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To be or not to be… on Facebook

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NathanBy Nathan Wise, autotechnician Digital Products Manager

 

 

 

 

 

The people that aren’t on the social network personally are arguably in a minority, but for the independent workshop business it’s the opposite. Do you promote your business on Facebook? If you are you thinking about setting up a business page here are a few guidelines to ensure your business benefits…

How to get started

Setting up a page is easy to do and needs to be done from your personal account. Simply click on the arrow in the top right corner, select create page, choose a business category, then select an industry specific category. All you need to do now is add a description of your business, your website link if you have one, upload a header graphic and logo and you’re good to go! You can now start posting content and working to increase your ‘Likes’. Also, if you download the Facebook Pages app, it makes it much easier to switch between your personal and business pages.

Promoting your business

Promoting your page is pretty easy too, the first step would be to ask all your friends in the area to share and like your page. You can ask your customers to do the same, plus ask them to rate your business and leave a comment or recommendation. Another option available to you is to pay to promote your page. Again this is easy, choose who you want to promote your business to via things like their location and interests, set the amount you want to spend and in return you’ll be informed of the approximate amount of new ‘Likes’ you’ll get – and it works well. Add your Facebook link to your website, business cards, invoice paper, vehicle livery and anything else you have that customers see. Beyond these simple steps, growing a social media presence is all about quality content that your existing audience will want to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’, therefore promoting your business to new potential customers.

What’s next?

Once you’ve done all of this, the next job is to ‘get social’. For you and your business it’s about promoting your services, opening hours, quality and efficiency of your work, special deals, seasonal offers and everything else that you do – if it’s a relevant offer to someone who ‘Likes’ your page, or they know someone it’s relevant to, it will hopefully get shared and you potentially gain a customer or get a booking from an existing one.

People who have chosen to ‘Like’ your page are open to communication through it. This means that taking things a step further, you can arrange bookings, notify customers of completed work, send MOT and service reminders, find new staff and engage with your customers in a less obtrusive way, as opposed to a phone call or email. What’s even better is you can set up other staff members with the appropriate level of access so you don’t have to look after it 24 hours yourself.

Other things to consider

So, on face value this is an essentially free way of promoting your business and services in a way that everyone is already engaged with – sounds pretty perfect doesn’t it?

Well, yes and no – here are our ‘Top 5’ things to consider before taking the Facebook plunge:

1) Time – In short, running an effective and profitable Facebook pages takes time. It can easily become a full-time job for one person and it doesn’t end when you lock up for the night, so you need to consider if it can be done.

2) Updates – Having a Facebook page that isn’t updated regularly, or when you don’t respond to posts, can create a similar impression to an out-of-date website. It can make people think there’s a lack of care and attention in what you do as a business – it can look unprofessional. If you don’t have the time and resources to run a Facebook page, it’s better not to have one.

3) Complaint handling – I don’t think there’s a business out there that hasn’t had a complaint from a customer, rightly or wrongly. Remember Facebook is a very public domain for people to vent their opinions on, which is part of what makes it, and other ratings websites work. However, if you’re not managing your page and responding to these comments, again it looks unprofessional and disgruntled customers will ‘Share’ their experience far and wide.

4) Spelling & grammar – Using correct spelling and grammar reflects on you as a professional business. Text speak, abbreviations, some emojis, incorrectly spelled words and poor grammar, won’t help the perception of your business – make sure whoever is looking after your page knows about your standards and that they are confident to uphold them.

5) Political correctness & controversial subjects – Remember, this isn’t your personal page, it’s your business page. It’s not the right place to share political opinion or controversial information – sounds obvious but we’ve seen it happen. Focus solely on what your business does for the benefit of your customers. When it comes to controversy, even sharing or commenting on the recent success of your favourite sporting team can open a can of worms that you will regret. Also, remember that everyone can see your responses, I think you get what we mean here.

Facebook is a fantastic tool to promote your business and gain new customers – but this is the key, only if you have the time and resources to do it. Opening any means of communication, that isn’t properly managed, will only frustrate and infuriate potential new customers and existing ones. Whichever you choose, like the services your business offers, do them well and you’ll see the benefit. If you can’t, think very carefully if it’s the right option for you and your business.

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