Today, Facebook is the largest social network in the world, grouping all types of people, companies and organizations in your community. More than 1.5 million contents are shared daily in this network.
Being present on Facebook offers multiple benefits for a company. One of the main advantages is the fact of having more visibility and access to current and future clients, since it is very likely that the target customers of the company are already on Facebook and contribute a large part of their time to participate in this network. According to official Facebook statistics, the average daily usage per user is more than 55 minutes.
The fact of being able to interact and converse with the followers of the company through a page on Facebook provokes a greater knowledge of their needs and a greater approach.
In addition, its use is simple and dynamic, because it allows updating or uploading new content to Facebook through various media such as a mobile phone or a smartphone. There are more than 100 million users who use Facebook through a mobile phone according to the statistics of this social network.
Difference between professional profile and company page
Most common terms used in Facebook
Profile: set of traits or characters that define us as people. We include this information in the social network and can refer to information about our work, professional career, education, contact information, interests and hobbies.
Friends list: contacts we have on Facebook. One way to increase them is through an invitation to those people we want to add to our list. Once the invitation is sent, it is conditioned to acceptance by the other person who receives it. If it accepts, it will be included in our contact list, where we can group them according to the type of contact in different lists.
Wall (Wall): Is a space that exists in each profile, which allows contacts in the list of friends to write messages, include photos or links for the user to see. A requirement for this is that only registered users can access the wall.
Applications: There are different applications that we can insert in our personal profile; they consist of different gadgets such as games, polls, links, images, news, videos, etc. The best ones are those that contribute to express our information as a company in a clear and effective way, such as the application that serves to insert our YouTube videos or the messages of the Twitter account. We must avoid those applications that do not add utility to the content of the company and do not correspond to our customer profile. Also, it is advisable not to allow other people to insert different applications in our Facebook profile. On the other hand, applications do not add value to anyone’s wall. The value is provided by the comments of encouragement or sharing knowledge.
Groups : They allow to gather those people who share the same interest to exchange knowledge or express their opinion on a specific topic. A group is very similar to a forum and, as a general rule, the creation of groups about the company is not recommended, but preferably the use and creation of Facebook pages. About the groups we can highlight that they can be open to all Facebook users or on the contrary private groups can be created. In any case, for both groups the limit of members is 5,000.
Pages: The function of the pages is similar to that of the personal profiles, since they allow the possibility of uploading photos, videos, notes, etc., but they give more visibility to the companies since the number of followers or admirers of a page, It is unlimited.
Events: Facebook allows you to create pages for the promotion of face-to-face events or online events, which take place on the Internet, such as webinars or online conferences. The creation of events on Facebook is a recommendable way to promote local events, industry fairs or face-to-face meetings with clients to establish business relationships. The creation of events on Facebook is free and should be displayed with a large amount of information, photos and videos on the events page, to create excitement.
In the professional profile should appear the image and the name of a person and not a logo or image of a product. This personal information must be that of a person who represents the company on Facebook. For example, if it is an SME it could be the manager’s photo; if it is a medium or large company it could also be that of any employee (commercial or marketing director, export manager or customer service manager). There is even the figure of the so-called community manager who would be an expert in social networks and hired by the company to build, grow and manage communities around a brand or company.
Community manager is the person who dynamites a social network or virtual community serving as a link between a company and society through an online environment. Among its tasks are to encourage conversations and debates that generate information of interest, echo the needs of users, offer them the relevant solutions and behave in the virtual community following the ideals or values that define the company to which it belongs, contributing thus to create and consolidate the personality on the Internet of that entity.
What is the point of requiring companies to submit a “personal profile”? Facebook is a social network and as such implies that it is the people who can hold conversations, and not the entities. Through the profile page, the manager of the company or any employee participates in conversations in profiles or pages of other individuals or companies. For a company it is important that its employees have a professional account, know how to do networking through Facebook and understand the integral functioning of Facebook.
