ProTip: Facebook for Businesses

One of the biggest topics that comes developing an online presence is how to handle Facebook. There are so many options: Pages, Events, Groups… how do you know what’s right for your endeavor? It’s fairly simple to answer this question by answering another: What is your goal?

Are you hoping to make connections with current and future clients?
Are you hoping to have people attend or participate in a gathering?
Are you hoping to foster collaboration and a sense of community?

Don’t worry, you can answer “yes” to all three of these questions, but each of them requires a different approach to the Facebook game.

First and foremost, if you have a business, you should create a Facebook Page. They break down their definition in Desktop Help > Pages: “Pages are for businesses, brands and organizations to share their stories and connect with people.” Furthermore,  according to their Terms of Service: “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”

So that’s pretty clear, if you’re a business hoping to make connections with current and future clients, create a Facebook Page. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s professional, and it’s likely the first way clients and customers will find you. In the last few months, I’ve been working hard for a client, finding information about businesses where he might be able to showcase his work. After doing broad Google searches, I’ve compiled lists and gone searching for contact information. So many of these businesses don’t have a website, and many of those don’t even have a Facebook page. So I’m left with hoping that the contact information listed on a non-affiliated website is correct. Often it isn’t.

Next, and this can (and should) be in conjunction with your Facebook Page, if you’re hosting a meeting, party, celebration, or rendezvous of any kind (i.e. if you want to have people attend or participate in a gathering): create a Facebook Event. This is an incredibly useful tool, especially in the day & age of the smart phone. If your clients have the synced their Facebook app with their phone’s calendar, then the event automatically gets added to their calendar when they respond to the event. Events can also be a useful tool for keeping track of your business. I have clients who use Facebook events to help keep track of mileage for tax purposes. Also, Events allow you to add friends and other businesses as hosts, which allows for cross promotions.

Last, the Facebook Group. According to Facebook: “Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people” or as I like to think of it: foster collaboration and a sense of community. Groups are awesome for shared committee work, communicating with all the members of a wedding party, band, or business, and connecting with those who share interests. Groups have a few drawbacks: they can’t be created by a Page, they can only be created by an individual; the default setting on a Group is for all members to receive all notifications; not all Facebook apps/mobile sites make it possible to change the settings or leave the Group. If you create a group, be careful that you’re only adding people you’re sure will be interested in the topic.

Here are a couple specific examples of how Pages, Events, and Groups can work:
Meridian Photography: Page for sharing/interacting with clients; Event for mini-sessions, exhibit, or print sale; Group for participants in a photo-a-day challenge.
Perfect Strangers: Page for sharing/interacting with fans; Events for upcoming shows; Group could be for band communications or for fans.

Today’s Takeaway: Pages, Events, and Groups are all amazing ways to promote your business and engage with your audience on Facebook; just make sure you’re using them appropriately, it can make a world of difference.