Columnists Brad Simon Internet Marketing Strategies Facebook: The new ‘Face’ of business marketing part 1

Internet Marketing Strategies Facebook: The new ‘Face’ of business marketing part 1

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It's been said that if you are being chased by a bear in the woods you don't have to be able to out run the bear. You only have to out run the person next to you. The same is true with business during a down economy. To be successful your business doesn't have to out run a Bear Market, just your competition!

Today many retail jewelers are finding Internet Marketing a great way to stay ahead of the competition. It is highly-effective, low-cost advertising, and the field is wide open when compared to other marketing media. There are relatively few retail jewelers taking advantage of Internet Marketing.

Facebook is a prime example of this. Few retail jewelers have begun using Facebook, and of those who have, very few of them are using it to maximize the customer prospecting, and advertising features that Facebook offers.

Facebook was started in 2004 out of Harvard University as a way for classmates to keep in contact after graduation. In 2007 Facebook opened up to the general public rather than just college graduates.

Currently Facebook has 225 million registered users and is predicted to reach 500 million before 2011. It is the largest Social Networking website and the fourth most trafficked website in the world. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 30 years and up and the average age is 35.

Because of it's Ivy League beginnings Facebook users tend to be a bit more educated and certainly a little more mature than other social networking websites and the Internet in general. The median income is also higher among Facebook members than other social networks. What this means is Facebook members have money!

Facebook has 3 main components. Each one is used differently and all three can benefit your business. They are Profiles, Pages, and Groups.

Profiles
Facebook profiles are for individuals, and therefore called ‘Personal Profiles'. You need to set-up a profile to begin using Facebook. Each person can only have one profile and it must be in your personal name (don't use your business name to create your Facebook profile).

Pages
Facebook Pages are for businesses. You can set-up Business Pages for any and all business and business activities. You can have as many Business Pages as you want. Your customers and potential customers can then become ‘Fans' of your business page. Because of this association to the Page, Facebook Business Pages are most often referred to as ‘Fan Pages'.

Groups
Facebook Groups are for just about anything you can think of, provided it is not the common taboos such as hate, pornography, etc. Facebook Interest Groups are a great place to meet people who have common interests with you and to join in on discussions concerning that topic.

This month we cover your Facebook Profile. Over the next few months we will look at other aspects of Facebook.

Creating Your Profile
Go to www.Facebook.com and enter your information and click ‘Sign-Up'. If you already have a facebook account log in to your account and click on the ‘Profile' tab. Be sure you include information about who you are and what you do in your Facebook Profile.

As mentioned before Facebook profiles are for people and you must use your real name or you are in violation of the Terms of Use. If you own Jones Jewelry and you set up your profile with a first name of Jones and a last name of Jewelry don't be surprised if you try to log onto Facebook one day and find your account deleted. All your friends will be lost and all your posts will be removed. It's not worth the risk. There are so many ways within the rules of Facebook to publicize your business, it's a foolish risk to take using your business name as a personal profile. If you already have an account set-up using your business name you can log into your account and edit your name in the account settings.

User Name
Your profile page on Facebook will be assigned a URL (webpage address) that begins with www.facebook.com/ followed by a long string of meaningless numbers and letters. This makes it very difficult to tell anyone to visit your profile page. Beginning in June 2009 Facebook has allowed users to select a user name. Your URL then becomes www.Facebook.com/YourUserName. To claim your user name go to http://www.facebook.com/username.

You want to select your real name as your user name if it is available. If you have a common name and it is no longer available then choose a user name with keywords appropriate to your business. For example if you own a jewelry store in Atlanta and your name is not available then you may want to choose something like AtlantaJeweler for your user name.

Always choose your real name if it is available. This will go a long way to helping your Online Reputation Management. Other keywords can be chosen to name pages you create, but this is your one chance to get your personal name.

Profile Picture
Make certain to up load a picture. It's called ‘Facebook' for a reason. People want to see your smiling face. Your personal profile picture is not the place to put pictures of your jewelry, logo, symbol, or anything other than a professional looking picture of you. You can, of course, up load all these other pictures to your profile page (and you should), but you want a picture of you chosen as your profile picture.

