Social networking websites such as Facebook have made it even easier for people across the world to stay in touch and to communicate with one another in an environment where cost, time and distance do not matter. Armed with this information it is hardly surprising then that Facebook marketing is now a major area of business expertise.
Despite the obvious benefits associated with Facebook, it still remains a business resource which remains woefully underused due to a combination of apathy, ignorance and hesitance to actually use the site. A major part of this dilemma can be traced to the fact that many business owners simply perceive Facebook as nothing more than a social site i.e. for friends and family, and where its raison d'etre is little more than recreational.
Another key component is a lack of understanding as to the basic mechanics involved in the Facebook system. Facebook specifically has provisions which enable a member to provide updates to their profile page, either uploading the changes to their own page, or emailing their friends en mass to achieve the same result.
If you are a business owner and have not yet gripped the potentially awesome implications of that little admission then shame on you! What better way to inform your customers both actual and potential of a change/improvement to the business than with a strategically placed update on your profile page?
Why is this a powerful example of the magic of Facebook marketing? Well, whenever you upload news items about your business on your business profile page, you are directly informing the customers of this news and more crucially, indirectly urging them to make a purchase. There is nothing quite so obnoxious in this world than an overbearing, pushy salesperson who seems hell bent on ramming their goods and services down your throat. As soon as you start forcing the sale of an item to a consumer, you will alienate them. Watch as their face shifts from bemused interest, to blank disdain and finally to barely concealed annoyance at your aggressive sales technique.
Therefore, a profile update provides the business owner with the best of both worlds: it allows them to inform and update the customer base but at the same time, do so in a passive manner or as it is often referred to within the business "soft selling."
A successful business will always include their customers in the decision making process and will try and strive to reach them on a personal level. If your business will be celebrating a major event such as the launch of a new product, or some sort of special anniversary then why not make a Facebook application that provides a countdown to the special date?
Again, what we have here is an excellent way of informing the customer of new developments within the business whilst at the same time doing so in an emotionally neutral manner.
Another example of the perfect time to send a Facebook message is a brief, concise thank you to your customers. Whilst it is perfectly legitimate for you to adopt and rely upon a standard letter template, just make sure you tailor it to include the customer's name (if known.) Believe me, the personal touch will make a major difference to how successfully your email is received.
Speaking of the all essential personal touch, you can also use Facebook messaging to recognise or even reward customer loyalty. Perhaps you could offer a discount to a loyal customer who has made a purchase over a certain amount, on their birthday. This shows that you remembered something about them (their name and birthday) and it also means that you will be able to create a significant amount of goodwill as well.