So you created a great Facebook page for your business. You‘ve even uploaded a great profile image, a stunning cover photo and added all the info about your business to your page. You’re wondering why the only people who “Like” your page are your family members.
Some very basic ways to inform people that you’re on Facebook and encourage “likes” is to add a Facebook icon to everything that your business name is associated with. Add it to your business cards, your printed marketing collateral, even your vehicles if they’re branded. Add it to your website and your email signature with the ability to link directly to your Facebook page when someone clicks it.
Another way to build your fan base is to host a contest through Facebook. This is an exciting way to engage existing and potential fans of your Facebook page. Here are a few tips:
1. Offer a prize that is from your place of business, a free product or service that you offer. If you have a tricky type of business that the average Facebook user might not benefit from, you can offer something unrelated but valuable, like a gift card for groceries or gas or a department store.
2. Announce the contest on Facebook. Post a status update with the prize and let users know that each person who “likes” the post receives an entry to win. Each person who also “shares” the post about the contest gets an additional entry. This encourages users to both like and share your post which creates viral activity, allowing more Facebook users to see your business. You can also require users to “Like” your official Facebook page (in addition to your contest post) in order to be qualified to win. This will ultimately build your overall Facebook fan base.
3. Be sure to develop and include “official rules” and post them as “Notes” on your Facebook page. These should include a start and end date to your contest, the value of the prize, how the winner will be selected and notified, and that immediate family is ineligible (it just doesn’t look good if your spouse or sibling wins). Also, keep accurate records of entries. Create a spreadsheet and update it regularly. Determine a method to randomly select a winner.
4. Notify the winner and present the prize. If the winner is willing, take a photo of him or her with the prize and push it through some PR channels. Share it with the local newspaper, on your website, and – of course – on Facebook. If the prize is a service that your business offers, be sure to provide the service in the same manner that you would for a paying customer. People can connect with your business quickly and easily via social media and they can share a bad experience just as quickly and easily via social media. Provide your typical top-notch service and you may get some more referrals as a result.
5. Finally, measure the success of the campaign. How many Facebook users liked and shared your contest post? How many Facebook users have “liked” your official page? Are there things you could have done better? Maybe adjust tactics and run a contest again with a different prize, or different ways to enter. A photo contest or trivia question related to your industry might be engaging. Have fun with it and your fans will too.
Previously Facebook had some tight restrictions for hosting a contest. They have made some adjustments that make it less restrictive, but you should read the updated terms from Facebook for running a contest or promotion:
According to Google, only 15% of small businesses
If you’re like many people, you dispose of your local phone directory as soon as it arrives at your door. Or maybe you’re like me and you keep it around for a while in a drawer or cabinet before re-organizing and, ultimately, tossing it anyway. I feel kind of guilty that so much work probably goes into the production of this book only to be disposed of. (I think I’ll start tearing out the pages for fire kindling to get some value out of it.)
These days, more people are going online to find a product or a service provider rather than searching through the big book directories. But, according to Google, only 15% of small businesses have claimed their listing on Google Places. This is a completely free marketing opportunity that allows your business to be included in one of the most popular online directories.
Google Places allow you to include basic information about your business like address, phone numbers and hours of operation. But, it also let’s you add additional information – it’s almost like a mini website for your business within Google Places. You can add photos, coupons and extensive information about your products or services.
In addition to Google Places, there are other online directories as well. Some of these include Yahoo Places, Citysearch, Best of the Web, Yelp, SuperPages, Foursquare, Hotfrog, YellowPages and others. If this seems overwhelming, just start with getting listed on one of these directories. Then, as you have a few minutes here or there, you can add to another and then another. Once you get your first listing up, you can just input the same information on other listings, some may even allow you to just copy and paste.
Check out GetListed.org to find out where your business is already listed and where else you should list it to improve your online search presence. You simply enter your business name and zip code and it finds your listings and gives you a performance score of 1-100.
One final tip: Be sure to include at least one photo on your listings (although more is better). People are visual and tend to have a better response to listings that have some graphic appeal. Even if it’s just a photo of your place of business or your logo, put an image there to better engage your prospects.
A great way to promote your business is through media relations. A little PR can go a long way because:
1. Having positive news coverage of your business gives you immediate exposure and credibility, and
2. Other than the time and effort it takes you to write a press release, it’s free.
It's pretty exciting to see your business highlighted in the newpaper (refer to the photo on the left). But, here’s the honest truth: most press releases do not get picked up. Journalists are bombarded with press releases all the time and are more likely to hit “delete” or throw it in the trash unless there is something truly worth sharing.
So, if you’re thinking of writing a general press release to explain your business and what you offer - don’t bother. But, if you host an event, offer a promotion or release a new product or service, drum up interest by issuing a press release to your local media. While larger, regional newspapers will probably not give a lick about this; small, local newspapers are often willing to run information like this if they have the space and you convey its value.
Another option might be to search for a charity or community event that is in line with what your business offers. Sponsor the event, or at least be there to provide services, products, coupons, something. Pitch a press release to local media outlets before the event to drum up awareness of the event, and (of, course) your participation in it. But also pitch a press release after the event, indicating what a success it was and how great your business is for supporting a community or charity event. If there is no such event, sponsor a customer appreciation day or an annual open house at your place of business.
Try to establish and build relationships with your local newspapers and reporters. While they are usually overwhelmed with press releases that completely lack newsworthiness, they’re occasionally in need of something to cover. Your business may come to mind if you’ve cultivated relationships with them.
A couple of tips for writing your press release:
1. Include a short, headline that gets right to the point.
2. Include the date and your contact information (full name, title, business address, phone and email address).
3. Include photos of you can. It makes it easier to cover your story if you have a visual to pair it with. Also, if they do run your press release and include your photos, you’ll probably get more folks reading about you, as readers are more likely to check out the stories with photos.
4. Determine the best person to send you press release to. While many newspapers have a general fax number or email address (like firstname.lastname@example.org), sending to these will encourage your release to be overlooked. Find the email address for the news editor (or the appropriate, section editor if it’s a lager newspaper), and email your press release directly to him or her. If you are sending your press release to multiple newspapers, be sure to email them individually rather than to multiple editors in one email. If you’re faxing your release, be sure to include “To the attention of [editor name]” on the cover.