Website Links
In the ‘Contact Information' be certain to include a link to your website, and encourage all your employees to include a link to the store's website in their profile. You can include links to 10 different websites, so be sure to include a link to your blog as well as any other webpages you have. Facebook is a PR9 (page rank 9) website. These are extremely valuable links that you want to take advantage of and get as many as possible (one from each person connected with your store).

Special Note to Men
Men need to be careful on social networking websites when trying to network with women, as is the case with jewelers as most of our customers are women. You don't want to come across as a stalker. Adding family info to your bio such as "Happily married with 4 children" goes a long way to helping with this issue.

Making Friends
In Facebook your connections with other people are called Friends. You can invite other people on Facebook to become your friend, but they have to accept your invitation before you are friends with them. Currently Facebook limits you to 5,000 friends. They have announced plans to remove that limit, but as of now there doesn't seem to be any progress towards it.
Add a link to your website, blogs, and e-mail signature file inviting people to become your Facebook Friend. Add the link to your business cards as well and any brochures and pamphlets you have. The more customers and prospects you have as friends the easier it will become to promote your business through Facebook.

Accept All Invitations
To Become Friends

It amazes me how many business people on Facebook ignore (delete) requests to become friends. That's the equivalent of going to all the trouble and expense of opening a new store and then locking the door and not letting any customers in. How foolish!

Now I understand that some people want to use Facebook to communicate with family and don't want the world to see those posts, and that's fine. But don't give up the tremendous opportunities to build your business with Facebook. As you make friends you can create different ‘Lists' to categorize your friends. You can have a list for Family, Closest Friends, and Business Contacts. You could divide your business contacts into Suppliers, Customers, and Prospects, or however you want to set it up. When you make a post of any kind you can choose who you want to see it, and who it will be hidden from.

If at any time in the future you find you have someone as a friend that for whatever reason you no longer want to be friends with, you can delete them as friends. Facebook will silently remove them from your friends list. The person you removed will NOT get any type of notice that you removed them as a friend, and no mention of it will appear on your wall.

To begin making friends, Facebook has a feature where you can automatically invite everyone in your e-mail program contact list. Facebook will send an e-mail to everyone in your contact list inviting them to become your friend. If they are not a member of Facebook they will receive a link to sign-up and once they have created their account they can accept your friend invitation.

Once you have some friends you can go to your friend's profile and look through all their friends and invite anyone you know to become your friend as well. Another helpful feature to make friends is ‘Friend Suggestions'. Facebook will look through all the friends of your friends, and if they find anyone who is a friend of more than one of your friends they will suggest that you may know them as well and you can send them an invitation.

Don't Invite More Than
20 Friends A Day

You can accept an unlimited number of friend requests, it's only outgoing invitations that appear to be regulated. If you invite too many people to become your friend too quickly Facebook will consider you a spammer and WILL delete your account. Build friends slowly, but constantly. Every day or at least every couple of days you should log into your Facebook account, accept any friend requests, and send out 20 or so invites to people you know to become your friend.

One good way to develop a following on Facebook from people who are in your geographical area who would be potential customers is to do a search on Facebook for your city name and state either by itself or with terms such as ‘shopping' or ‘businesses' and see what comes up. Many times there are groups on Facebook for your geographical area. Visit the group's Facebook page and read what they have to say. See if there are any discussions going on (one great advantage of a Facebook Group is the on-going discussions). Join in the discussions or start a new one.

At the group's page you can view all the members. Look through the members and if you see anyone you know you can invite them to be your friend. It is also acceptable to invite people to be your friend if you don't know them when you have a common interest. Because you are both members of the group gives you something in common.

If you don't want to be that aggressive in asking them to be your friend, you can still develop a large following just by participating in the discussions and getting to know more people in your area. It's like being at a cocktail party and networking with the guests.

Next month we will look at Facebook Business Pages and how easy it is to create traffic to your website through them. In the mean time if you want to become my Facebook Friend log onto www.Facebook.com/BenchJeweler



Brad and Debbie Simon are owners of Internet 4 Jewelers. If you need a website or need help with your Internet Marketing go to: http://www.Internet4Jewelers.com.

 
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