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Its all about sales and marketing, Facebook 101

Facebook has become a social foundation for communication. People can see what you’re doing, where you are doing it, how you are doing it, and why you’re doing it—as you are actually doing it. We have entered the Facebook age. It’s time to jump on board and join Mark Zuckerberg’s (creator of Facebook) vision of making communication easier. Oh, did I mention that’s why he has been named Time Magazine’s Person of The Year.

Are you one of those people who believe social networking sites, like Facebook, are merely sites where your sons and daughters play? Take a closer look at the stats below and you’ll find social networking will not only help your cool factor with your kids grow, they can help your business grow as well.

According to the marketing research company comScore, Inc., nearly 140 million people in the United States visited a social networking website in 2009 (www.comscore.com). Social Media Times also reported that 79 percent of all U.S. mothers with children below the age of 18 are active social media users (www.socialtimes.com). Furthermore, 40 percent of mothers who reported making a purchase based on an online recommendation said the recommendation came from Facebook.

With Facebook recently reaching 500 million worldwide users, it is now one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to share your business with a mass audience. While these numbers are remarkable, it’s important to remember that each user is someone who can help spread your ideas and stories to an even larger audience. Each user’s network of friends connects like-minded people who, once they know your business’s story, will share it with the rest of the world. However, they are also the ones who are going to decide if they are going to buy from you in the first place. Each day you wait to interact with this community that is growing in both size and influence is a day you waste in growing your business.

Most retailers are looking for direction, execution and strategy for their online communication. Without a doubt, Facebook is the cream of the crop when it comes to achieving these goals.

Facebook, at its core, is about engaging people, building relationships and maintaining a dialogue.

According to Facebook, the difference between a personal profile and a business page is that, “Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account (personal profile) under the name of their organization. Facebook business pages are distinct presences, separate from personal profiles, and optimized for an organization’s needs to communicate, distribute information and content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences. Facebook pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence for any artist, business or brand.”

Since the inception of business pages, businesses have become obsessed with growing the number of fans who have clicked their “Like” button—no matter the price or repercussions. In most situations, an employee or the business owner will merely build a business page and then ask their friends to become a fan of their page. When this happens, it creates a false sense for the consumer who visits the page that the retailer is: (a) important or (b) lazy.

Instead of focusing on the number of fans, monitor a free service from Facebook called “Facebook Insights.” Facebook Insights are only visible to the administrators of the Facebook business page, and they provide a detailed report showing how your business page is performing so you can assess its health. It shows statistics of how many active users you have, the specific tabs that have been clicked on the most, the exact age and gender of people looking at your page and the number of views you have on your business page.

There are four key insights useful for gauging your page’s success:

1. Monthly Active Users

2.Unique Page Views

3. Logged-in Page Views

4. Number of Visits

1. Monthly Active Users:

Monthly active users are fans who have engaged with, viewed or consumed content generated by your page. Along with this stat, Facebook provides you with a detailed users chart. This chart can help you analyze when your fan base has grown and—more importantly— what you did that attracted more fans, whether it was tagging other local businesses or even posting about community events. Based on this data you can adapt your strategy to grow your page.

2. Unique Page Views:

Unique page views are the total “distinctive” hits to your page from people logged in to Facebook. This represents the number of individual people who clicked on a specific tab, looked at a photo or watched a video you posted. If you get more unique page views than usual on a particular day or week, you can look back at your posts to see exactly what you did to receive more views. This is great information that will tell you exactly what you need to do to increase the number of page viewers.

3. Logged-in Page Views:

Logged-in page views are the total hits to your page from people who are currently signed in through their personal Facebook account and are looking at your page. Keep in mind that this could mean that the same people looked at your page while logged out of Facebook. Also, remember fans can and will read your posts on their news feed, and just because they’re not clicking to go directly to your page does not mean they’re not reading your post.

4. Number of Visits:

This is one of the most important insights for you to monitor. The number of visits corresponds to how many hits your page receives. The word “hit” refers to how many people typed your page into their browser or followed a link bringing them to your page. This is an imperative piece of information to pay attention to since it tells you the exact number of people who viewed your page. A visitor does not need to have a personal profile to look at business page. This particular stat will allow you to compare the number of page visits with your exact number of fans and active users. You will know your business page is successful if the number of visits vastly outweighs your number of fans.

Combining these four insights will give you an accurate representation of the effectiveness of your Facebook page. Be sure to monitor these four insights when you build your Facebook page and always adapt to them. Remember that Facebook and other social networking sites are controlled by the people who use them, not by a computer. It’s vital to understand what is and what isn’t working in the evolving landscape of social media. Once you realize how to make your Facebook page work for you, then you can turn it into a marketing vehicle that makes you money.

Kevin Doran will be speaking at the Home Furnishings Industry Conference April 30-May 2nd in San Antonio, Texas and will go into greater depth about this article and social media marketing strategies.

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