I can no longer stay silent! I twitch every time I see a business owner use a Facebook personal page for their business postings. What’s the big deal, right? At least they are on Facebook. Honestly, this thinking is detrimental to the growth of their business on many levels.
You probably already know that the reach of Facebook is tremendous. Some recent stats indicate that worldwide, there are over 1.19 billion active Facebook users (Source: Facebook). In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore. 728 million people log onto Facebook daily. The implication: a huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits to the site, making them a promising audience for your marketing efforts.
So…what is the difference between a Fan Page and a Personal Profile?
Facebook Personal Profile
- For people – not businesses (it is actually against the Facebook rules to advertise on personal pages).
- Limited to a maximum of 5,000 friends
- Not indexed by search engines
- Do not have access to Facebook tabs and cannot be analyzed by Facebook Insights
- Others cannot like or check in at your personal profile
Facebook Fan Page
- They are specially designed for businesses
- There is no limit to the number of fans a fan page can have
- They are indexed by search engines
- They have tabs and can be analyzed by Facebook Insights
- People can check in at your business
- A fan page cannot like another fan page, nor can it become friends with its fans or follow anyone
Fan pages are managed through your personal account. You can change your settings and add admins to your page to help manage your social media. You can also host contests and events and advertise on Facebook using tabs and third party apps. Because a fan page is indexed by search engines, everything that is posted publicly will also be indexed, drawing more attention to your business.
There are some problems you run into when you try to use your personal page for business. Here are a few of them:
- You are breaking the rules: You may have set up a personal Facebook profile using the name of your business. If you also have another Facebook page for your own personal use, you are in violation of Facebook rules and one or both accounts could be suspended.
- Your business won’t be seen: Facebook business pages can be optimized for search engines but personal Facebook profiles cannot. I am sure you would like as many potential customers as possible to find your company online. Using a personal page to promote your company is hindering your chances.
- No one will “like” your business: It will be much more difficult to gain ‘friends’ as a business if you are using a personal Facebook profile. Regardless of privacy settings, people will be reluctant to share personal information with a company. A Facebook business page allows people to ‘like’ your company without any privacy risks because the company cannot access their personal information.
- Your business could run out of friends: A personal profile can have a maximum of 5,000 friends. A Facebook business page can be ‘liked’ by a limitless number of people. Why limit yourself?
Facebook has now developed a tool that will allow all businesses that made the mistake of setting up a personal rather than a business page profile to migrate one to the other.
Click here for more: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate
In summary, if you use a personal profile page for your business, you are missing out on casting a wider net and reaching more people who may be interested in the services your business provides. If someone has to become your friend to see your postings, you are missing out on reaching that wider audience and narrowing your reach. Search engines will not index your site so your ability to grow your fan base is severely limited.
A Facebook fan page is the ideal way to promote your business, reach a large audience, engage prospects and clients in conversation and be in a position to better understand what information you can provide that will make people want to frequent your place of business.
Use your Facebook personal page to make personal connections.
Use your Facebook business page to educate people about your business. Build trust. Build rapport. Engage in conversations. Build confidence. Network. Connect.
Are you getting a solid return on your website investment? No..or not sure? Well, you know you did everything right. You hired a professional company to design a great looking website and did some SEO work to help make sure it had the right focus and content.
Most people stop right there….and this problem is common. It’s called the “build it and they will come” syndrome. You have worked really hard at creating a beautiful and engaging site but then got so busy with all the other details of your business that you let the site languish and lose its appeal.
Until now…..Did you know that website maintenance is a very easy and productive task to outsource?
Website Maintenance – Who Cares? YOU should!
Maintaining an updated site with educational and useful information for your customers/consumers is one of the most overlooked components of your broader website strategy. The maintenance portion of your website content strategy is where you will really see your ROI.
Benefits of Ongoing Maintenance
Make the right impression for your business
Ever go to a business-networking meeting and get a business card from someone? One of the first things people do is to visit your website. They also visit your facebook fan page, twitter account and Linked In page. They want to see whom they are doing business with, and more importantly, are you plugged into your profession and an expert at providing content relative to what is going on in your industry. Throw in some education about your field and you have gotten someone’s attention.
