Now that you have set up your Business page (if you haven’t, check the article Getting fans and engaging with customers on Facebook – Part 1 it is time to learn how to use its features to get more fans and engage with customers. Keep in mind that Facebook offers thousands of different possibilities but you need to start with the basic things if you want your clients to engage with you.
The first step to get fans is inviting them to “like” your page.
The simplest way to get fans to like your page is to upload your email database to Facebook.
If you didn’t do it when you were creating your page, you’ll see the IMPORT CONTACTS in the Tell your fans section when you log in. Just click on it and upload your database. Another option is to send a custom email asking them to like your page. You can even offer a coupon for whoever does. Facebook has a coupons tab feature where you can set up offers for your fans when they “like” your page (to learn how to set up a coupons tab on Facebook, stay tuned for next week article Facebook: landing page and coupons).
Once you get your first 25 fans, we’ll be able to choose the short link for your Facebook page. When you first create your business page, your URL address contains your business name and a bunch of numbers (like this: www.facebook.com/pages/Your-Biz-Name/123456789101112); but after you reach 25 fans, you are able to choose your short link or username, as Facebook calls it. That is a very nice feature because it’ll make it easier for you to market your page and easier for your guests to remember it (a short link will look like this: www.facebook.com/Your-Biz-Name). Once you are eligible to choose your link, just click on EDIT PAGE (on the top right hand side when you log in) and click on BASIC INFORMATION. On this screen you’ll see the option to choose your username. Facebook will give you four suggestions or you can choose your own. Be careful when choosing a username because you won’t be able to change it later. Click on SET USERNAME, and you are done. Now you can use the short link on emails, posters and flyers to market your page.
The second step in connecting and engaging with fans is planning your posts.
Posts are anything you upload on your wall, and they are how you’ll promote your business and interact with your customers. Posts are the biggest part of your social media initiative. Make sure you do it right and your customers will love you. There are 5 types of posts—status, photos, links, videos and questions— and 2 ways to upload them. You can do it from the GET STARTED tab (left hand side, under your profile picture) or directly on your WALL.
Status: Here you can write whatever you want. You can just say “good morning” or tell your fans to check out your new menu. The status update is the simplest way to share anything on Facebook.
Photo: Research shows that any post with a picture is more attractive to people than just a post (or status update). So, if you can, post an interesting picture of your restaurant, your menu or anything you think your fans will like to see and comment on. It is really important to get your fans to interact because Facebook determines what shows up on peoples’ pages by the amount of interaction. If you post something that is not interesting or it doesn’t get any comments, Facebook might not show it on your fans’ pages. The algorithms used by the platform to calculate who shows up and who doesn’t are unknown, but it’s been recognized that posts with more interactions show up first.
When you upload a photo, you can choose between uploading it from your drive, taking a picture with your webcam (I don’t recommend using this option, as the photos look very unprofessional) or uploading an album (more than one picture). The album option is really nice because your fans can easily access it later on. Also, you can upload other things like your menu, pictures of your place or photos from an event.
Link: If you want to share something interesting that you found on another website, all you have to do is copy the link of your browser and add it in the link box (same one you’d write a status in). Facebook will let you choose a picture for it (taken from the link’s website) and you’ll also be able to comment on it.
Video: With this option you can record a video with your webcam (again, I wouldn’t recommend it), or you can upload it from your device. If you have a video about your business or about something your customers can relate to, upload it on Facebook. Videos are an easy way to connect with customers and promote interactions. Tip: when choosing a video for your Facebook fans, try to keep it short, informative and funny—people remember funny things better than anything else.
Questions: it is just like a trivia game. You can post a question and your fans will answer it just for fun. You also have the option of adding a poll and/or leaving it opened for your fans to add answers. To add a poll, just click on ADD POLL OPTIONS and write as many answers as you want. To allow your fans to add different answers, check the ALLOW ANYONE TO ADD OPTIONS box. Each fan can answer the question only once. The questions feature allows you to collect information from your clients as well as create interaction. You can ask questions just for fun (like “what’s your favorite day of the week?”), or you can ask something about your business (“which one of our special dishes do you like the most?”). Tip: after you post a question, you cannot edit it, so be careful when typing it!
When posting, remember to keep everything related to your business or related to your customers’ lives (school, career, kids, health, etc). Posting random things just to have something new on your wall will drive your fans away. Also, pay attention to what they interact more with and what time you get more comments—this can be a key factor when sharing things on Facebook and engaging with your fans.
Another big part of successfully engaging with your fans is being quick to respond and being honest with them. Facebook is about sharing and building personal relationships. When people comment on your wall or leave you messages, answer to it A.S.A.P. Replying in a couple hours might be acceptable for you, but fans really appreciate when you do it in just a few minutes. If a fan is unsatisfied with your services and posts something about it, simply explain to him why that happened and promise you’ll do your best to fix it. If a fan praises your business, make sure you thank him. People feel more compelled to interact with a page when they feel like there is a real person behind the posts and it is not just an automated thing. Fans want to build a real relationship with you, so deal with them as if they are standing right in front of you. Be kind, funny, and responsible and never—never— fight over anything or use bad words. Also, be alert for people just trying to take advantage of you. If someone keeps leaving non-sense messages, you can always delete the messages and ban the person from your page (to do that click on the X that shows up on the top right hand side of the message and choose that option).
Tip: To get even more people on your Facebook page, you can add a “like us” box on your website. Since the box uses HTML code, you’ll need to ask whoever created your website to add it for you. Facebook gives all the instructions on how to add the code here.