Capture Customers with Facebook News FeedsWhen you update the wall on your Facebook business page, you also publish to the walls of the Facebook users who “Like” your page. This creates a news feed for your business on other people’s personal pages, including a link back to your page. It’s a little like being invited to their party, a great opportunity to meet new people, but you’d better have something interesting to say.

Four icons at the top of your Facebook wall give you the options for updates:

  • Status: Write a message of up to 160 characters.
  • Photo: Upload a photo from your computer and add a comment. When users click on the photo on the wall, it expands to full screen.
  • Link: Share an article you found online, with your comment. Facebook will pull in the headline, image and first sentences of the article automatically.
  • Video: Upload your own video from your computer and Facebook will display it in a video player.

What’s the best content for a business page news feed?

  • Discounts and deals. In a recent survey by IBM of social media users who visit business pages, 61% said they were looking for deals, the leading reason.
  • Conversation starters. Users can comment on an update, as well as like it, which in turn publishes your content on their pages, keeping the social media ball rolling. You can set your Like button to display a count of Likes to show the amount of interest in your update.
  • Updates. Display the personality of your business, demonstrating your expertise, success or friendly service. You might comment about a news item you found about your industry, including a mention about how your company is keeping up with the trend. (You can set the Like button to display Recommend if Like wouldn’t make sense or be awkward for a news item.)

To get started, try publishing two updates to your wall a week, then see if you can move up to five days a week; you’ll figure out a rhythm based on whether users are commenting on your updates. (Most people check Facebook from about 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., so that’s the optimal time to publish.)

Some examples of content types to try in your news feed:

  • Asking for suggestions on products, services or deals that your customers would like to see.
  • Thanking a loyal or new customer or recognizing a customer for some achievement unrelated to your business; chances are the customer will Like or Recommend your news feed item. If your customer has previously “liked” your page, you can add “@customername” in the message on your page and the update will publish to the customer’s Facebook wall.
  • Showing images or videos of your work, perhaps a before and after shot of a particularly difficult job.
  • Giving useful tips and reminders that relate to your business, for instance, seasonal reminders about home upkeep or auto maintenance.
  • Posting messages that show you’re part of the community: cheering on the team, promoting a charity drive, wishing everybody a happy holiday or commiserating about bad weather.
  • Making a short-time offer that’s exclusive to Facebook users: “Say this secret word in the store today and get a free cupcake!”

Now for some warnings:

  • Don’t always be selling. Sure, tell them about sales and special offers, but don’t just push out pure self-promotion (“Come on down to the store, we’re waiting to help you!”) without some kind of value to the user.
  • Stick with it once you start; a Facebook page with no activity becomes a bad statement about your business.  Be sure to respond to every comment on your wall, if only to say “thanks.”
  • Just because a customer Likes your page doesn’t guarantee that your news feed will appear prominently on the customer’s wall. Customers can choose their news feed to feature Top Stories (the default) or Most Recent. If it’s Top Stories, Facebook determines which items appear based on a secret filter — probably based on likes – another reason to make your newsfeed likeable.
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