All Things Facebook (Part 1)

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(Image: ©iStockphoto/Anikei)

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Bonnie Hanson (center), VP of marketing and business development for The Laundry Doctor, a St. Paul, Minn., laundry service, speaks to a Clean Show attendee following her standing-room-only educational session. (Photo: Bruce Beggs)

Bruce Beggs |

Using world’s most popular social media to boost your business profile

LAS VEGAS — Social media marketing has been a hot topic among small businesses for several years now. The most popular media used today is Facebook, a free social networking website through which registered users can create and update profiles, upload photos and videos, send messages, and otherwise keep in touch with family and friends.

Bonnie Hanson is vice president of marketing and business development for The Laundry Doctor, a St. Paul, Minn., laundry service—and a big-time Facebook fan for personal and professional use.

At the Las Vegas Convention Center, Clean Show attendees filled the “Exhibit Floor Classroom” on the event’s first afternoon to hear her presentation, All Things Facebook.

Hanson cautioned the audience that presenting “all things Facebook” in an hour is virtually impossible, and stated her goal was to acquaint the audience with Facebook and demonstrate how a laundry business could simply and cheaply market itself to customers and prospects.

“Even at the business level, (Facebook is) about getting people to want to hang out with you,” she says. “It’s about spending more time with you and, hopefully, more money with you.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Nearly 80% of all U.S. adults who use the Internet are on Facebook, Hanson says. Facebook has 1.94 billion active users, and 50% of them login daily.

Users invest 700 billion minutes per month in the network. More than 90% of Facebook users predominately access it via mobile device.

A LITTLE ‘101’

Profiles, pages and groups are the foundation of Facebook. Profiles are personal for individuals—a single profile can amass up to 5,000 “likes”—and are required in order for a Facebook user to create a page and to join groups.

Pages are designed for businesses and organizations and include unique features to help them connect with customers. Business pages can have unlimited “likes,” so there is no limit to the number of followers a business may have there.

Analytics provides data about user patterns and interests. It’s possible for business users to create ads and “boost” posts. You can post a map to your business and list your operating hours, and customers can post reviews or “check in” via Facebook when they visit your store.

Groups are created for specialized uses: events, causes, thought leadership, team communication, etc. They can be open, closed or secret, Hanson says, and only someone with a Facebook profile can join a group.

“Make sure that everything speaks the same language,” she says. “Your website looks like your Facebook page looks like your store...”

STARTING POINTS

As you begin developing your business Facebook page, it’s important to set the tone, Hanson says. Know your brand, be transparent, and be professional.

“Show them who you are,” she says. “Be confident and know who you are. Are you dependable? Are you intelligent? Are you funny? Are you formal or a little more casual? You get to choose, and hopefully you’ve chosen already if you’re on Facebook.

“You can laugh at yourself on Facebook. That’s OK, because nobody’s perfect. But watch the typos. Be conscientious about sounding like you know what you’re doing.”

Hanson recommends clean, simple copy; limiting use of jargon and acronyms; and using good, stylistic imagery.

Be focused and engaged; be clear about what it is you want your follower to do.

“This is the holy grail. Shares are really important,” Hanson says. “If you want people to share your stuff, click ‘Share with my friends,’ you really need to be clear that you want them to do that.”

That means using calls to action: “Like this post if you agree,” “Tag a friend who’d love this,” and/or “Comment with your vote.”

“If you get shares or likes on your content, it gets into others’ news feeds, and then it gets into others’ news feeds, and so on and so on. You get one person to like you, then their friends like you, and so on. You grow just by being yourself, just by talking to people. If you feel like you can’t do that, then you find someone to help you do that who’s going to represent your brand the way you want to be represented.”

Whatever content you choose to post, offer value. Create engagement opportunities. Make it remarkable. Provide information, discounts, or unique access. Keep it simple, and ensure that your staff is aware of your campaign and what it might mean to your operation, Hanson says.

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

There are three main ways to promote your Facebook platform: organic posts, boosting posts, and advertising.

Organic posts are normal Facebook activities: publishing content on your business page, sharing posts and interacting with others. This is all free. Organic posts show up on followers’ news feeds—if and where posts appear vary by Facebook’s shifting algorithm.

“There are lots of way to leverage your organic posts,” Hanson says.

Facebook pages can choose to boost a post to increase brand exposure by showing up higher in a news feed to more followers. Simply hit the “Boost” button associated with the post, choose an audience, then set your budget and duration.

“It is so not hard to boost a post,” she says. “And you can set a monetary limit, and say, ‘I want to spend 5 bucks,’ and you can spend 5 bucks, can’t you? More people will see your stuff. That’s really all you’ve gotta do. It amplifies what you’re saying to a bigger audience.”

The next step is to place Facebook advertising using the site’s Ads Manager. There are greater options to target the audience by age, gender, geographic area, etc., through this type of promotion, Hanson says. Ads are available for any budget and are available for purchase in a variety of ways, the site says.

Coming in Thursday’s conclusion: The top 10 things to focus on

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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