Using Facebook for small busineses

Over 800 million people are currently on Facebook, so it’s no surprise every business wants to use the social networking site to drive their business. But how do you create a community and engage with them effectively? Kirby Koo, Manager of Small and Medium Business Growth at Facebook gives us some top tips that will help you get the most out of your business’ Facebook Page.

1. Get to know your fans

The best way to get your fans to talk about your business with their friends is to understand what they care about. Use Page Insights regularly to track which posts sparked conversations and sharing, then try to keep posting this kind of content.

It’s worth remembering that no matter how engaging your posts are, not all of your fans will see them in their News Feed. To make sure that more people see your posts, you can use Page Post ads which are a great way to reach a wide audience and get more people to Like and engage with your Page. And because these ads are telling people what their friends are Liking and interacting with they are much more effective because of that social context.

2. Stand out from the crowd

Don’t forget that people’s News Feeds contain a lot of information and they are busy so probably won’t have time to read everything. Your posts are a reflection of your business but keep them short and snappy, ideally less than three lines. Pictures are also a powerful way to grab people’s attention so try to include related images when you post.

3. Post regularly

It’s important to keep up the conversation with your fans so that you build a real relationship with potential. You wouldn’t stop talking to a friend for six months and then try and start up a conversation out of the blue, so you should treat your Facebook Page in the same way! There are no hard and fast rules for the optimum amount of posts and only you know how often your fans want to hear from you. If you run a small shop for example you may want to post a few times a week when new products come in, however often you decide to post, make sure you post consistently.

4. Start conversations

Your Page should be a place for conversations between you and your fans. You can ask people questions and make them feel involved with your decisions. Your Page is a real online community, so you can use it as a way to gather feedback about your business.

Facebook’s Questions feature allows you to ask your fans for ideas about how to improve your business. People can agree with an existing answer with a single click, or add a different response – this is incredibly easy and means your customers can engage with minimal effort. “Fill in the blank” posts can be particularly useful if you want to give your customers a very simple way to engage with your post by asking them to finish your sentence.

5. Reward your community

There are thousands of businesses on Facebook so you need to stand out from the crowd, you could reward your fans for liking your Page by offering competitions and special offers. Think about announcing new products to fans on Facebook before anywhere else, giving fans early access to sales, or posting exclusive photos from events on your Page.

6. Be relevant

Your fans will be more likely to notice your business’ Page if you post about relevant issues, post about special offers and mention the issue of the day – whether that’s the Oscars or Mother’s Day.

Visit to keep up with how you can use Facebook to market your business

Picture credit: Rex Features

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NBA brings Twitter handles to T-Shirts on Pro Sports first

So you’re a big Kevin Durant fan. You watch his games, you wear his jersey — but do you have his Twitter-handle T-shirt?

In what’s believed to be a pro sports first, the NBA this week began selling official T-shirts that feature some of the league’s biggest stars’ Twitter handles above their jersey numbers, where surnames would normally go. The shirts are available at the NBA Store website and include Durant, Dwyane Wade, Jeremy Lin and a number of other big names.

Lisa Pilken, the NBA’s vice president of licensing, says the move is in keeping with the league’s tradition of creativity in social media.

“We are always looking at new ways to connect with fans,” Pilken told Mashable in an email. “As the top sports league on Twitter with more than 4.5 million followers on @NBA and more than 350 NBA players active on the site, we thought this would be a great way to engage with our fans.”

NBA players were among the first pro athletes to embrace Twitter. In 2009, Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva was reprimanded for tweeting from the team locker room during halftime of a game. Later that year, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love used a tweet to break news that the team’s coach had been fired.

The league as a whole has been especially adept at leveraging social media as well, and this year hosted a digitally influenced All-Star Weekend.

While the NBA is the first league to officially make player Twitter T-shirts, it’s not the first to have a version of the idea. The sports-meets-social site TweetStarGame has an online store selling Twitter-handle shirts of players from a number of sports. Professional soccer and lacrosse teams have also replaced players’ names with their handles on official game uniforms.

Do you think putting players’ Twitter handles on T-shirts is a smart marketing play or not? Let us know in the comments.

‪Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, Link-creative ‬

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