Facebook marketing tips and strategies

How to sell your products using social networking sites like Facebook

The marketing potential of Facebook is huge, but many companies struggle to devise a strategy that’s suitable for such a social platform.

But there are more than 400m active users of Facebook, meaning whatever your product or service, there’s a huge potential market there.

So, how can you use the platform to promote your brand? Here are some of the ways marketers can approach it.

Make a Facebook page

Let’s start with the most obvious; do you have a Facebook page?

Since the website began inviting users to ‘like’ business pages rather than ‘become a fan’ of them, it’s much less intrusive and people seem to be far happier about this slightly more subdued way of showing their approval.

If you’re marketing a lively brand or product, don’t make do with a dull standard Facebook page, make your landing page lively and interesting.

Make your content easy to share

Do you have a blog back on your website? Linking works both ways, you shouldn’t just be driving people to your site through Facebook.

In fact, you should also give people the opportunity to alert their Facebook friends to interesting content on your company website. Add a button allowing people to share the article on Facebook, as well as to Tweet it, Sphinn it, Digg it, Buzz it, or whichever your social platforms of choice are.

Create and interact with Facebook groups

Join some relevant Facebook groups and maybe even create a few. This will allow more people to see your brand, giving you the chance to build a fan base without paying for advertising.

Of course, this is a dangerous tactic if you’re a bit blunt. You mustn’t simply charge in and start trying to sell to people who are busy socialising. Instead, you should offer tips, support and advice, building confidence in your brand.

Is there a cause or campaign your company believes in? Maybe you’re a debt management company campaigning against payday loans, or a restaurant campaigning for more local food to be eaten in your town?

Create a group that promotes your cause and you’ll be able to interact with people who wouldn’t necessarily ‘like’ a brand but are very willing to support a campaign they believe in.

Make your Facebook page interesting

What are you going to do with your Facebook page? Will you post deals, links to blog posts, competitions, notes, photographs of your corporate summer party (guilty!)?

You need to add content to your page so that your fans have something to interact with and so that they see your brand in their news feeds, building brand awareness.

Have a clear content strategy before you start building the page, otherwise you could suddenly be left scrambling for something to say.

Have a clear idea of what you want people to do

What are you hoping to achieve with your Facebook page? If it’s just brand awareness then you want content that people will interact with on the page. If you want to get fans to click through to your site, you’ll need links to offers and exclusives.

If it’s to create brand advocates, you need to create applications and games that people will share with their friends.

If you don’t know what you hope to achieve, then you won’t be able to create appropriate content.

Make it as easy as possible for people to spread your brand message.

Promote your page offsite

Don’t expect your potential fans to find you on Facebook without a little support. Add a ‘Find us on Facebook’ button to your website, email marketing communications and even printed brochures, so that people know you’re on there.

You may disagree, but I think that having a Facebook page shows that a brand is interactive and personable. So, even if people don’t bother looking you up, they may be left with a better impression of your brand.