Even if you are a little fuzzy on what the term "social media" exactly means, you are probably familiar with some of the more popular manifestations. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ among others - these are the major social media players all across the globe today, boasting billions of users between them and bringing together diverse communities from everywhere in the world. One of the most popular among them is Facebook

How to set up a Facebook Page?

          Signing up for Facebook is easy.  Simply visit http://www.facebook.com to set up your account. It will ask you for some personal data like email, birthday, hometown, and education or professional networks.  Facebook allows you to choose a customized URL, for example http://www.facebook.com/YourName.  Using a customized URL makes it easy for you to share with others, and to print on your visiting cards and/or stationary. 

          Treat your Facebook account as a professional platform.  Load up a profile photo of yourself. Then, take the time to customize as much information as you can – include your interests, your employment history, your educational background, and your website address.  This is not the environment where you want to come off like a sales person.  Facebook is the environment where you build relationships, interact with others, and subtly share with your connections what you do.  It’s a very “soft” sales environment.  If you come off too pushy, or you’re always promoting yourself, you are sure to be ignored and even un-friended.

          So how do you make connections on Facebook?  You must “befriend” someone to become connected. Facebook allows you to search your email address book to see if anyone you’re already connected to has, a Facebook account.  Be sure to ask those folks to befriend you, as you already have some kind of professional or personal connection.  Next, search for people who may be from the same college or high school you graduated from.  Even former co-workers or neighbors can be found by searching geographic regions or through professional networks.

          Facebook allows users to provide status updates – you can share anything from the kind of day you’re having, to a seminar you’re attending, to personal anecdotes.  You can see what your friends are up to and comment on their updates or items they share.  This interaction builds relationships, and is really the key idea of Facebook.  You can also “like” fan pages for businesses, bands, movies, books, and television shows.  This gives your friends a better idea of who you are and what you like.  It’s also an excellent way to interact and network with others, over shared interests.

          You can even create a fan page for your own business. This is the place where it’s appropriate to use your logo.  From a fan page of a business you like, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a link that says “create a page,” and this will guide you through the process of creating your own fan page.  You’ll be able to describe your business in detail, share promotions, and your domain names.

          The difference between a profile and a fan page is simple.  A person has a profile; their business has a fan page.  A fan page is an excellent resource for spotlighting your business.  One way to encourage people to “like” or join your fan page is to use your personal profile to let your friends know about your page.  Your fan page should feature special “Facebook only” promotions, providing special deals or discounts just for fan page members.

          You can market your fan page from your own profile, or by inviting your friends to share your fan page.  If other people are talking about your fan page, it’s always more effective than you promoting yourself.  You can also consider purchasing Facebook ads, which would then appear in the sidebar of other people’s profiles, inviting them to visit your website or join your fan page.  Because Facebook collects marketing data on their users, their ads tend to be very relevant, and will only appear to users who have expressed interest in specific areas.

          Remember that Facebook is an excellent medium for interacting with others and building relationships.  Like all social media networks, it should not be used to spam others, or hit them over the head with your products or services.  People do business with people they like – so your goal with all your social media accounts should be to build relationships – the rest will follow.  

How to attain success

With over a billion users now, Facebook is currently the most popular social media site in the world. That many users’ means a lot of potential clients, but the problem is getting all those people to take an interest in your business and become a fan of your Facebook business page. Fan acquisition requires getting the best mix of promotional content and genuine, personal fan interaction.

#1- Offer Incentives

Offering perks and rewards is one of the most effective ways to boost your Facebook following, according to several reports from social media researchers. The incentive could be a free report, for example, or it could extend directly to your product or service, such as a 10% discount. Promote the incentive by creating a banner for the top of your Facebook page so that it's the first thing new visitors see.

#2- Create Fans Out of Clients

While the goal of social media is to increase client acquisition, there's nothing wrong with reversing the process as well. It's easier to bring in initial fans using this method because your clients are already fans of your products/services. Place a sign in the visitors’ lounge encouraging clients to visit your Facebook page and give it a like. You can also place a Facebook Like Box directly on your website, which is especially useful for products/services that also provide an online payment service directly on their site.

#3- Email Marketing

Truth be told, Facebook is more efficient and cost effective than email marketing for new customer acquisition. However, using a two-fold approach can create a synergistic effect for both methods. Create a free monthly (or bi-weekly) newsletter for your customers, and include social links in each new installment. Be direct about it: Don't just place a link to your Facebook page discretely at the bottom of the newsletter; instead, come right out and ask your subscribers to show their support by going to your page and becoming a fan. Direct response marketing is always more effective.

#4- Contests

Word of mouth and sharing contests are an incredible way to attract viral attention for your Facebook page. Create a contest for your current fans which involves them sharing something about your product or service on their own Facebook walls. The "viral reach" of this is that every friend of every person who posts is exposed to your brand. Depending on your number of fans, this can reach in the hundreds of thousands. And remember, the contest can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. You could just say, "Tell us why you should win the prize." They post their responses on their own walls, tagging your business, and in the process spreading word about your business for free (other than the cost of the prize).

#5- Share Blog Posts

Effective social media is based on consistency and sharing, so in addition to your regular Facebook posts, share your most recent blog posts on your page. This will keep your updates fresh and interesting, encouraging people to not only like your page, but to continue visiting, commenting, and sharing on their own. No matter what, always do as much as possible to increase fan interaction for maximum viral reach.

These few tips are by no means the only ways to attract new Facebook fans, but they offer a solid starting point. The most important thing to remember is that social media thrives on transparency and honesty. Be up front with your fans and they will reward you.

In a Nutshell- Important Points to remember

Got all that? Don't worry if it seems like a lot. Let's go through a brief summary

What is Facebook?

Facebook is the world's largest social networking website, with over a billion registered users. Facebook has experienced phenomenal growth in just a few short years, and is continuing to grow at an incredible rate. This large membership pool represents the perfect audience for highly targeted digital marketing.

How to Use Facebook

First and foremost, open an account. Familiarize yourself with the basic elements of Facebook: Timeline, News Feed, Commenting, Liking, and Sharing.

 

Activity: Add a few personal friends to your own Facebook profile and get used to how the system works. Comment on a few posts, and add some posts of your own. Share a Youtube video.

Your Business Page

Start by writing a strong profile when you first create your business page. Anybody who is not a fan will land on your "About" page rather than your timeline, so this will be their first impression of your page. Back-post in the timeline, adding your founding date and any other relevant events that occurred before the page was created. Use a logo for your profile picture, but be creative with the larger cover photo. Use this as a vehicle to increase positive buzz for your brand. Visitors should get an impression of your business' "persona" from the cover photo before they even see a single post.

 

Hint: Stay away from simple "Hey, we're on Facebook" content for your first post. It's okay to say that, but make it richer with an image, video, or some other piece of informational content.

Generating Fans

Five simple methods:

Turn customers into fans. Share your blog posts. Use email marketing. Offer an incentive for "Liking" your page. Create a "word of mouth" contest

Rules and Suggestions for Posting

Post with an aim to appear on news feeds. This means rich content (photos and videos), consistency, and value. Use the 80/20 rule—80% value, 20% promotion. Post at least once per day, preferably two or three times per day.

 

Final note about Facebook posting: Quality is always more important than quantity. Every single post should add value of some sort, even if it's just entertainment value.