Among all of the essential details involved in starting a business – choosing your entity type, creating your business plan, securing financing – one step that is vitally important but may not get your full attention is that of developing your marketing plan.
Thanks to social media, marketing your new business is certainly easier than it once was, but it’s important that you be fully aware of the level of commitment that’s still required, both in terms of time and finances. Those who tell you that marketing online is free are exaggerating, since online promotion does involve advertising, which always has an associated cost. Those who tell you anyone can do it really mean, “anyone willing to take the time and do the research.”
When you’re looking at your toolkit for developing your marketing plan, though, you need to make sure Facebook is at or near the top of that list.
Facebook for business has recently undergone a revamp that makes it more user-friendly for business owners and expands your available toolset.
Getting started: Create a Facebook page for your small business
Even though you may be early in the process of starting a business and just getting ready to incorporate online or build your small business website, you can generate buzz early through your Facebook page.
Ask your personal Facebook friends to help you jump-start the process by “liking” your page. If you feel a bit odd asking your friends to do the promoting for you, don’t. It’s not as though you are asking them to stand in the road with a sandwich board. Clicking the thumbs up button takes about a second.
Not just that, but your friends will probably enjoy the idea of being among the first to follow your business on Facebook. A big reason for social networking’s popularity is that it allows people to feel involved.
Post regular status updates that keep your followers engaged
Starting your Facebook page early means that you can keep your followers in the loop through every part of your business’s growth. Every status update creates an opportunity for your fans to share and possibly spread the word to an even larger network.
Let your followers know what’s going on with your business. Some good status examples might include:
“We just signed the lease on the perfect store front!”
“We just finished renovating the store to get ready for our grand opening. Check out the before and after photos!”
“Our first inventory shipment just arrived. Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll have in stock.”
If you’re planning on having a physical location, be sure to make your grand opening a Facebook event and invite all of your followers to join you on that day.
Make your followers feel like members of an exclusive club
Another thing people love about Facebook is the ability to get deals. Create promotional coupon codes for online purchases and post them to your Facebook page, along with a message emphasizing that these offers are created especially for your Facebook fans.
Coupons and offers are among the most-shared Facebook status updates from businesses. The 10% off you give people through this avenue will pay off big time when your fan base increases.
Use the available metrics to hone your approach
Even the most minimal Facebook involvement should expand your customer base, but if you have the time and energy to devote, you can use the provided statistics to get even better results.
Use the included Facebook Insights tools to monitor which posts get the most attention and are shared the most often, and create even more of those types of messages.
Every small business can benefit from promoting on Facebook
Starting a business these days absolutely requires that you use the tools available to you online. Incorporation is just the start of the features the internet offers to the new and growing small business.