Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with AK Stout @akstout18. AK has been working with social media for the past 6 years, as one of the first group introduced to Facebook. AK prides herself in finding ways to utilize her knowledge and experiences in conjunction with the ever-expanding mix and advantages of new media tools to help businesses enhance their online footprint. Check out her website http://www.sayingitsocial.com
SmallBizLady: Should I use a Facebook Page, Profile, or Group for by business?
AK Stout: Businesses should use Facebook Business Pages in order to be in ompliance with Facebook’s Terms of Service and to reap the best business benefits on Facebook. To create a Facebook Business Page go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
If you have already set up your business on Facebook and you accidentally set it up on the personal profile platform (if you have to approve ‘Friends’ for your business — you have a personal profile) you can migrate your Profile to a Page while retaining ‘Friends’ and ‘Subscribers’ as ‘Fans’ by going to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate
If you are using a Group for your business there isn’t a feature for converting to a Page so you will have to set up a new Page and let your group members know how to find the new Page.
SmallBizLady: What are the business benefits of a having a Facebook Page?
AK Stout: In short, exposure. Facebook Pages are indexed by search engines so if you are posting content relevant to your business you have the potential of having your Facebook Page show up in search engine results.
Having a presence on Facebook also helps keep your business top of mind for your audience. Every time you post something, it could potentially be seen by your ‘Fans’ and while a ‘Fan’ may not need your product or service right then and there, if they keep catching your posts, your business is more likely to come to mind when the time does come to make a purchase decision.
Additionally, whenever one of your ‘Fans’ takes action on your page (posts, likes, comments), that action appears in their activity feed and subsequently in the news feed of their personal network for all to see.
SmallBizLady: I created a Facebook Page, why doesn’t anyone ‘Like’ it?
AK Stout: As wonderful as it would be to set up a Page and have people automatically flock to it; that is simply not reality. The next step of the process is to actually let people know you have a Page and to make it as easy as possible for it to be found.
The first step is to click on the button within your Admin Panel that says ‘Build Audience’ and then invite your Friends to ‘Like’ your Page.
Next you’ll want to advertise your Faecbook Page EVERYWHERE. Some places to make sure you have a button, link, or display URL to your Facebook Page would be: your website, your email signature, your personal Facebook, your eNewsletters, printmaterial and even in-store signage.
I always recommend thinking about every point of contact you could have with a prospect or customer and make sure that there is an option for them to ‘Like’ your Facebook Page at that time.
SmallBizLady: How do I come up with content to post on my Page?
AK Stout: It is best to post a variety of statuses: links to articles, links to your own blog posts and content, pictures, videos, questions, and quotes. Continually posting the same of one type of status becomes boring for your ‘Fans’ and you will begin to lose their interest.
I recommend setting up Google Alerts to keep track of what is going on in your industry and then pulling quality articles that come to your email to post. When you post blog posts and articles, don’t just post the link, ask a thought provoking question about the article to encourage ‘Fan’ participation.
Multimedia posts have shown to attract the most interest so do not neglect these types of posts.
SmallBizLady: When is the best time during the week to post on my Page and how often should I post?
AK Stout: The best day and time to post on your Page depends upon your audience. I’ve found the only way to figure this out is with experimenting and analyzing trends. For the first month or so of Facebook marketing post at all different days and times then begin looking at your Facebook Page Insights to see when your posts are receiving the most impressions and interactions.
As a basic rule I recommend posting 1-2 times per day. There are some Pages that can get away with posting more times than that but you run the risk of irritating your audience and getting ‘unliked’. If you have the content and you want to post more than 2 times per day — give it a try and use your Page Insights to see how your impressions and interactions fair and if you are being ‘unliked’ — if your stats are dwindling you will know your audience thinks it’s too much. If your stats aren’t affected — post away! If you can’t post for a day — don’t panic, just make sure you get a few posts in per week so that if someone stumbles upon your Page they won’t think you’ve abandoned the Page.
SmallBizLady: What is an appropriate response time for when people post on my Page?
AK Stout: As soon as possible and before you put out another status update. The worst thing to do is have questions and comments posted on your Page and then you post a status update leaving those people feeling ignored.
Make sure you have post notifications enabled to be delivered to your email and respond at your next opportunity — letting no more than 24 hours elapse. To really impress your audience, carry an email and web enabled smartphone and respond on the go. Nothing makes a Fan feel more appreciated and cared for than an immediate response.
SmallBizLady: How should I address negative comments on my Page?
AK Stout:: Unless the negative comments are offensive and have vulgar language do not delete them — deleting negative comments will only infuriate the ‘poster’ and encourage them to continue posting unfavorable comments.
Addressing negative comments in the public eye is not necessarily a bad thing because it shows that you care about your business and your customers. If you can address someone’s problem in a timely manner you may just be able to turn their opinion of you around because they appreciate your desire to help.
If you don’t immediately have a response at least comment to let the person know that you have received their question/comment and that you are looking into a solution and will get back to them. Just the acknowledgement can go a long way.
SmallBizLady: My Facebook Page URL is really long and ugly, how do I make it short and customized to put on my print material?
AK Stout:: You can create a custom URL in the form of facebook.com/username by going to http://facebook.com/username and choosing what you want to display for “username”. Make the “username” as close to your business name as possible. If you are going to be doing any print advertising you will want to do this so that your URL is short and memorable. Note: You cannot create a custom URL for your Page until you have 25 ‘Fans’.
SmallBizLady: How can I ‘Use Facebook as my Page’ and why should I do this?
AK Stout: Click on the drop down arrow in the upper right hand corner of Facebook to the right of ‘Home’ and select the name of your Page. When you do that — any interaction you have on Facebook will be under the name of your Page.
You should do this to get on the radar of other businesses by ‘liking’ and commenting on their Pages. If you are going to do this make sure are adding value and not posting promotional messages about your own business that could be perceived as spam.
Doing this will not only get your business on the radar of other businesses but also on the radar of their audiences who will see your business name on the posts as well.
SmallBizLady: I saw that I can send my tweets on Twitter to my Facebook page, should I do that so I only have to post one time?
AK Stout: I do not recommend this. The format of a tweet can be confusing to Facebook users who do not use Twitter. @replies and hashtags will look like foreign and misplaced characters on Facebook. Also, when you are posting a link to a blog post or article via Twitter you lose the image of the post, post name, and description from showing on Facebook.
Finally if your strategy is to post many times throughout the day on Twitter that will lead to way too many Facebook posts. If you want to only post in one place, you can send your Facebook posts to Twitter by going to http://facebook.com/twitter
SmallBizLady:: I’ve heard running a contest is a good way to get more Facebook fans, how should I implement a contest?
AK Stout: Facebook has very strict guidelines about contests. The most important rule to know is that you cannot administer a contest directly on your Page without using a third-party application. To make sure you are in compliance, carefully read Facebook’s Promotion and Contest Guidelines at: http://on.fb.me/fbcontestguidelines
Once you have chosen an application to implement your contest make sure you let everyone know that you are having a contest — talk about it in your blog posts, email newsletters, website, other social sites and even in your email signature.
SmallBizLady: Should I add applications to my Facebook Page?
AK Stout: If you have a YouTube channel, adding a YouTube application to your Page can be a great way to tell your audience about your products and services. If you sell products, you can use Facebook applications to sell right from your Page. There are Facebook applications for a variety of different purposes. It’s important to understand that only three applications chosen by you show up prominently on your Page so while you can add more — just know they won’t all be readily visible without your ‘Fans’ taking action to look for more applications which doesn’t always happen.
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.