EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 276 - December 05, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 7

Promoting Your Online Store with a Facebook Page

By Mark O'Neill

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One of the most under-used methods for promoting an online business is Facebook. Many people consider Facebook to be either a method for keeping in touch with ex-flames or for playing Mafia Wars and Farmville. But you can also set up a Facebook Page for your online business, which allows you to tap into the vast viral marketing opportunities that Facebook offers everyone for free.

Everyone is getting into the act. eBay and Paypal both have Facebook pages, and so does AuctionBytes. These pages are free to set up and run, and they can be a serious source of online traffic. One business Facebook page that I administrate sends over a million people a month to the actual website.

Think about that for a minute. A million people. Obviously that isn't going to happen to everyone, and it is of course directly dependent on how much work and effort you put into promoting your own Facebook page. This particular page that I am talking about has over 36,000 Facebook members - and it has taken well over a year to get it to that stage. But it just goes to prove that the more work you put into a project like this, the bigger rewards that could potentially be waiting for you.

So how is such a page going to be relevant for you? Well, this sort of thing is only limited by your imagination and creativity. You can use a page to promote your eBay Store or other online store, and promote your own special unique brand.

As I am sure you are already acutely aware, the biggest challenge of any online store owner is finding and attracting new customers (and getting old customers to return). Facebook already has a huge supply of potential worldwide customers. A Facebook page just connects you to them and allows you to put a human face on your otherwise anonymous website, by giving you the ability to connect with interested visitors.

Once people find you on Facebook, building a community around your online business is easy. You can promote what you are offering, as well as start conversations. People can "like" what you are saying and contribute to the discussion.

Setting up a page is easy. Just go to this page to find the signup form. As you will see, you have to use the "official page" section on the right. Then "brand, product or organization."

The drop down menu gives you two possibilities - either "online store" or "website." Choose the one that you think closely describes your business. If you are an AuctionBytes reader, I am sure "online store" is the closest match. Then click "create official page." Bingo. That's it set up and ready to go. Now it's just a case of customizing the page to suit your needs.

One thing I should mention upfront - you can't have a customized URL - such as facebook.com/joesebayauctions - until you have a minimum 25 fans. This is probably to stop spammers from setting up lots of pages and instantly stealing all the good page names. But these days, getting 25 fans isn't so difficult, if you already have a personal Facebook page with hundreds of "friends." Just get 25 of them to like your new page and then you can set a customized URL. I will be covering this in a future AuctionBytes article.

Click over the picture area and upload your business logo. Fill out the "info" section with your online business / eBay auctions links. Then start building up your fan base. If you already have an existing Facebook account, mention your new business page on your Wall and ask your "friends" to like your new page. Tell them to tell their Facebook friends about it. Then they will tell theirs. That is the whole secret of Facebook success - one person tells another who tells another who tells another,...

And of course the usual marketing methods apply. When you have a customized URL, put it on your business cards. Mention the link in your marketplace listings. Mention "Facebook only" special offers (a really big and efficient way of building up a fan base fast). I will be covering all of this in future AuctionBytes articles.

Let us know how you got on building your pages - and don't forget to "like" us on the AuctionBytes Facebook page.


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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