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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Facebook now top source for JustGiving donations

Facebook is causing a boom in charitable giving, with one in 10 JustGiving donors sharing their activity on the social network.

Social media is now one of the most popular ways to give money, with Facebook recently overtaking email as the second-biggest source of donations to charitable website JustGiving.

Out of around one million JustGiving donations made via Facebook, details of 100,000 have been publicised to friends or the public.

The website, which raised £22m through Facebook last year, says 42,000 people set up a page every month. Money donated via a JustGiving page goes to a charity of the creator’s choice.

London Marathon runner Claire Squires’ page has raised almost £1 million for The Samaritans since she died in last weekend’s race.

JustGiving has launched a Facebook app that takes advantage of the social network’s “Open Graph”, which it says will help more users display their donations.

Open Graph applications register Facebook users’ activities on other websites and encourage them to share what they are listening to, watching or buying. Donors on JustGiving’s website will now be asked if they want to publish their donations to Facebook.

JustGiving believes more people sharing their donations will encourage others to donate. They said: “Currently around one in 10 donors share their donation on Facebook. Justgiving hopes that integrating with Facebook Open Graph will boost this even further.”

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French Twitter-sphere gets around ban with Second World War code

France’s attempts to prevent premature leaks of the first round presidential election results set Twitter alight with jokes, code and cryptic messages recalling Second World War radio communications.

“Netherlands-Hungary qualify for return leg,” said one tweet in a play on the name of Socialist challenger Francois Hollande and the origin of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s father.

Seeking to enforce a 1977 law that imposed a blackout on disclosing results, projections or exit polls before the last polling stations close at 8pm (1800 GMT), authorities threatened fines of up to 75,000 euros for breaches.

But official warnings spurred derision and defiance with a profusion of dummy results and fun-poking messages on a microblogging network where national frontiers no longer exist.

The march of communications technology has made the law look increasingly like the Maginot line of anti-tank defences which France built on its borders in the 1920s but which failed to prevent German tanks invading in 1940.

Some tweets even referred to the coded messages broadcast by the Free French over Radio London to Resistance fighters in France during the Second World War.

Only two of the 10 candidates in Sunday’s first ballot go through to a run-off on May 6, in which the conservative Sarkozy is expected to meet the centre-left Hollande, clear favourite in opinion polls.

Twitter users had a field day concocting new names for candidates, imaginary news headlines of outcomes and officially unverifiable reports of partial results from remote overseas territories where voting took place on Saturday.

“According to observers returning from Syria, Russian tanks left at dawn, due to arrive in Paris at 20h (8pm),” read one entry, alluding to a possible left-wing victory and closing time at polling stations.

Other aliases for Mr Hollande included “Gouda”, the “Flan”, a caramel pudding that resembles one of his nicknames, and more transparently, “Rose of Correze”, combining the Socialist colour with Mr Hollande’s rural constituency in central France.

For Mr Sarkozy, they included “platform heels”, a reference to Sarkozy’s penchant for shoes that give the diminutive president a few extra centimetres in photographs, “Rolex” in a nod to his taste for flashy wrist wear, and “Goulash”, a Hungarian recipe.

“Daddy’s girl” clearly alluded to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father Jean-Marie last year as head of the anti-immigration National Front.

Firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was branded “hot red pepper” by one micro-message sender.

Some messages relayed unofficial partial results or send-ups of result headlines, using candidates’ real names, but with their scores blotted out or drowned in a jumble of numbers and characters.

Polling institutes traditionally prepare reliable estimates for their clients, TV and radio stations, in the two hours between polling stations closing in most areas at 6pm (1600 GMT) and the late closers in the big cities, opening up a gap when information can leak.

Among the myriad messages with a wartime ring were ones that mocked Sarkozy for his 2007 post-victory cruise aboard the private yacht of multi-millionaire businessman Vincent Bollore.

“Pink wave turns to tsunami, Bollore yacht in difficulty,” said one.

Source: Reuters

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