Should your organization or business have a page on Facebook?
For most businesses and organizations that deal directly with customers or donors, I say it’s a must to include it in your online strategy. But it’s not for everyone, so you need to determine why you should have a presence on Facebook and how it helps you to achieve your objectives.
An important criteria is that you can’t see it as just another marketing channel, you need to want to use it to develop and enhance relationships with the people who have chosen to make you a part of their Facebook experience. Do it right and you can see benefits.
Learn from the Little Tot Spot
Take for example, the Facebook page of the Little Tot Spot in Kitchener.
After launching her business last February, owner Sasha Carreiro was busy enough trying to get her drop-in play spot for kids from birth to five years old and the adults in their lives up and running. Getting the word out cost-effectively was a priority but starting a Facebook page seemed like just one more thing to do on an already long list.
I helped her to get the page established and soon it was beginning to attract a sizable number of people who “liked” the page. About eight months later, the page has more than 600 fans and is growing. Now when Sasha posts something on her page it gets somewhere between 1600 and 2100 impressions on its fans newsfeeds. The best part is that a sense of community is evolving too.
Being genuine is important
Little Tot Spot’s success on Facebook is a result of several ingredients that can be described as a genuine expression of the business and its owner:
- Customers identify the business with its owner Sasha who they see every time they come in.
- Sasha’s personality comes through in her postings.
- The posts do more than sell, they help Sasha to connect to her customers and even create connections between them.
- Little Tot Spot’s clients are generally mothers of young kids who are looking to connect with others in a similar situation, break out of the isolation of being home alone and reassure themselves that their experience is common.
- The page is promoted by signs at the cash register.
Being on Facebook also helps the Little Tot Spot to connect people to its website, Twitter feed and allows them to subscribe to its e-newsletter list which is also used to send out promotions.
From the beginning the page has placed an emphasis on connecting with clients and friends by extending existing relationships. The page proved to be very useful in preparing for a grand opening in June and promoting it.
When asked about what prizes would attract them and their friends, there were very quickly about 18 responses. Posts continue to generate comments. This interactivity helps to ensure that the Little Tot Spot remains front of mind for its fans and gets picked up in the newsfeeds of their friends—attracting new fans!
The fan base also helped to spread word about the grand opening itself as the page’s followers invited their friends or their friends learned more through the Facebook newsfeed’s viral nature. In fact, having content that gets feedback is the key since people are more likely to see it in their newsfeeds than on a page and getting interaction is the key to having it show up in newsfeeds.
This approach means that Little Tot Spot’s presence on Facebook is built upon real relationships that then grow in a natural, organic way—even when using Facebook ads.
Little Tot Spot has used Facebook ads as a cost-effective means to reach its target audiences. Its most successful use of them has been to build up the page itself. Initially, they were used to draw attention to a wide range of potential clients. Once a strong base was established, the ads were targeted at friends of the page’s fans who were married women 25-40 living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The page’s growth confirms that the existing fan base is likely to have friendships with potential new clients that are not already clients
As far as I’m concerned, money spent on Facebook ads to grow your page is about the best money you could spend considering that you’re creating and enhancing relationships and gaining an audience interested in what you have to say and what you’re doing and offering. Most importantly, for this specific purpose my experience is that they work.
Worthwhile making Facebook a priority
And for the same reasons, time spent on Facebook is a great investment too. The amount of time required is modest compared to the results especially considering that you can reach your target audience without spending any money once you’ve connected with them.
The benefits only exist though if you demonstrate that you care what people think and say and if they can relate to the person (not the organization) behind the page. That’s what successful Facebook pages such as Little Tot Spot or the Stratford Shakespeare Festival do. You can too!
What are your experiences with Facebook pages?
What has helped your experience with a Facebook page be positive? What should be avoided? Have you learned something you’d like to share about pages that you administer?