Quick PSA: our site was down for a while after some security problems. Let this be a teaching moment for fellow webmasters: get an SSL certificate! The extra layer of encryption would have prevented our website from going down. There’s no excuse not to: Godaddy has tons of promo codes floating around, which makes it like $20/year. That’s cheaper than feeding a starving child in Africa. You can also go with cloud hosting, set up a droplet with DigitalOcean today.
Whatever your feelings are towards Facebook, it is an excellent tool for connecting with your customers and especially finding new ones. It’s quite easy to target potential customers geographically, and for happy customers to spread word of mouth advertising. I quite often check business Facebook pages for stores before I go to visit in person to look up store hours, product photos, and possibly even contact them directly through Facebook to see if they have something specific that I am looking for.
Setting up a business page
You’ll create a different sort of profile for your Facebook business than for your personal page, and they will let you choose a custom URL (ie. www.facebook.com/yourcompanyname) that you can include on your business cards and print advertising. Once set up people who ‘Like’ your page will receive any updates that you post to the page. You can invite friends to like the page or share it on open groups, and you can also upload an email list and send out invites that way. As with all things, don’t overdo it and end up spamming people with like requests and posts, that’s a quick way to get yourself blocked from their newsfeed or unfriended.
Keep it updated with a variety of content
You’ll want to keep your page up to date with a lot of quality content. You don’t need to post daily, if you’ve really only got one good post in your every week then just post once a week. Post a variety of content, people really enjoy photos and video. Make sure it is relevant to your product or service though, and ideally pictures of you or your actual products. Everybody loves hilarious cat pictures, but if your buisness has nothing to do with cats then it’s not really worth your customers time.
Respond quickly and professionally
If you have a business page it’s possible that people may try to contact you through direct message. Make sure that you are checking daily so that you can respond to any messages in a timely fashion. Similarly, people may post to your business’ wall, and you should respond to that quickly as well even if it’s just to say ‘thanks!’. If somebody posts something negative or critical you need to be very careful about how you respond to them. Remember that whatever you say will be public and visible for the world to see. Too many times I have seen business owners venting about difficult customers or colleagues on their pages. Even if they don’t mention names, it just looks really negative and unprofessional. If somebody does post a criticism of your business perhaps a good way to deal with it would be to thank them for bringing the issue to your attention, and then contact them directly to see if you can help them further. And remember, there are some people out there who make a hobby out of complaining about businesses and will not be satisfied. It’s not worth it to get into a social media debate with them, just thank them for their feedback and leave it at that.