With over a billion Facebook users online, it’s important to have a business Facebook page.  Especially since users can create a business page simply by “checking in” at a location so you may not have a choice whether or not you’re on Facebook.  It’s vital that you remain in control of your company’s online reputation.  While it may not always seem relevant for a company to have a Facebook page, it is extremely important.  Here’s why:

  1. Company Facebook pages are designed to build relationships, not to sell. When you create a company Facebook page, employees can list it as their employers, fans can check in whenever they visit the location, and the department managing the page can build relationships with current and potential customers. By staying fresh in customers’ minds, they can refer your business and will be more inclined to have repeat business.
  2. Solve problems in real time. Sure, it’s not fun hearing negative feedback about your company. But at the same time, if you are vigilant over your online reputation, you can put a stop to negative feedback quickly and turn the whole situation around.  Say you have a customer who is unhappy about a recent visit and they post about it on your Facebook page. If you can quickly respond with an action message, bring it offline and resolve the situation, you have a great chance at getting a redaction from the customer. For example, a customer could post “I’ve been a customer for XX amount of years, but this last time we came in…” If you let the relevant department know about the situation and replay with a professional message such as “We’re sorry you had a less than positive experience. Please call XXXX at XXXX to discuss the situation.” then it takes the issue offline, the employee can diffuse the situation and the customer can follow up saying “Wow, thank you for helping me through this, great customer service!” Then you can reply with “Thank you for being a loyal customer” and seal the relationship.
  3. Make your company more human.  People don’t see companies as a group of people, they see them as an established, faceless corporation that may not care about their employees. By sharing daily company experiences such as what’s for lunch or “here’s what’s going on today” or “here’s  recent satisfied customer,” you make your company more personal and less anonymous. The more you can make your company feel like a family, the more trust and compassion you will build with your customers.
  4. Increase event attendance. Don’t discount Facebook’s ability to engage customers.  People are on Facebook all the time.  And if you let them know about your company’s public events, your have a greater chance of getting increased attendance.  When your fans engage in your posts, it is often shared on their friends’ news feed so they end up spreading the word for you. The more attractive you make your posts, the greater your chances are of having your fans advertise for you.
  5. Established customers can lead to new customers.  For $5 a day or less, you can advertise to your fans’ friends that they are fans of your company.  This is just about equivalent to word-of-mouth marketing. Say your company sells something one of your fan’s friends needs and they’re on Facebook as usual and see an ad that their friend likes your company which happens to sell just what they need.  The bonus is that you can specifically target  people to see your ads.  So if they are in the market for your product/service, your ad can show up on their feed, they can like you because their friend does, and you have a future customer. That’s how simple it can be.

There are reasons for most companies to have Facebook pages.  Some may be more popular than others (I imagine debt collection Facebook pages may not be appreciated, but with the right marketing message, they can have a positive relationship—i.e. “I feel like a jerk for being late on my bills, but XYZ debt collection company made payments easy for me—see, it works!).  And with Facebook creating pages when customers check in to your location, you want to make sure you are managing the page so you have control over your company’s reputation.

The important thing is to see Facebook as a relationship-building tool, rather than a sales tool.  In the long term, your customers may not always need your products or services, but when they do, you want to make sure that you are their first choice.