Remember that your online content makes a first impression the way a face-to-face introduction does. What is the first impression they get?
Is the “Latest News” 2 years old? Is the copyright date in the footer from 3 years ago? Did the “Monthly Special” expire last year?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be leaving your prospects with a poor first impression of your company and leaving business on the table.
On the other hand, if your site is up-to-date, you will be communicating that your company is able to stay on top of things and communicate well, someone whom your prospect can trust.
Give Your Visitors a Reason To Come Back
It is easier to keep a customer than to get a new one. What is one of the best ways to do this online? Make sure you are providing relevant, up-to-date information that helps them accomplish their goals. Perhaps this is your monthly newsletter and blog or the latest special offers.
By keeping your site current and informative, you begin to develop a solid trust relationship with your customers and prospects. This trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Help build their trust by providing the latest and most up-to-date information on your website.
Boost your Search Engine Ranking and Drive More Traffic
Search engines love fresh content. The more often you update your website, the more often the search engines will visit your site and boost your rankings. And the reverse is true as well. After a site has not been updated in a while, the search engines quit crawling it and your rankings may begin to drop for important keywords.
Experience has shown us that updating and adding new content to your website will consistently improve its performance and increase your return on your investment.
- Make the right impression
- Keep your visitors coming back
- Boost your search engine traffic
But most importantly, make a plan for website maintenance.
“CRM” stands for Customer Relationship Management
Your business is growing—FAST. Maybe a little too fast. Your pipeline is full. Your customer base is growing. You’re selling like crazy! That’s all well and good, but your old methods for keeping track of all that activity (spreadsheets, email flags and, admit it: post-its) just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Every small business owner has a tipping point. You need a way to capture all that commotion in one place, before you risk dropping the ball on a major sale. Sound familiar? It’s time to look into CRM solutions.
At a basic level, most CRM solutions offer reservoirs for customer contact information, including name, title, company, email address, physical location, website and more. After the contact information is entered, all interaction with that potential or current customer is tracked, usually through email and calendar integration. The objective is to find a CRM solution that easily integrates with methods you already use to manage your customer relationships, such as Google Calendar or Outlook. With integration, half the work is done automatically.
From there, it’s a matter of training yourself and your staff to be careful to enter notes on customer interactions to ensure your team is always on the same page regarding a particular customer’s status. When your staff is up-to-speed, your customers stay happy, and your business will soar.
- Respond quickly to immediate needs
- Deliver a richer customer service experience
- Store customer and prospect contact info, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location.
Even if members have no intention of buying anything, the community you build can benefit your business.
Facebook is a social network, not a shopping network, so why should any business spend resources establishing and maintaining a Fan Page on Facebook? (A Fan Page, by the way, is a profile for a business or organization rather than for an individual.) Because even if members have no intention of buying anything on Facebook, the relationships you establish and community you build there can benefit your business in countless ways. Here, I reveal the top 10 ways a Facebook Fan Page can help your business.
- Establishes another outpost for your business on the web
Creating a Fan Page provides your business and brands with another branding outpost on the Web where prospects, customers, future employees, vendors, and even the media can find information about your company and the products and services you offer. Unlike Facebook’s personal Profiles, which are member-only accessible, Facebook Fan Pages are public-facing by default; that is, people need not be logged into Facebook to view a business’s or brand’s Fan Page, so even more people have access to the information you post. Tip: To save time updating your Fan Page, create an RSS feed on the Page’s Notes tab to pull entries from your existing business blog. As long as your blog posts aren’t overtly “salesy,” the additional content should be well received.
- Drives Traffic to Your Website
Fan Pages have no restrictions on driving Facebook traffic to websites. In fact, Facebook encourages you to link to your website from your business’s Fan Page. Redirecting even a small portion of Facebook’s huge amount of daily traffic to your website could significantly improve the amount of qualified traffic on your site. Tip: Turn Facebook members into Fans, Fans into customers, and customers into Fans by cross-promoting your Fan Page and website. Link your Fan Page to your website and insert a Facebook widget on your site to link back to your Fan Page.