Once the professional profile has been created, the company page can be created which is called fan page. This page is where the company can talk more directly about your company, news, inform about topics of interest to customers, etc., and create community. In any case, social networks should not be used to do promotions and direct mail.
Seven steps to use Facebook effectively
Below are the steps a company must follow to use Facebook effectively.
Step 1: Create or modify the professional profile
As stated in the previous section, the first thing to do, whether it is a private individual or a company, is to create a professional profile. For this you can go to www.facebook.com and insert the required information. If you already have a profile, you can modify and optimize the information to redirect it to professional networking. Below are some guidelines to follow to develop an efficient professional profile.
• Use an image in which the face is seen well, preferably with a smile: one of the most important elements when creating a profile is the image; therefore, it is necessary to choose the photograph that represents us very well. If a photograph is used that shows a distant figure, not identifiable and in which the factions cannot be seen, the necessary confidence will not be transmitted and, therefore, there will be enough people who will not be willing to be added as contacts in Facebook.
• Create an interesting description about the company: when creating a profile in the section called “About me” (within the «Information» section), the ideal is to produce a striking and attractive description of the company’s professional activity. The key is to make the profile interesting to users.
• Upload interesting pictures in the profile: in addition to the profile, Facebook offers the possibility of uploading additional photographs for the creation of albums, which can be shared with other users. It is advisable to upload photographs of meetings, events, congresses or other events, where you appear along with other people in the sector. This will bring more naturalness and strengthen the professional status.
• Add the best videos: there is also the possibility of uploading videos, which can be recorded using a webcam. It is important that the videos have a more personal and authentic touch. On Facebook it is important to avoid direct mail videos, and focus instead on those that provide the public with added value information.
• Complete all profile information: the more complete the information that is provided in the profile, the easier it will be to capture the interest of the people, thus favoring the possibility of adding this profile to their contacts. You can only fill in a single personal profile on Facebook, so it is convenient to think very carefully what data will be included in it.
• Visit the profiles of friends, colleagues or other people in the sector to collect ideas: a good habit that must be put into practice is to visit the profiles of other people, to obtain new ideas that allow the optimization of their own profile.
Step 2: Modify privacy settings on Facebook
Before starting to use Facebook, it is essential to review the privacy settings. The most important recommendation that can be offered is to be aware that the use of Facebook, in this case, will be used for business and to encourage commercial networking.
Therefore, do not share any very personal information. It is also convenient to avoid talking about politics, religion and sex when using Facebook for business.
To make privacy adjustments, once inside the account created in Facebook, at the top of the right, where it says “Account”, you have to select “Privacy Settings”.
How to find the privacy settings section on Facebook
It is a good idea to dedicate a little time to this section and carefully configure the privacy settings related to each of the following sections: profile information; contact information; applications and websites; searches; and blocked lists.
Example of how to hide the landline or mobile number and the address of the personal address, so that no one on Facebook has access to this data.
Step 3: Create and manage the network of business contacts
Many professionals and entrepreneurs use Facebook as a tool to manage their contacts and organize appointments or meetings. It’s like having a contact database with which the company can interact by sending messages just by writing them on the profile or the Facebook page. On the other hand, you can see the photograph and the most relevant data of the person who sends us a message.
Another great advantage is the fact of being able to directly contact the most influential people in any sector, be they authors, lecturers, managers, leaders of organizations or associations, or other prominent people, because in almost all sectors these people have their profile on Facebook.
To search for contacts on Facebook, go to the top bar and type the name of the person you are looking for to add as a contact. Once located, all you have to do is send them an invitation.
Bar to search on Facebook
When a new contact is invited, it should always include a personal note of presentation, indicating which topics or interests are shared, or which friends are common to both. In this way, the person who has to accept the invitation can have a clearer idea of who we are, and it will be easier to establish a relationship.
Example of a message that can be sent through Facebook together with the friendship invitation
One of the problems that can arise is to have a high number of friends, but poorly organized. To avoid this setback and make the use of Facebook more agile and effective, it is advisable to create different categories or groups of people and distribute the contacts in them.
