HRR Web Exclusive: Tips for Connecting With Customers on Facebook

Jun 30, 2010

The July issue of Hotrod & Restoration featured a story on using the social networking website Facebook to promote your business.

In this Hotrod & Restoration web exclusive, Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta offered additional tips and advice for businesses on how they can best use Facebook to interact with customers. She also provided some examples from businesses in several different industries that have Facebook pages.

HRR: How can businesses benefit from having a Facebook page?

Ta: Facebook pages are free public profiles for your business that provide you with an easy and powerful way to connect with your customers. Facebook pages for businesses look and act like your personal Facebook profile page, but it’s for your business instead. When you share information about your business-whether it be upcoming sales, specials or new store openings-these stories can go directly to your fans’ homepages. Your fans can comment and click Like, which sends their friends stories linking back to your Facebook page and creates an automatic viral effect on Facebook.

HRR: What does a Facebook page offer a business that their regular shop website can’t?

Ta: With more than 400 million active users-50 percent of whom log in on any given day-building a presence on Facebook enables businesses to meet customers where they already are online to build an authentic, engaging and ongoing relationship.

HRR: What suggestions do you have for a business to build a strong, relevant following?

Ta: To help make your page successful, remember to be open and authentic with your fans, be active and update fans quickly on the latest news, and post content that is relevant and interesting to the community.

  • Advertise on Facebook to find your exact target audience. For those that are looking to expand their Facebook community through advertising, Facebook Ads help you target your exact audience precisely with just an image, a few lines of text and dollars a day. It’s one way to find people who might be interested in your businesses or service and point them back to your Facebook Page or website. Facebook also offers “Facebook Ads for Pages” which allow users to fan your Facebook Page by clicking on Like button right in the ad. When a user does this, it automatically creates a story on the user’s profile page generating free distribution for you. You can set up your ads here.
  • Bring fans together for special occasions with events. Take advantage of this popular feature by creating and inviting fans to meet ups using Facebook Events. By setting up Events for upcoming store sales, trade shows where you’ll be exhibiting, or even exclusive specials you’ll unveil on your page, you can keep your fans in the know and drive interaction with them on or away from Facebook.com. Plus, when your fans RSVP to your Event, it will generate a newsfeed story in their friends’ homepages, increasing the viral reach.
  • Give your fans a behind-the-scenes look with photos and videos. Content is king when engaging your fans on Facebook, so make sure to post fun and interesting photos and videos on your page. Whether it’s photos of your store’s newest product arrivals or a video of your head chef sharing cooking tips from your restaurant, consider what behind-the-scenes content will keep your fans engaged with your page and company. You can also get your fans involved by inviting them to post photos wearing their favorite shirt from your clothing store or posing with their new pooch from your pet store.
  • Recommending other favorite pages. On your Facebook page, share which other business pages are your company’s favorites by populating the Favorite Pages box. Whether it’s a local partner company or a charity close to your heart, sharing this information with your fans can help them get a better sense of your company and what is important to your brand.
  • Post once, share more. Maintaining or updating numerous sites can be time consuming. The Twitter Exporter feature on Facebook pages makes it easy to maximize your reach across different social media platforms with minimal resources. Using the feature, you can post an update to your page and have it automatically publish to Twitter. Find out more about the Twitter Exporter here.

HRR: What suggestions do you have for the types of updates businesses should be making on their pages?

Ta: While the kinds of updates that are most successful on pages are unique to each business, here are a few examples of ways that companies use Facebook updates to engage their community:

  • Everyday, Sprinkles Cupcakes posts a “word of the day” on its Facebook Page that the first 50 fans can bring into an actual store to get a free cupcake.
  • Netflix engages its Facebook community by posting topical movie questions, with hundreds of people responding to questions like, “Happy birthday, George Clooney! What’s your favorite Clooney movie?”
  • To notify travelers of weather conditions, Southwest Airlines uses its Facebook Page to update fans on airport storm delays, as well as deals and special behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Emmy’s Bridal, a small bridal shop in west central Ohio, posts updates on sales and features pictures of local brides wearing dresses purchased from its store.

HRR: Are there any other suggestions you have for businesses on how they can best use Facebook to market themselves?

Ta: Turn your website traffic into Facebook fans with social plugins. Facebook offers multiple ways to help you increase traffic and engagement between your Facebook page and website. Social plugins allow businesses to easily place widgets on their websites that enable customers to like their page and view their Facebook stream without leaving the company’s site. You can also display your Facebook page information on websites by using a Facebook Page Badge widget. See how to extend your business’s Facebook presence to other sites here .