- Improves your SEO
Google, through its new Social Search feature, and other search and decision engines are now indexing content created on sites like Facebook, so your Fan Page content has the potential to generate favorable search engine results for your business and brand. By linking your Fan Page to your website, you can leverage Social Search to drive even more Facebook traffic back to your site.
- Allows you to engage with your community easily and for free
A Facebook Fan Page provides an inexpensive (free) alternative to implementing customer engagement on your own site. In minutes, you can have a branded Fan Page where customers and other brand advocates can post to your Facebook Wall, share photos and video, ask and answer questions, and interact with you and one another. Creating and managing a Fan Page, complete with a Discussions tab, is easier than launching and monitoring discussion forums or message boards on your own domain.
- Connects you and your staff directly to your customers and fans
A Facebook Fan Page gives you a direct pipeline to your Fans. You can send messages to Fans all at once or target individuals or groups by country, state, city, gender, and even age range. Using the Events App, you can even schedule special events or promotions and then send invitations to only those Fans who live in or near the town where the event is scheduled to take place. All of this and more is available free of charge to any business or brand using Facebook.
- Strengthens customer relations
You can significantly deepen your relationships with customers by connecting with them in a social rather than a business setting and not selling. Facebook members may not shop on Facebook, but 90 percent of them expect the businesses and organizations they deal with to have a Facebook Fan Page.
- Provides a breeding ground and platform for brand evangelists
Only 25 percent of Facebook members want to be sold to, but a much higher percentage are apt to sing the praises of a quality company, brand or product to their Facebook Friends. Establish strong relationships with a number of influential members who have plenty of connections, and you gain valuable brand evangelists who authentically market and sell on your behalf. Tip: As you post updates to your Page’s Wall, or as Fans interact with your Page, these interactions appear in the Fan’s News Feed, reaching even more potential Fans (i.e., your Fan’s Facebook Friends), making Facebook the ultimate opt-in, permission-based marketing tool available online today.
- Listening and observing has the potential to improve your business
In a social setting like Facebook, customers and prospects are likely to let down their guard and share information with you and others about products and services they like, good and bad experiences they have had with your business or your competitors, and their unfulfilled needs. Each time a Fan interacts with your Page, you are presented with a wealth of information.Tip: By default, Facebook Fan Pages include the Discussion tab. Encourage discussions to mine valuable market data and ideas on how to improve your business.
- ROI-related metrics are readily available
Facebook’s Page Insights tools and dashboard facilitate the analysis of marketing and communication by revealing data related to interactions (Comments, Wall posts, and “Likes”); discussed posts, reviews, and mentions; Fan demographics (gender, ages, geographic location/distribution); and so on. These tools improve your ability to identify and target specific demographics and gauge ROI. Tip: Use Facebook’s powerful metrics, along with information you gather from your Fan Page, to develop custom messages and talking points that speak directly to your Fans’ needs, are suited for your community’s style of engagement, and support your business’s word-of-mouth goals and objectivess
- Allows you to keep pace with the competition free of charge
Still not convinced a Fan Page is worth setting up? Then consider the competition. Even if only one of your competitors launches a successful Fan Page, that competitor can corner the market on Facebook and build a following long before you do. Stake your free claim early to establish your business as the industry leader before the competition has a chance.
What can I Delegate to a Personal Assistant?
Whether you’re running a business or just have a demanding job that takes up most of your time, you might find yourself considering hiring a virtual assistant to help with some of the smaller, more mundane tasks. A virtual assistant can help you save hours every day, but you have to figure out before you hire one exactly which tasks are best to outsource.
Scheduling appointments and keeping up with your calendar can be a big time waster that a virtual assistant can easily take over. An assistant with access to your calendar can make any appointments that you need, both personal and business. A virtual assistant can find someone to fix your car and schedule that appointment when your calendar is free. If you’re in sales, she can line up meetings with potential clients and remind you when you have a meeting coming up.
Virtual assistants are great for conducting research. For example, if you are hiring for a new position and need to do background research on a number of candidates, a virtual assistant can do that for you. If you want to stay informed on what competing companies are doing, a virtual assistant can do that research and send you weekly reports. If you’re looking for the best restaurant to host a fundraising event, hand the job over to a virtual assistant. She can do all the background research and make the phone calls to find out prices and availability.
