Facebook launched the year after I graduated college. I still remember my younger sister talking about this cool new website where she could see a picture of any other students who were members on the site.
She explained that she could also see additional information about the person, like where the person attends school, personal interests, and connections. “So it’s like MySpace?” I asked, referring to the social networking site on which I was already a member. “Kind of,” she responded, “Only better.”
It did not take the rest of the world very long to recognize the differences between Facebook and MySpace, and then for the rest of the world to acknowledge the superiority of Facebook. While MySpace does still exist, Facebook has become the leader among social networking sites. Facebook is used not only to present information about a business but also to give customers a place to interact and post online reviews.
To be relevant and stay with the times, it’s important to know how Facebook fits into the business world, how to create an account, and allow Facebook’s many features to impact your business. Creating a company Facebook page is as simple as filling in an online questionnaire. Likewise, handling online customer reviews can be done directly through the page you set up.
Fact: People use Facebook.
You won’t be hard-pressed to find someone who adamantly tries to convince you that he does not put much stock into social networking sites, and probably follows up the comment by saying something along the lines of, “I have an account, but I hardly ever log in.” Ok, right.
Maybe he doesn’t regularly access his own Facebook account, but the stats actually tell us otherwise about the general population of internet users. According to data obtained by Neilsen, internet users spend an average of 35 minutes per day perusing Facebook, and they access the site an average of 8 times per day.
While people are busy perusing Facebook, it might be easy to assume that they are simply stalking ex-boyfriends (gotta make sure his new girlfriend isn’t as cute), or following posts from the most popular ugly and grumpy cats, many people are actually visiting business pages. In fact, according to one study, Facebook is where people most commonly stumble on new businesses.
So, if you are a startup, a bit of advice – make sure your Facebook page is up and running as quickly as possible. Also, compared to creating a website, it actually takes very little to create a profile.
Fact: The bare bones won’t break your bones.
Speaking of creating a company Facebook page, you’re probably skeptical about the simplicity of having your own page. To prove that you’re never too unskilled in the tech realm to create a company Facebook page, I want you to keep in mind that children as young as 13 years old are allowed to create a profile. At this point, I want you to adopt this mantra: “If a 13-year-old can do it, so can I!” Now, say it like you mean it.
After pumping yourself up, it’s time to identify the necessary steps for creating a company Facebook page:
- Log onto Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/pages/create/
- Make sure to enter the correct page name and category to represent your business, because this is permanent once created.
- Detail a brief synopsis about what your business does.
- Upload an image of the best representation of your business (perhaps a company logo or other identifiable image).
- Save the information you’ve written and the images you’ve uploaded, and your page is automatically live.
- Tip: After establishing your page, give it some flare by completing as much of the information about your business as possible.
Fact: Facebook won’t cost you a bunch of bones.
Since you now know that creating a company page is a piece of cake, do you want to know the best part about creating a company Facebook page? It won’t cost you a penny!
That’s right, Facebook is free to users simply because of the annoying advertisements you often see appear while you’re browsing (those are not free to advertisers—Facebook requires them to pay a fee to put their agenda in front of you). So do yourself a favor, create a company Facebook page! It will also, in turn, make your business more visible on search engines like Google.
Fact: People read online reviews.
Speaking of Google, Google Reviews isn’t the only place to take the temperature of a business. If you’ve ever written an honest review of a company or product, you are aware that most reviews are written by real people, doing their best to share an honest opinion or experience.
While there are undoubtedly some bogus reviews floating around out there, you will also be able to find some very helpful reviews online.
Facebook is a great resource to use for managing online customer reviews.
Like many other review platforms, Facebook once offered a way to get a snapshot of how customers perceive your business by using a star rating. Recently, however, Facebook has transitioned to the new method of giving customers the option to recommend or not recommend a business.
While reading through reviews is a good practice, the recommendation method takes the guesswork out of trying to determine how many stars equals a recommendation to try a service or product.
Fact: Positive reviews don’t happen by chance.
Believe it or not, there are actually strategies for achieving positive online customer reviews. The most surefire way to get a positive review is the big ask. Anyone in sales will tell you that you’re not going to get the sale you don’t ask for. People in sports will tell you that you won’t make the shot you don’t take. In other words, if you want people to review your product, try asking them this way: “Hey, how are we doing? If you think we are doing great, let us know!”
Now, what happens if you get a terrible review? Let’s be honest—it hurts. It makes us mad. And we want to fire back. We want to defend ourselves and give more context. However, this kind of reaction rarely ends well or has the desired result.
Instead, try these suggestions and see what happens:
- Take a deep breath. This will help even out your heart rate.
- Wait an hour, and go for a short walk. This will give you some space from the drama, and give you time to think.
- When you compose a response, address the customer the way you would want someone to address you.
- Try not to have a defensive tone.
- Apologize that the customer’s expectations were not met, and offer a reasonable solution.
- Tell the customer that you are happy to discuss further, if necessary, and give your contact information so that you can discuss offline.
Remember that the goal is to diffuse the situation, without patronizing the customer. Whatever you do, remember to keep your cool. No matter what, do not yell at someone, use profanity, or call names online. Regardless of what someone says to you, take the high road.
Fact: Creating a company Facebook page and managing your online reviews will benefit you.
The moral of the story is that we’re living in an era where people value the information found online. People regularly jump on the internet to search for information, ahead of calling a friend or seeking an expert in person. The internet is a quick way to pool the most data in the shortest amount of time.
So do yourself a favor, quit trying to buck the system by boycotting Facebook for your business. It’s fine to forego a personal Facebook profile (and maybe in some cases it’s a really good idea to avoid having a personal Facebook page… if you are the type who impulsively airs your dirty laundry), but you could be missing out on a great opportunity for free marketing if you choose not to utilize this great resource.