Social Media May Seem Like A Scary Prospect

There are so many different ways to approach social media and so many different formats. The big ones to many people are Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Four Square. These may vary by your location or the people that you or your business know. While starting and handling all the different formats may seem like an overwhelming and confusing task, if you are ignoring Facebook, you are ignoring the elephant in the room.

Now even though you may know Facebook is important, once you see some of the facts and figures behind it, you will realize why ignoring this elephant is not a good thing.

Here are 10 Reasons why Facebook is HUGE!

1.   700 Million Global Users

2.  One-half of Facebook Users (so 350 million people!) log in on any given day and the spend an average of 55 minutes per day on Facebook.

3.   48% of 18 to 34-year-olds check Facebook as soon as they wake up.

4. 71.2% of the US Web Audience is on Facebook, yet 70% of the Userbase is outside the US.

5.   The average Facebook User has 130 Friends.

6.  Facebook is the second most popular way to share information. Email is first, but losing ground.

7.   Facebook “Like” Buttons are on more and more websites, allowing visitors to “like” or “fan” pages without even leaving the current site.

8.  80,000 Sites are using Facebook Connect, allowing users to log in to various sites with their Facebook information

9.   Facebook’s ad revenue is expected to overtake both Yahoo and Google in a matter of months.

10.  The average Facebook user fans 2 pages per month.

What do all these facts have to do with your business? When users are spending almost an hour on Facebook, if your site is not there somewhere, you are missing time in front of your audience.

If you have a rather large circle of friends on Facebook, 130 people may not sound like a lot of friends.  You know your business needs to reach far more than 130 people.  But each one of those 130 friends has an average of 130 friends.  This means 16,900 people in 2 degrees.  Imagine how many more in 3 or 4 degrees! Every time that one person “likes” or “fans” a page, it goes in front of their 130 friends, who could potentially “like” or share your information with their average number of 130 friends. So that “like” button you see appearing everywhere is putting that website or page in front of multiple hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

Are you starting to see why Facebook is an elephant?

Now that you know why you should be on Facebook, you may wonder how you get there. First you need to know you are not alone. There are many businesses both small and large struggling to get themselves on Facebook!

It’s Time For a Fan Page.

You must have a person profile it order to create a fan page. If you want someone else in charge of the fan page, they must have a personal profile. Just like with any other aspect of your business, you want someone you trust in charge of spreading the word about your business throughout Facebook.

Each administrator (and you can set up multiple administrators) will have equal ability to control the fan page. This means if someone leaves your company, you will want to remove their administrative capabilities with Facebook. It also means you do not have to be the only one in charge of spreading word with the fan page.

Things to Know about Fan Pages

You can have an unlimited number of fan pages. Your fan page can have an unlimited number of fans. To keep your family and privacy safe, you may choose to make your personal page private.  However, your fan page is always public.

Just like your profile, you can add pictures, videos, and make comments. As an individual on your fan page, you can tag your friends. This allows you to work it similar to your personal page but you are able to separate your personal and private information.

As an administrator, you tag other fan pages. You can add administrators and remove them. You can target your posts by location and language. If you want to email your fans you can.

Add an opt-in box to add to your mailing list. Do not spend a lot of money creating a special landing page on Facebook as they change code formats regularly. This means that if you spent a lot of money on one format, when it changes, that page may no longer work. So make certain it looks good and offers a good bonus.

Content on your fan page gets indexed by Google. This means your Facebook information goes to the major search engine.

How to Make Your Fan Page Work For You

You need to decide on how you want Facebook to add to your business. If your goal is to get people on your opt in, then you need to make certain that is readily available. For community, you want to start conversations, so you would ask questions that are welcoming and approachable. Let your fans know if you want them sharing pictures of themselves enjoying your products. Your fans will help you, if they know what you want.

Even if your primary goal is not your email list, you do want to offer an opt in with a special gift. If your service allows, you may want to tag the sign-up to know they are your Facebook fans.

Next you want to make certain you add a “Like” button on your website that links back to your fan page. This will allow your fan page to grow and thereby spread the word to additional people.

Once you have gotten 25 fans, you can register for a “vanity URL”. This means you can register your own unique username for your fan page. Facebook has strict limits in changing that name so you will want to make certain to choose carefully.

Time to Engage!

You cannot build a fan page and a “like” button and expect magic to happen. It is time to engage your fans. This is a vital part of growing your fan page and building your reputation. However, you are not going to need to spend all day watching your page and constantly updating it.

Fan pages do need to be updated regularly. 16 days is the average time between posts, which is far too seldom. For best engagement, most businesses are finding between one and four updates per day is the right amount. Once a day interaction means a fairly standard time that you would have available in your schedule. Three times a day, would mean morning, noon and evening. That really is not a lot for a little bit of interaction.

After you start posting regularly, you should start to see fans engaging with you. Watch to see what type of comments cause interaction. That is the material you want to keep doing. Remember this is about interaction, so be sure to make interesting comments, and to keep the conversation going if it is comfortable.

You can use quotes, comments or even copy sentences from your blog. Speaking of your blog, be sure to add that link and a prized sentence from your newest update. This allows your fans to know that there is a new post and it gets another post in for you. Now you only need two more for the day, if your goal is three!

An Elephant has a Long Memory… Fans Do Not

Just because you realize Facebook is important does not mean you can set it up and forget about it. The key to keeping your fan page growing is interaction. Once you stop posting and stop interacting, your fan page will stall. You may even start losing fans.

Also remember to start and create a pace you can sustain. If you interact a lot and then go down to once a day, you could lose interest as well. Fast growth does not mean permanent growth.

Keep interacting. Do not obsess over spending all day on Facebook. Just 15 minutes in the morning to add a comment and do some interaction will help steadily grow your fan page. Growing your fan page will help grow your business and reach a very important market.