Many practitioners find it a challenge to work Facebook, the flagship of social media, into their marketing.
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Some term social media a “necessary evil” of getting word out today, an avenue of marketing they don’t understand but know they need. Preparer Jeffrey Schneider, an Enrolled Agent in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., said his staff lacks time to write content for a business page. “I hired a company to do the postings on Facebook and Twitter,” he said. “We don’t use it as much as we should or in the most beneficial manner, but it is there.”
Privacy is a concern for some. EA Kristin Roberts of The Roberts Tax Group in Torrington, Conn., for example, has a page on Facebook that she makes sure “is separate from my personal page. I recommend posting on it on a regular basis so that it pops up in people’s feeds as often as possible.”
Roberts uses Facebook “to share interesting articles that we have found or to post events happening with our office. I also have a ‘Like us on Facebook’ icon on our business cards. Our Web site is really where we keep the nuts and bolts about our firm; we use Facebook for small, more frequent, tidbits.”
Facebook claims that 1.11 billion people use its site a month, up 23 percent from a year earlier. With growth like that, many practitioners are wondering how to harness such a marketing tool.
“My daughter-in-law handles our Facebook page,” said Cynthia Jeanguenat, an EA at Horizons Unlimited Tax & Business Services in Virginia Beach, Va. “I post, too. I was surprised, but it has been a much more successful marketing tool than a Web page. We try to post tax tips and reminders especially during tax season, but once you have folks hooked, you really want them to keep coming back, so we try to post something every few days”
Facebook seems the name everyone mentions when they talk about social media and online marketing, but too few practitioners know how to make it work for them.
“Too many merely configure a Facebook Page, randomly post to it until they get bored and then leave it to gather dust for months,” reads the Startupnation Facebook primer.
“The potential marketing opportunity on Facebook is tremendous for many businesses,” the primer reads. “It's not that Facebook replaces your other forms of marketing. But your prospective customers are spending time somewhere. And you want to connect with them and increase the time they spend with your brand.”
- Prospective and existing clients may value Facebook as a customer service vehicle. In other cases, it might be an appropriate content or news source or an appropriate sales source. In other cases, your fans may just want to talk with you.
- Facebook tabs appear in vertical order on the left side of your page. Right under the list of tabs is an Edit option to customize the order of your tabs. This is useful especially if you want a certain tab towards the top or at the bottom of the list so that it stands out more.
- By ignoring your page for months at a time, you send a message to your audience that you just don't care. So decide if a Facebook Page is something your business needs and stick to some type of posting schedule.
- Paid advertising in Facebook is a great opportunity for your business in that Facebook enables you to target your audience for your ads in many ways. You can specify the age group, gender and geographic area of those that will see your ads. Not only that, you can specify the specific interests of your audience as broadly or as narrowly as you'd like. You can set your bid price and campaign budget, and test as many ad images, headlines and ad copy as you like. And if you decide that your campaign is just not working, you can stop it immediately.
- Giving your audience something of value in exchange for a registration or sign-up can be valuable to your business. Hold a competition or sweepstakes, or simply offer a sign-up form for something of value in return.
- Facebook page administrators are able to send messages to everyone who "Likes" their page. So when you have something of value to let your fans know about, send out an update and make them aware. Just be very prudent with the frequency of this technique. Send stuff to your fans only when it really matters.