You start by creating different groups to manage the contacts. To do this, go to “Account”> “Edit friends” and click on “Create new list”. For example, you can create three groups:
• Group 1. Friends: this group includes close friends, who are not necessarily in the same sector, but with whom they are frequently in contact.
• Group 2. Collaborators of the sector: here those people of the sector would be grouped who have had occasion to know, or with whom an e-mail or telephone call has been exchanged.
• Group 3. Professionals of the sector: this group would include those people who are not yet known, but with whom collaboration could be established in the future, as well as other influential professionals in the sector.
Step 4: Search and participate in pages and interest groups
The next step is to find groups and pages in which people are present that constitute a group of interest for the company, either because they are from the same sector or are grouped around a topic that has a relationship with the company, its products or services. . Facebook can be very effective if you enhance the search and participation in those conversations that are related to your business, in which you can listen to other professionals and provide interesting points of view or details for the conversation.
For example, suppose that a small clothing company wants to export cloths to other countries, but lacks the resources and financing of the large clothings. This small company could start your search with the keyword “baby’s cloths”, in order to find contacts that participate in the groups and Facebook pages and are directly related to your niche market.
Example of search results for groups or pages with the words « baby’s cloths »
Once the most relevant groups or pages have been identified, it is time to start observing the activity on these sites, and then add selected friends among the people who participate in those same groups or pages and share interesting and outstanding content.
One of the most effective ways to carry it out is to identify the founder and the most influential people in each group or page and establish a good business relationship with them so that, over time, we can see how mutual collaboration could arise.
Step 5: Establish a community on Facebook by creating a company page
The presence of the company on Facebook goes through the creation of a page on this network. The process is easy, as well as free, and you can customize the page with the logo and relevant information of the company so that, later, potential customers can become fans (“admirers” or “followers”) of the page and can participate in it actively.
Facebook pages offer companies diverse and innovative ways to promote their content and to get to know their customers better, through interaction and communication with them. In addition, when a person joins the page, all their friends on Facebook are informed of it through the update of their homepage.
Example of how pages are promoted on Facebook, when it is announced that the person has become a fan of the page
Some of the benefits and features presented by the Facebook pages are:
• Possibility of having an unlimited number of admirers, while in the profiles the limit is five thousand contacts.
• From the point of view of the clients, they are not considered as traditional sales pages, but as sites of personal interrelations, where a communication can be established with other clients and even with the representatives of the companies.
• It can be customized easily and simply for any company or organization.
• They rank well among Google results; therefore, the content included in them is also available to people who do not belong to Facebook.
• The company can publish photographs, videos and articles, as well as encourage participants to leave their comments. In this way, the dynamics of the page is much more interactive than that of a traditional website and, therefore, the company can create a link of closeness and availability to its customers.
• Facebook provides statistics about its users that allow the participation to be measured, as well as obtaining information about the age and country of origin of the participants.
• Users are more likely to visit a company’s website through a link provided on Facebook than from another site or portal, since they have all the necessary information without leaving Facebook. This allows companies to create their own communities within this social network to stay in constant contact with their followers.
• The pages are visible to everyone, while the profiles can only be seen by another Facebook user.
• A page can have several administrators that manage the company’s page.
The content that is uploaded to the page must have a close and informal tone. One of the objectives to be achieved is for members to feel special; therefore the content must be exclusive and directed to the followers, for example competitions or discounts for the participants can be incorporated. For a company it is convenient to make a calendar where the publications that will be made on Facebook are planned.
Here are some techniques to promote and energize a Facebook page.
• Actively participate in the conversations of the page: each company must have at least one person in charge of monitoring and participating in conversations on the Facebook page. Likewise, it is convenient that all employees are involved in the development of the same, and that they contribute with new ideas to improve it.
• Update the page constantly: it is convenient to keep the page up to date, answer the followers and add interesting content. The companies with the most activity in Facebook mobilize their page in this network with an article or a new video two or more times per week. To begin with, you can set the goal of updating it, at least, once a week.
