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There was a time when everyone believed that having a blog was one of the most critical elements to web success. In fact even today, I still have clients who have been informed by “buzzword driven web experts” that they must have a blog or else they are doomed to failure.

The problem with this was that a lot of businesses, for one reason or another, just aren’t suited to having a blog. Many businesses have only now realised that after many hours of painstakingly hard work, trying to create relevant and unique content on a regular basis is a lot harder than they first thought or were lead to believe. Never-mind the fact that they probably never once saw even a small return for all this hard-work they had endured. And just when all the “buzzword driven web experts” had convinced you to get a blog, they now have a brand new buzzword for you… Roll up “Social Media Marketing“…

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Social Media Marketing, but yet again I see more and more businesses who want a Facebook or Twitter presence without even understanding how they should engage with this new medium. And that’s exactly what it is, a new medium. Therefore nothing is proven just yet, but it’s clear from others success that Social Media Marketing with sites like Facebook and Twitter is a simple and cost effective way of marketing your business online.

So, how do you get on this Social Media Marketing train? Well why not let’s start with Facebook. Facebook has over 1 million users in Ireland now, so it’s very likely that many of your customers have a Facebook page or at least know someone who does. That fact alone is enough to make me believe it is a medium you simply can’t ignore!

To get you started, here are my top tips for getting your Facebook for Business strategy up and running:

  1. Create Your Business Profile Fan Page
    Even if you haven’t decided what you plan to do with your Facebook campaign just yet, get your business profile page up there as soon as possible. If you have a Facebook account already, it’s pretty simple go here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the instructions.If you are new to Facebook, it’s probably best to familiarise yourself with how it works and how you engage with other users. Sign up for a personal account and start adding your friends. Follow other businesses so you can see what their Facebook strategy is.One key point to remember is that you should NOT use your personal profile for your business. You should only use “Pages” for business¬† and “Profiles” for personal use.

  2. Claim Your Vanity URL
    A vanity URL is a Facebook website address with your name attached to the end, for example, our business vanity URL is www.facebook.com/2bscene. The sooner you can claim your “vanity URL” the better to protect your brand. Irish business will need 25 fans of your business fan page before they can obtain theirs. To gain your first 25 followers why not ask all your “friends” from your personal Facebook profile?¬†¬†

  3. Synchronise with Twitter
    If you already have a Twitter account, you can synchronise your posts with Facebook. You can do this both ways, for example, if you post a message on Twitter, it can automatically appear on your Facebook fan page and vice-versa. Personally I would suggest the latter. Facebook is a lot more personal than Twitter. Twitter is a public networking medium, whereas Facebook is very much a personal circle of friends network. The last thing a Facebook user wants is their Facebook homepage to be bombarded with messages from your Twitter account.

  4. Include Links to Your Profile Where-ever You Can!
    Fairly self explanatory. If you want people to know about your business profile page… tell them!! You should include links on your website, blog and even email signatures!

  5. Engage!!!
    Like every other Social Media Marketing option, it’s all about engaging and socialising with your fans or followers. If you can think of your Social Media Marketing profile as one big networking event. Talk to people, ask questions, respond to their questions, give free advice etc etc. But again, be careful at how many updates you post. Try keep your interactions to a reasonable level, maybe one or two interesting posts a day.

There are certainly many businesses that are much better suited to Facebook than others – but with enough thought and planning you should be able to find an angle that suits your business best.

To give you an idea of how others are using their business pages to great effect, I have put together a list of some good ones below:

  1. Ben & Jerry’s
  2. Pizza Hut
  3. Victoria’s Secret
  4. iTunes
  5. Starbucks

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