Friday, July 30, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Promote Your Business with a Facebook Fan Page

It's often suggested for artist entrepreneurs to set up a Facebook fan page, now generally known as business pages or "like" pages.  This is a great suggestion and social media can definitely be used to boost a business.  However, the next question for a lot of people is: "I've set up my page.  Now what do I do with it?"  If you've used Facebook prior to setting up your fan page, you're probably familiar with other brand pages.  Check out some of the more popular pages and then look back at your own.  You'll probably see a huge difference.  While you're probably not going to get hundreds of thousands of fans for your small business, you can move in the direction of some of the bigger names.  Here are my tips for increasing the popularity and success of your Facebook business page:


1. Design a Facebook landing page.  The landing page is what is going to entice people to click the like button at the top of their screen.  I designed mine using a free template and the FBML (Facebook markup language) application.  I got mine here but there are tons of other ones out there.  My landing page gives people a little information about my business, me as an artisan, and gives visitors access to my social networking links and newsletter signup.  You can see it here (if you're already a fan, just click the >> button on the tab bar and select "Home").  If you're not able to customize your own, another free way to have a great landing page is to put your shop as your landing page.  How to do that is in my next point.


2. Add a tab with your shop.  If you use Etsy or are a pro member on ArtFire, you've got access to applications that will put your shop right on your Facebook page.  If you don't already have a landing page, you can set your settings on your wall page to make the default landing page for non-fans to be the shop tab.


3. If you had a personal Facebook account before you set up a page, you probably have some people as your friends.  If you didn't, make some.  Use the email search feature to friend your email address book.  Join a couple of groups related to your interests or where you went to school and accept the friend requests of people you know and don't mind contacting you again.  Why?  The business pages have a feature called "Suggest to Friends."  Use that (once - do not spam them!) to get your friends to fan your page, even the ones that already know about your business.  While some of them may end up being your customers, they're not really the end goal.  What you want is for your friends to like and then suggest that their friends like your page.  If you're lucky, this will help your page go viral.


4. Now that you have some fans, the next step is posting content.  Ideal content will be interesting, informative, connect people with you and your brand, and make people want to comment. Some ideas for content are new or soon to be released items (in order to build anticipation and drive traffic to your shop), questions about what your fans are interested in, exclusive sales and promotions, and aspects of your craft that the general public might not know about.  If someone interacts with your post, acknowledge it.  Respond to all fan comments professionally and graciously.

5. Consider doing additional promotion to other sellers.  Etsy has a promotions forum.  
Participate in the threads that let you post your Facebook link.  Participate in Link Love in fan page discussion forums which will allow you to post your links.  Others will fan you.  The downside to Link Love is that some people will spam their links on your wall.  You can either delete these posts or do what I do and make them less obvious.  In the setting section on your wall, you can set the default view to be just posts from the page owner.  That way your fans just get your awesome content by default and not ads for other people's pages.  Why should you promote to other sellers at all?  Well sellers are also buyers.  In addition to that, the more fans you have the closer you are to getting your custom Facebook URL.


6. Set your custom Facebook URL.  Once you reach 25 fans (technically 24 as you can and should fan your own page), you'll be eligible for a custom URL.  Go to http://facebook.com/username to set it up.  BE CAREFUL, SLOW DOWN, AND READ.  Do not get over excited.  When you go to that page, you'll see an option to set the username for your profile.  This is your personal profile NOT your business page.  The option for your business page is lower and smaller and specifically says "Set username for your pages."  That is the option you want to select and follow the instructions.  Be aware that if you screw this up and set the username for your profile instead, you will not be able to undo it.  So just pay attention.


7. So now you have great content, fans, and a custom URL.  If your page still isn't as popular as you'd like, it's probably time to advertise.  I'm not a fan of Facebook ads as I've managed to have them automatically extended to overcharge me every single time, but if you stay on top of them and cancel when you've spent what you want, you may find success with them.  They are targeted, so do some research on your target market before setting one up.  Another alternative I've used is a service like Fiverr.  Fiverr users sell services for $5 a piece.  I've purchased a couple of $5 gigs where my page was suggested to several thousand people.  My fans have doubled and now seem to be slowly but surely growing in number on their own.


8.  Remember the ultimate goal is to have the fan page growing on its own and driving traffic to your shop. It's not just about getting them to Facebook, it's about funneling them off too - or at least to the shop tab on your page.  Take only the suggestions here that you think will help you get to that goal.


Go ahead and put your Facebook fan page link in the comments so readers can fan you!


Until next time,
Elle

5 comments:

sassypackrat said...

Great post! Because of your great info I was finally able to set up my custom URL. Thanks so much!

Elle said...

You're welcome! I'm so glad you found the info useful!

Thomas Saylor said...

I'm such a huge fan of your business, Elle...not only is your work amazing, but I just have no idea how you keep up with all the many social networking aspects of running your own business!! Everytime I come to your blog their is new and INTERESTING content, and everytime I visit your shop their are new creations, Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr etc. etc. etc. I don't know how you have time for it all! Thanks for providing me inspiration (and great tips!) on a daily basis!

Oh, and I will take you up on the offer of a shameless Facebook plug. Handmade pillow covers, pillows, coasters, bags, accessories, monograms and more! ;)

http://www.facebook.com/ThomasSaylorDesigns

Thomas Saylor said...

P.S. their = there.. I can't believe I did that!!! TWICE!!!

Elle said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Thomas! I don't have a family or significant other to take care of, so I generally have a few hours in the evening after work to work on things for the shop. I probably should be cleaning or something, but this is much more fun, LOL. I also make heavy use of scheduling features so that I have new Tumblr posts and tweets coming out even when I'm not at the computer.

Thanks so much for posting your Facebook link too! I love your work (especially your coasters, which I need to buy as I have none) and I hope my other readers will check you out. :)