Buzz, YouTube, blogs and LinkedIn. The list goes on. You can quickly get bogged down in managing all of these various outlets without seeing a real return on investment. Do some research on what services make sense for your business. For the purpose of this article, I''m going to focus on Facebook. It is by far the most popular.
Step 1: Make sure you have a Facebook page with some fans
Businesses can create a page for free. If you haven''t done this yet, do it by visiting facebook.com/pages and clicking the "Create Page" button. You should be promoting your profile in all of your marketing material.
Step 2: Decide on a goal for your promotion
What do you want to accomplish with your promotion? Do you want new customers? Do you want to make existing customers aware of your new shipment of inventory? Maybe you need to clear out some inventory really quickly. Figure out what you want.
Step 3: Design the promotion
Once you know what you want to accomplish, decide how to accomplish it. People on the Internet tend to be motivated by two things: recognition and savings. In a recent poll, nearly half of respondents stated they like a business on Facebook in the hopes of receiving exclusive deals or offers. If you read my column from last week, you probably noticed that many contests currently involve having fans create videos. Those videos are shared with other users. Remember -- savings and recognition.
Keep in mind that your Facebook fans are most likely current customers. If your goal is to appeal to new customers, make sure to create an incentive for your fans to share the contest with their friends.
For example, let''s say I''m a restaurant owner who wants to appeal to new customers. I ask my Facebook fans to post a photo of themselves with friends on my page. In order to be entered in the contest, they have to tag each person in the photo. Whoever tags the most people wins a $200 gift certificate. This gets people interacting with my restaurant''s Facebook Page and the photo tagging gets me exposure on the Facebook profiles of many prospective customers.
Don''t make the contest or promotion too complicated, and be careful to make the payoff proportional to the effort required. There''s no way I''m going to jump through a bunch of hoops for a chance to win a T-shirt.
Finally, don''t let your contest or promotion last too long. You want to create a sense of urgency. You don''t want the promotion to be too quick either. A week or two is good for a small contest; a month is good for a large one.
Step 4: Promote the promotion
Get a little more mileage out of your promotion or contest by doing a PR push after the promotion is over. Let people know who won and how many people participated. This marketing push will help draw even more people to your Facebook page.
Peter Imes is the Operations Manager at The Dispatch. You can e-mail him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @pimes.
Peter Imes is publisher of The Dispatch. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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