• Ask questions to the fans: one of the most important goals for the company that has a Facebook page should be to encourage the fans to participate. One way to encourage this participation is to simply ask questions, along with the content that is uploaded so that people are encouraged to leave comments or share information.
• Insert the Facebook badge on the website and / or the company blog: the badge consists of a set of data that identify us as a Facebook user and allow us to share that information on other pages, such as forums or your own website or blog The badge is, therefore, a dynamic way to promote the page.
• Encourage followers to promote the page through a Facebook widget: to do so, you can go to the page www.facebook.com/facebook-widgets/fanbadges.php, where you can create a promotion widget for our page. A widget is a small application that users can install on their page, which will allow viewing information related to the Facebook page.
• Reserve a username for the Facebook page of the company: when the page has reached 25 fans, you can go to www.facebook. com / username and choose a username. This allows to have an own address of the page in Facebook, for example, www.facebook.com/empresa, where “company” is the selected user name.
• Refer to the Facebook page: include your address in the signature of our email, as well as in the promotional material, encouraging customers to visit it.
In terms of maintenance, the Facebook page can have several administrators and has a web address to locate the company page and make the necessary changes: www.facebook.com/pages/manage/.
Example of a company’s Facebook page
New Look Sales is an online store that sells amazon products and actively uses its Facebook page to communicate with its customers. In this example, we see how they have customized your page in this network.
1. “Become a fan” button: it is a tool that allows you to register as a follower of this page on Facebook.
2. Navigation buttons (tabs , in English): these buttons can be customized according to the needs of the company.
3. Company logo: this space contains an image corresponding to the company logo or, failing that, any image that represents the activity of the same. The formats in which the image can be uploaded are jpg, gif or png.
Creating a badge on Facebook
Go to http://www.facebook.com/facebook-widgets/pagebadges.php, and click on “Edit this badge». On the page that will open below you can customize the badge and, clicking on “Save”, you will get the code or link that should be inserted in that website or blog where you want to add the badge. In the following example we see how a previously created badge would result ready to insert in any other site.
Example of how to customize the Facebook badge used to promote the page
Step 7: Measure and analyze the results
Facebook offers extensive information and statistics for companies that use this social network. The way to obtain these statistics is to enter “Modify page” and, on the page that appears below, click on “All statistics on the page”.
When you start using the Facebook page, many companies make the mistake of thinking that the only relevant statistic on this page is the number of followers. However, in Facebook the most important are the interactions, which are defined as “the total number of comments, posts on the wall and votes of” Like “». Facebook users can be fans of several pages, but that does not mean they participate and leave comments on all of them.
Example of Facebook statistics
Therefore, the objectives of the company must be, on the one hand, to improve the quality of the interactions and, on the other, to analyze the amount of comments or “Like” votes that these publications receive.
Normally the big brands receive a lot of comments and have a great interaction on their Facebook page, since followers know the company and have a long relationship with it. On the other hand, SMEs or companies that start on Facebook will take longer to receive a lot of interaction since they are not as well known.
One way to increase the interaction on the Facebook page is by posting interesting content on the page and asking the opinion of the followers. Another way may be to publish very original videos aimed at followers of the Facebook page.
Facebook also offers demographic information for its members based on gender, age, and geographic location. An SME that has physical location and customers in that local area can see how many members of the Facebook page belong to their local area.
Facebook allows you to download the statistics of the page in an Excel file or to see a visual presentation of all of them.
Example of how you can see the country, the city and the language of the fans of the Facebook page
Any company or individual can create ads promoting your website or your Facebook page. It is a type of advertising that allows a good segmentation, reaching the target customers.
In the following example you can see how a company that sells baby’s products .
Facebook estimates that there are 3,020 people in the social network that meet these parameters.
Example of how to target the targeted audience of Facebook ads. Sample profile of person in English.
This type of segmentation helps direct advertising to people who are the target audience of the company’s product and can be very effective for local businesses. The best results can be obtained when the advertisement offers something special or adds value as contests or discounts.