Managing an active e-mail account and dealing with spam can take up a huge chunk of your time every day. A virtual assistant can go through your e-mail every day and delete spam and unsubscribe you from mailing lists that are outdated or no longer necessary. She can alert you to e-mails from clients that are urgent and need to be taken care of right away, and you can even train her to handle certain customer service e-mails that require the same type of response. If you get business cards, you can hand them over to him and let your assistant add the cards to your e-mail contact list.
Whether it’s a slew of new business cards picked up at a conference or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for virtual assistants. Follow up is a huge thing for business owners. Sometimes clients will fax or scan business cards to us, and [virtual assistants] will plug them into the database.
Turning raw data into a clear PowerPoint presentation or summarizing research findings in a Word document can be a huge timesaver when prepping for meetings. The data comes back in a format you can easily share.
Virtual assistants can be a good bet to handle tasks such as writing holiday cards or sending thank you notes. Such tasks can become “all consuming” for business executives. A good personal assistant can alleviate this burden from you.
Facebook, Linked In and Twitter updates can easily be handled using a social media platform and a pre-determined editorial calendar.
Virtual assistants are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out trip itineraries both for business and pleasure. The assistants can take advantage of the growing number of travel research tools and review sites on the Web. They can also deal with the hassle of navigating time zones when booking or researching international travel options by phone
Generating Blog Post Ideas
Give your VA a list of major topics, or keywords around which your blog posts will revolve. Then he/she can do the keyword research to get ideas for a blog post. A little competitor research would help, too. Data gathered can then be put into action by the person that will create the content – you.
Maintain an Editorial Publishing Calendar
An editorial calendar helps you keep your content fresh and relevant. Your VA can take the results of his/her research (above) and turn it into an editorial calendar for you. This means that you’re never short of ideas, and you know when those ideas need to be turned into content and published.
Draft Blog Posts
Formatting a blog post takes time. Assign this to your VA, so that you’ll only have to view the draft and then hit the publish button.
In today’s tough economical times it’s hard to think of hiring someone else to assist you, but it may be more cost effective than you think. If you’re spending a large percentage of your day doing “busy work” rather than working on growing your business or gaining more clients, a virtual assistant may be right for you.
Here are some ways to gauge if a virtual assistant could be right for you:
1. You feel overwhelmed with your workload.
2. You need help digging out from the administrative pile.
3. You know you could really make progress if you could focus more on what you and only you can do.
4. You want to be more productive and less stressed.
5. You know you need help but can’t afford someone full-time.
6. You don’t want the hassle of recruiting, hiring, and training a physical assistant.
7. You want—and need—more time in your life.
Top 10 Ways a Virtual Admin Can Help you Grow Your Business
10. Staying on top of your social media commitments or help you ramp up your social media presence.
9. Obtain testimonials from customers and add to your social media marketing and website.
8. Data Entry/Word Processing – Is the data you generate for your business being used accurately and correctly? A VA can input this data into relevant databases, spreadsheet or contact management systems.
7. Internet Research – We can search for information that is relevant to any specific topic. We also have the added ability of being able to find information through virtual assistant resources that may otherwise have been invisible to you, adding to the knowledge base of the small business owner.
6. Customer and Client Care and Support – continue to grow your relationship with your customers through exceptional service and follow up.
5. Set up and maintenance of your contact management system. Do you have a shoebox full of business cards that could use some attention?
4. Direct Mailing and Emailing marketing using contact management tools
3. Planning business open houses / customer appreciation events or other business and social happenings
2. Calendar management – AKA ‘have your people call my people’
1. Organize your ideas and thoughts into actionable lists
These are just some of the ways we can assist you. We are more than task masters – we strategically partner with you to understand your business and your challenges. We can help you to streamline some of your time consuming tasks and suggest processes and tools for greater efficiency and cost savings.
Contact us today for a complimentary consult where we will discuss your current goals and challenges. From there, we can create a customized plan that works for you and your business.