What You Need to Know Before Using Your Professional Facebook Page as Part of Your Inbound Strategy

Inbound marketing, which involves taking strangers through a process that eventually turns them into customers and even promoters of your brand, has become the most effective marketing strategy for doing business online.

That means it’s no longer just a “good idea” for your business to be actively involved in social media. As reported in the State of Inbound Marketing (2012), social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. Facebook is particularly important, as 80% of US social network users prefer to connect to brands through Facebook.

With a reported active daily use of a staggering 829,000,000 people, you’re likely chomping at the bit to put your Facebook page to use. But before you dive in, there are a few things you need to know.

How a Facebook Business Page Is Different than a Personal Profile:

If you haven’t already, you need to set up a business page. Since Facebook has begun cracking down on people who are running a business through a personal profile, you run the risk of losing your profile all together if you fail to create a professional page.

Aside from that, professional pages lend legitimacy to your business. Using a personal profile to run your business doesn’t exactly send the same message to your customers.

Plus, business pages aren’t limited to 5,000 “friends.” So the sky’s the limit. Pages are a little different than profiles, though. You want to make sure you’re taking advantage (or are at least aware) of all it has to offer, including the following:

Insights. Built-in analytics allow you to learn valuable information about your customers, including what they like and what they don’t like, when they are active online, and where they are from.

Admin Roles. You can grant employees or outside consultants permissions to complete certain tasks by assigning roles such as Insights Analyst, Advertiser, Moderator, Content Creator, or Manager.

Tabs and Apps. Enhance your page by displaying up to 5 tabs or apps. Tabs are extra pages that allow you to provide content separate from your feed. Apps add functionality to your page, such as displaying real-time market data and home listings for Realtors.

You need a plan.

Posting randomly won’t get you results. You need to have a strategy in place. Decide what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking to generate leads? Trying to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry? Have a clear goal in mind, and then figure out the best way to get there. An editorial calendar can help you focus your efforts on developing relevant content for your specific objectives.

Know what to do next. After someone’s engaged with your post, what’s the next part of their journey? Do you have a strategy for converting these people from Facebook followers to prospective clients? If they click your post, where are they going? How does this relate to you? And if you are trying to capture their contact info or asking them to contact you, are you offering good reasons and resources to do so?

It’s work.

Even though social media tends to be more casual than other professional spaces, it’s important to remember that this is still the face—and sometimes first impression—of your business. If you’re going to use Facebook to promote your business (which you should), put in the effort to make it great. Businesses can’t connect to people on Facebook; the people have to connect to the business by “liking” the page. So you’ll have to produce good, relevant content to pull in followers.

Make a commitment to post regularly. Converting visitors into customers is a journey. You don’t get there in a single post. Only after continuously engaging prospects will you begin to build enough trust to start earning their business.

Analyze Insights so you know what’s working and what isn’t. Test different types of posts, such as images, updates, or videos, as well as different days and times. And use that data to continually improve engagement. The quality of your posts matters even more than frequency, so you’ll want to put in the extra energy required to make them great.

Finally, respond promptly to comments or questions. If people don’t feel that you’re listening to them, they won’t want to listen to you.

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