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Making the most of Facebook - for free

Like it or loathe it, Facebook is very much part of the social media scene. You might use, it, your kids might use it, even your Mom or your granny might use it, but should your business use it?

The answer is a definite yes, simply because so many people use Facebook that a portion of them are bound to be your target age range and demographic. Facebook is not the sole territory of the young anymore; it's remarkably democratic in its scope, and with 1.23 billion users worldwide, it's also big. Very big.

Facebook - the stats

Compare the user number to the number of small business pages, just 25 million. So, it's much easier to make an impact in Facebook as a business than as an individual, and that alone is reason enough to have a Facebook page for your business.

Why have a Facebook Company page

A Company page allows you to engage with clients and potential customers alike in an informal and relaxed way - it is definitely NOT about the hard sell. The idea is to create a following for your business or brand on Facebook based on interesting information, useful advice and entertaining posts, preferably such that the post invites people to Comment and join in the conversation. Keep posts short, snappy, relevant (no cute cats unless you treat them, groom them or feed them) and ALWAYS include a photo - you only need to look at your own news feed to see how posts without pics disappear into the blur of posts.

Best of pals: Facebook and your website

The other main aim of a Company page on Facebook is to drive your fans/followers back to your website. Facebook is not the right place for detailed information like this blog, for example. The idea is that you out a regular blog on your website to help your customers, to make your website appear active to search engines, and increase your SEO keyword exposure. You drive people to your blog via social media 'teaser' posts, which encourage them to click through and read the blog in full.

And that click is pure gold, because search engines such as Google are increasingly taking notice of traffic to your website from social media. It 'confirms' to the search engines that real people like your website, and rank it accordingly.

Equally, you must make sure people can Share your blog post on Facebook once they have read it. When they click the Facebook icon at the bottom of a blog (try it on this blog now!), readers to share your blog post on their Timeline. So, suddenly, your post can be seen by all their friends, and they might click through and read it too, and so on.

Company pages and security

Some business owners are concerned by the protocol that a Company page in Facebook must be set up via an individual's account. Please don't be; once the page is set up, there is no public link between the personal account and the Company page. Once the Company page is published, you can then appoint people to administer it with you, so you don't have to do all the posting yourself either.

How is my page doing? Metrics and measurements

Facebook has a powerful set of analytics and extra features for Company pages, so you can analyse which posts are the most successful, etc. So you can see how much benefit you are gaining from your time and effort. And yes, Facebook does take time to learn and manage effectively. (If you don't have time or inclination call us about our social media baseline service for posting on Facebook, Twitter and other influential sites.)

How to get started with Facebook

One of the best guides to getting started we've seen is from Simply Business (http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/microsites/facebook-for-small-businesses/), a terrific slow chart that guides you through, step by step. Or, give us a call and we'll set you up with a Company page with custom header and everything ready for you to get started.

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