Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facebook Fan Pages: Do You Have One for Your Business?

If you don't have a fan page, you may want to consider it.  I truly despise Facebook personally because of their privacy issues and recent "improvements", but I have an account there and a fan page because it's a spot where a lot of people choose to interact.  When it comes to running a business, I would think a person should go where the traffic is.


There are tons of things you can do with a Facebook Fan Page:

1. Network with other people by fanning their pages and asking them to fan you back.  You're then able to interact on each other's pages, discussing newly posted information and (ideally) creating a mutually beneficial dialogue that makes both of your pages more attractive to potential fans and potential customers.

2. It's a free front for your business.  Both ArtFire and Etsy have applications which you can add via the Facebook Applications section that will post your store directly onto a tab in your Facebook page.  When you get your friends to fan you, their friends may come across your page and therefore your store.  This will give your products more exposure and can generate more sales for you.  You can even set up your page so that people who are not signed in as a fan see your shop front tab first instead of your wall tab.  This is generally recommended by the social networking experts.


3. You can keep customers who have already purchased something from you involved with your business by asking them to post fan pictures to a photo album or by offering them special discounts or other incentives just for fanning you.  There is a way to post to your page such that only your fans can see particular posts.  This gives people an additional reason to click the "Become a Fan" button.

4. Adding relevant posts can generate traffic to your other sites too.  I use my fan page to promote my blog.  Each time I post a new blog post, I add the link to my "wall" which is a bulletin-board style stream of content.  I also have an RSS feeds tab which adds not just my new shop listings, but also my new blog posts.  My fans who are artisans and may be interested in my blog content can then be connected to it in two easy ways and BOOM - I've just generated more traffic to my blog.

5. I find it to be a little cumbersome to use, but if you know what you're doing you can create events as well.  Depending on whether you do it from your wall or from the event creation page, you can have a little or a lot of detailed information.  This lets your customers, potential customers, and friends know when your online shops are having a sale and when you're going to be at a craft fair, teaching a class, or anything else business-related.  Fans can RSVP online and add your event to their events tab on their profile.  Doing either of those things notifies their friends via their news feed, which in turn can get more exposure for your event.

6. I mentioned that fans can add pictures to a fan photo album on your page.  You may then have correctly assumed that you can add pictures as well.  The limit of photos per album is much higher than a Facebook profile album at 200.  (Either that or they changed profile photo limits too and I was just asleep and missed it.)  This gives you an opportunity to share photos of your products that may have already sold or that you've given as gifts - which can generate custom orders.  It also allows you to post photos of you selling your wares or participating in crafty events, giving potential customers a more human connection to your business.

Now be careful when it comes to giveaways because there are new rules and they suck.  I'd stick to promoting mine on my blog and twitter and probably just wouldn't deal with Facebook in any way, but you check out the rules and decide what you feel is appropriate to do: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.
Last week, the massive social network announced that brands, advertisers, and marketers that want to run contests or sweepstakes on its platform have to go through an approval process first.

Getting that approval could be a new revenue stream for Facebook: according to multiple sources in the marketing industry, they’re being told that running a promotion in a Facebook application or "fan page" requires buying ad space too.

It’s pricey. The minimum ad buy is $10,000 for 30 days, using Facebook’s self-service advertising system, according to documents seen by CNET, or $30,000 for 30 days of Facebook home page ads. Priority in the approval process will be scaled, based on how much advertising space has been purchased.

So essentially, if you're reading my blog you're most likely going to want to stay away from Facebook when it comes to your giveaways. We don't do expensive or big business ideas here. You can hopefully see though why a Facebook page might be worth some consideration in spite of some of their wonky policies.

Check out my fan page at http://facebook.com/ellesbeads.

(By the way, once you have 25 fans you can go to http://facebook.com/username and select a shortened url like mine.  You can do that for your profile page too at any time via the same link.)

Do you have a fan page?  Leave the URL in the comments!  The only thing I ask is that if you post your fan page, you also fan the pages of others who leave their link.  You'll be surprised how many cool people you can meet that way if you take the time to participate on their pages.

Do you still think Facebook is not for you?  Tell us why in the comments too - you may be helping out another reader.

Until next time,
Elle

4 comments:

VaBeachQuilter said...

Here is my Facebook Fan page link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virginia-Beach-VA/VaBeachQuilter/253075845077?ref=search&sid=1209991556.2886170167..1

Thanks!

Kim

Passion For Beads said...

Excellent information! I have been using FB for a while but there are still a lot of things that I didn't know. Thanks!

Here is my FB Fan page link: http://www.facebook.com/PassionForBeadsFanPage

Sally
PassionForBeads ~Handmade Swarovski Crystal Jewelry
http://PassionForBeads.artfire.com

Adamma's Notions said...

Hi there, here is Adamma's Notions Facebook page. Become a fan.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adammas-Notions/243305353491

Elle said...

Thank you guys for sharing your pages with us! I'm now fans of all of you.

And Sally, I'm really glad you were able to get something useful out of my post!