Of all social media sites, Facebook is the one that can offer marketers the most in terms of traffic, shares, fans, and even sales right now. Here are some basic tips that will help you get you started with Facebook marketing.

The Details:

  1. Don’t try to sell your products or services directly. Facebook users log in to their accounts to connect with friends, family, and companies they like, not to discover business offers. Focus on building trust and authority instead.

  2. Post fresh and original content every day. Valuable content attracts more fans, likes, shares, and traffic than self-promotional updates.

  3. Respond to fans who ask you questions. This will eat a lot of your time, but helps you build a better image and encourages positive reviews, so it’s well worth it.

  4. Provide customer support when people ask for it. Assign one person from your regular customer support staff to take care of these.

  5. Establish a posting schedule. If you post every day at roughly the same hours, it will be easier for your fans to anticipate your updates, and they will come back for more.

  6. Post your content in the afternoon. Although Facebook users tend to check their profile several times a day, they are usually most active in the interval between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. There are exceptions, though, so it’s good to monitor the activity levels on your business page.

  7. Let your fans tag your photos. This increases user interaction and often gets you more views, as some fans return to check the comments on photos they’ve tagged.

  8. Use Facebook groups to showcase your expertise in a field, interact with other people with similar interests, and establish connections. Don’t join more than a few groups, because remaining an active member of all of them will probably take more time than you can spare.

  9. Don’t post content that you’ve already posted on other social sites on Facebook. You can abridge articles or blog posts and turn them into Facebook updates, or expand tweets into Facebook posts, but try to avoid duplicate content.

  10. Don’t post content without an image. Attractive photos grab the attention of your fans, and make them more likely to press the Share and Like buttons.

  11. Use Facebook Ads. They are not a replacement for Google AdSense, but they are cheaper and do bring results.

  12. Do encourage your employees to make an appearance on your Facebook page. Fans like content that comes from real people more and they connect with it more easily.

  13. Tell your story and promote your philosophy. The brands that are most successful on Facebook—Coca-Cola, McDonalds, or Starbucks, to name a few—focus on the story and the culture of their brand, and you should do the same.

  14. Feature your company events in Facebook Events. It’s a simple way to increase the attendance to your seminars, presentations, or product launches.

  15. Direct users to your Facebook page rather than your website. The fact is that many Web users find it more convenient to discover a brand by checking their Facebook profile than by visiting their homepage. For best results, create a professional landing page.

  16. Optimize your Facebook content for SEO. Add the right keywords to the headlines and content of your posts, the titles of your images, and the descriptions of your videos.

The Bottom Line:

Facebook marketing is a long-term effort that requires commitment and endurance, and rewards those who keep at it. Facebook can boost the image of your brand, bring more traffic to your website, and even increase your sales, but don’t expect these results to come overnight.