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How do you Facebook for Business?

Studied art and fashion design at Manchester then Westminster University. In the past 15 years Colin has been part of the buying team at Burberry, an Angel Investor, corporate film and TV producer, and for the last 6 years has run his own digital agency. An online social adoptee from 2005. He’s an exhibited artist.

For starters lets be absolutely clear Facebook should never be the sole activity of your business marketing activity but integrated into your sales and marketing activity or a customer management tool (which can sometimes be the same thing).

We have two sides to our social media marketing, B2B which is not who this post is for and the other which is consumer focussed and our specialty is in fashion retail and FMCG. I could of course mention the various campaigns that have succeeded, the chances are you know about them, you’ve read the results but there’s no “How we did it!”. Now I’m sure you must realise that I’m not about to give the whole game away because I’ve got a living to make but those of you with the time and marketing background will likely fill in the blanks.

You’ve created your business profile, you’ve invited everyone you know – you’ve gone round the entire business and asked everyone to invite their friends… so what now? A typical retailer has to post daily – not only that, they need to post when their customers are most likely logged on to ensure the message shows up in their stream. Oh and maybe you’ve heard “DO NOT SHOVE SALES MESSAGES DOWN THEIR FACE!” Engaging, relevant content with links to new collections, new staff, links to popular press with relevance to your audience – one of the main reasons the audience join your page is to get a deal or an offer but that can’t be the only reason.

You build your audience by partnering with a genius creative team that monthly or quaterly come up with fresh incentives and ideas that are placed on your Facebook page to continually entertain and drive traffic.

Essentially your page needs to be monitored so your business can interact with those that leave comments or post pictures and videos – there are tools that help with this. So this is where being in an agency or part of a retail team or the latest job title on the block “Community Manager” makes the real difference – this is where you turn your visitors into ambassadors, where you turn your fans into shoppers, where you make the people that love your brand walk across the threshold and make that purchase. You’re not pandering to them, you are responding to their questions and enquiries – you’re not hard selling at this point you are offering suggestions and advice based on your knowledge of the product. You are building trust.

Oh and by the way Facebook advertising works (there I’ve said it). We’ve proven it. However you need to know what you’re doing – again you need to work with a genius creative team that know the power of the word or phrase that create the call to action you need.

There are loads of tools out there to help you create a Facebook page that holds the info you need your customers to have – whether you want to have a printable PDF, a Twitter feed, a Youtube Channel page or a Survey – host your online store – it can all be done and brilliantly hold your customer database as well.

So is Facebook the future for consumer based interaction? There is no doubt it has flaws and issues; whether “GoogleMe” will be the death of it or another social network looming around the corner I wouldn’t care to speculate – at the moment Facebook does a damn fine job.

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