How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Business

By Erinn Stam

Now that businesses are using Facebook to promote themselves, you’ve got to learn how to stand out amongst the competition. Psychologically, Facebook is a little like high school – it’s a social community, so you an easily get booed out of the “in” crowd if you don’t figure out what’s cool. The following are tried and true ways to maintain your “like” status on Facebook and keep your followers reading your posts:

You Have to Fit In with the Culture
If you’re new to Facebook, you may want to read other business’ posts for a while to figure out what the flavor of the culture tastes like. It’s different than typical sales environments. You’ll want to make sure you fit in and feel like a friend, not a salesperson asking “May I help you, sir?” and definitely not like a used car salesperson screaming “BUY A FORD F150 TODAY!” Make sure your posts are:

  • Short
  • Conversational
  • Helpful
  • Humorous
  • Interesting

You Need to Stand Out, Too
While you want to fit in, you don’t want to be bland. You want to generate interest in your posts and stimulate comments. Most of all, you want to get people to “share” your posts by using them as their status posts so others will see your page. That’s why you’ll want your posts to be:

  • Intriguing
  • Unusual
  • Funny
  • Provocative

Keep Your Goals in Sight
You’re not on Facebook just to have fun. You’re posting because you want to get readers to:

  • Visit your website
  • Buy your product or services

However, you can’t come across as a hard sell (UN-like!) or spam your followers (you’ll get de-friended). You’ll need to find ways to provoke your readers such that they follow your links to your sites or decide to try your wares. Some ideas for this are:

  • Post interesting questions on Facebook but post the answers on your website (or link the post to a blog post on your website that provides the answer inside the post)
  • Post pictures and videos that showcase your products and services in an entertaining or informative way
  • Post reviews and testimonials

Don’t Act Like a Stalker
Unlike Twitter, where its expected that you’ll follow everyone who follows you and it’s cool to comment on tweets, you will want to show discretion about who and what you comment upon. You might creep out your customers if you have a plumbing Facebook Fanpage and you start commenting on a 13-year-old girl’s Facebook page. While people might like to get helpful tips on unclogging drains or determining what caused a spike in their water bill, they don’t want their plumber commenting on their late-night escapades or photos of their kids. Be sure to:

  • Think about how your comments might be misconstrued
  • Protect your professional image
  • Err on the side of being too professional

Once you get used to the Facebook culture, you’ll find multiple ways to use Facebook to promote your business.

Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for nursing scholarships. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about nursing grants. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.

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