Facebook is the world’s biggest social networking site, with over 1.44 billion monthly active members. Between them they upload 136,000 photos, post 293,000 statuses and 510 comments every sixty seconds. The audience is huge. As part of Facebook, there are Facebook business pages. These allow you to input important information about your business including contact details, opening times, prices, and a your web address. On top of this you can upload photos/videos and statuses, like a standard page, to interact with your “fans”.
Because of this, Facebook can be a great marketing tool when used correctly. But, there are some risks as well…
Benefits of a Facebook Business Page
As mentioned above, there are 1.44 billion active members on Facebook; and with five new profiles created every second this is growing exponentially. Of course you won’t want every single user to like your business page, as not everyone will interact with your content, but there are plenty of users that you can reach out to in order to build your following. Once you have an audience, you can start interaction.
Users trust other users’ opinions. It’s a fact. If you are active on a number of social platforms, interacting with your audience, answering queries and addressing complaints, other users will look upon you more favourably. Not only does interaction make your customers feel closer to your business, but also by dealing with complaints quickly and publicly, you can actively show how good your business is. This helps to promote brand loyalty from your customers.
Linking in to the above point, Facebook business pages help build a sense of community between your business and customers. You are essentially creating a central location for people to gather and talk about your brand. You can share news about products or services, and encourage members to comment on these. Likewise, customers can share photos/videos/comments about your product for others to see. Even if your customers are only interacting with each other, the sense of community is increased.
There is some debate as to how much a Facebook business page can help your SEO, but it definitely does to some degree. Google automatically indexes pages created on Facebook, so any information shared on your page could count towards your overall rankings. Think of all the times you’ve searched for a business on Google, and their Facebook page has been in the top few results. A link back to your website from your Facebook page can pass on some of that SEO goodness.
Risks of a Facebook Business Page
Facebook is great. We’ve established that. But before you go charging in and create an account, there are a couple of things you need to consider.
There are a lot of users on Facebook, and a lot of business pages (over 16 million to be precise). There was a point a few years ago when Facebook realized that it was getting a little too crowded. They’ve since introduced a number of algorithms that restrict the amount of users your posts may reach organically (they’ve done this for normal users too). Now, each post initially only has the potential to reach approximately 5% of your followers. If this 5% engage with your posts, the potential reach expands to include others. Alternatively, you can pay to boost posts. Whilst this allows you to select a targeted audience, including your followers and more, wouldn’t it be better if your followers could actually see your posts without you having to pay?
Bad Customer Service
We’ve talked about how publicly dealing with customer complaints and queries can be beneficial to your business. Now it’s time to look at the flipside. It is important to ensure that you are dealing with queries in a consistent and timely manner, or it could be detrimental to your business image. You just have to have a quick look around the Internet to find articles about how businesses have dealt with complaints on social media. If you don’t have the manpower to manage a page effectively you should maybe consider hiring an agency to do this for you.
Facebook has no customer support. If you have any problems, you can ask a question in the Help Centre forums in the hope that another Facebook user sees it and knows the answer, but that’s about as far as you can go. Make sure you have a full understanding of how Facebook works before rushing in, especially if you plan to boost posts.