NOW, settle down. We’re not talking about the oldest profession. We’re talking about how businesses can build real friendships through social media — friendships that look more like true friendships and build communities among their friends to support their business goals.

Why businesses should make friends on Facebook?

Businesses question the value of incorporating social media into their marketing communication mix. Many don’t believe social media really works, others lament the lack of analytics showing the ROI (Return on Investment) from social media marketing efforts.

So, why should YOUR business invest time and money building a friendship network on Facebook?

The infographic (courtesy of my pals at Ambassador) makes a strong argument for using Facebook.

  1. 25% of Facebook users check their newsfeed 5 or MORE times per day. And, with the rise of smartphones and the ease of Facebook apps on these devices, that number is going nowhere but UP!
  2. Adult users spend over 7 hours/ month on Facebook’s mobile app.
  3. Facebook has more users per month than all the major social media sites put together.
  4. US users spend nearly 25% of their time online using Facebook and other social media sites.

Pay-off when companies use social media

Facebook and other social media sites increasingly form a viable means for business lead generation in both B2B and B2C environments. And, employees like working for companies where the CEO or other leaders are active Facebook users.

But, most importantly, consumers are strongly influenced by what their friends think about a brand.

How to use social media, like Facebook

Likes have relatively little impact on purchase decisions when they’re purchased through contests and such. Plus, Likes from folks who aren’t part of your target market do little.

The real trick to social media success, regardless of the platform, is to give people something of value. That might be:

  • free stuff or coupons
  • helpful information
  • exclusive access
  • community, self esteem

What visitors are NOT interested in, is hearing about you or your brand. Social media is NOT advertising or PR and users are really not interested in being talked TO. So, unless you’re a celebrity, find something else to talk about! Something folks are interested in.

And, interact with visitors. Thank them if they say something nice or share your content. Address their questions or problems promptly and thoroughly. Treat them as if the most important person in your town just walked into your store. This isn’t rocket science, it’s just down home hospitality.

Yes, I know. You’ve sat through webinars and paid for training programs filled with advice about the optimal time to post and how often to post, you’ve paid to have really attractive cover photos designed, maybe you pay a college kid to post to your Facebook wall, and you carefully track how many fans you have on your page. And, I’m not saying that stuff is trivial. I’m just saying that sharing stuff your target audience loves trumps all that other stuff.

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