Most firms have an active Facebook Business Page as part of their integrated marketing strategy. If your firm doesn’t yet, why should you? Because Facebook is where the people are looking for information. As of March 2013, Facebook had 655 million daily users. Although LinkedIn has made strides in becoming more dimensional and more engaging, when was the last time you stayed up too late scrolling through LinkedIn?
The old adage “don’t mix business with pleasure” no longer applies. The paradigm has shifted towards convenience and integration. Most professionals use their tablets, laptops and smartphones for business and pleasure. Facebook is a legitimate avenue for communication.
A Business Facebook Page is an opportunity to inform your audience of your product or services, dates for upcoming conferences or training seminars, news about your firm such as press releases, articles published or blog posts. It is also an appropriate place to convey some of the less technical aspects of your firm, such as community service projects, “getting to know you” segments or interviews with employees, and various aspects of your corporate culture. The news items and the softer items all communicate the intention, style and culture of your firm, all of which of enhance your brand.
A core decision will be the formality of your page. Will you only use professional headshots of executives on Facebook or will you allow snapshots? Highly personal information is rarely conveyed. “Congratulations to our CEO on the birth of his son” is not a common post, but it may be fit for the culture of your firm. As an added bonus, Facebook is a great way to communicate with potential new hires. Many users “Follow” firms they would like to work at.
In this article, you will learn a few easy steps to create a great fan page that will not only attract the players in your industry, but keep them engaged in your firm’s content and activity. Building a Facebook Fan Page is similar in nature to following a roadmap. This article will discuss the basic steps to follow to get you to your destination and touch on the Four Cs: Cohesive, Consistent and Coordinated Communication
1. Getting started
Creating a page is straightforward and easy to do using the guides provided by Facebook. Do a little leg work so you know what core information will be needed before you begin to create your Facebook Page. In the planning stage, you must determine the Cohesive and Consistent message, tone and visual elements you wish to convey. In smaller firms, this process may be undertaken by an individual. In larger firms, a workgroup or informal discussion with colleagues across departments may be helpful. The Facebook Page of your firm is a marketing tool and should represent your firm as a cohesive entity, not a segment or department of the firm.
2. Provide your firm’s essential information
The “About” section serves as the main description for your company and is an opportunity to convey the core message of your firm, including the products and services provided. The best way to approach this is to pull content from your company Web site so that your company message remains streamlined and cohesive. You can also include a link to your company’s site.
Your profile photo will be your firm’s logo. Using your logo creates brand recognition as followers will see the image in their newsfeed when you post. Non-followers will see the image when you comment on others pages or visit your page for the first time. If your logo is large or intricate, it is recommended to create a thumbnail logo or a simple version of your logo that is recognizable in a small size. The Company Cover Photo is the first photo people will see when they visit your page. This is an important detail not to be overlooked, as it is free advertising of your logo and brand.
3. Administer your page
Create a company policy regarding the look, feel and tone of your Facebook Page and ensure all administrators embody that policy. The message should be coordinated across departments and administrators. Do you want colleagues to assist in managing the page? You can give authorization to colleagues to be administrators and help you post to Facebook, as well as respond to comments or messages. Choose your administrators wisely. A young new hire or intern may be tech savvy, but are they capable of making discriminating decisions regarding content. If you have more than two administrators, assign responsibilities for content areas each will cover.
Become acquainted with your Admin Panel as it will serve as your main source for managing your firm’s page. You will need to learn how to navigate between your own personal Facebook page and the one or more Facebook Pages which you administer. Again, Facebook provides detailed guides to help you with the nuts and bolts of page administration.
4. Build an audience
Internally discuss a coordinated strategy to grow your audience and implement internal policies that will help you page grow. Some firms sponsor ads to increase visibility and gain fans. One strategy is to “Like” other pages in your industry and begin commenting on other’s posts to engage in conversation and increase the exposure of your page. You can import your contacts from your e-mail accounts to grow your company’s network. This will ensure you continue to grow your company’s network through additional channels. Importing contacts on a monthly basis is a good frequency to start with. Once your network sees the buzz generated by the contacts and content within your page, they will be more inclined to engage.
5. Provide content
It is important to use a variety of content. What is new in your niche of the mortgage industry? What pictures and/or statistics are your clients or followers interested in? Plan ahead and brainstorm content with your colleagues for a coordinated approach. If you are not familiar with graphic design software, you can recruit creative colleagues to create infographics of relevant data. Content should be original and engaging. It is okay to promote the posts of industry leaders and strategic partners by “sharing” their status on occasion, but most content should be original.
Status Updates allow you to convey your message to your fan base. You can update your firm’s status with press mentions, blog entries from executives, your company job postings, or start to gauge audience receptivity to a new project you’re working on. Facebook is a great way to draw industry players and potential clients to your Web site. Use Facebook to highlight new content on your site by providing a link directly to the information.
Daily engagement is required. While your ultimate goal is to have the best looking Facebook Page out there, you also want to be sure you are closely monitoring how your fans are utilizing it. The Admin Panel allows you to track this information with the ability to see all the private messages users are sending to your page, all the posts users “Like,” and each one that is commented on. By ensuring a quick response to each post and message received, you are expressing appreciation to your network of fans and building loyalty.
6. Evaluate the effort
Facebook provides the infrastructure to measure the success of your page. The “Insights” tool allows you to see overviews of your page’s Total Likes, Facebook Friends of Fans, People Talking This and Weekly Total Reach.
You must also consider the intangibles. Is your page authentic? Is it an accurate reflection of your firm? Does your page provide content that is valuable to the industry? Is your page meeting your goals? If not, reevaluate your efforts and look for ways to improve.
Your Facebook Page is part of a cohesive marketing strategy consistent throughout your online presence and social media. Just remember the Four Cs: Cohesive, Consistent and Coordinated Communication.
Theresa Santoro is manager of human resources/operations at Actualize Consulting where she oversees the recruiting and social media areas for the firm. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
Anna Bryan is senior consultant of human resources at Actualize Consulting where she assists with marketing and social media efforts for the firm. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]