Facebook is dead. That's what some people say, anyway. Frankly, it isn't, not yet, anyway. As one of the most heavily used social networks in the world, Facebook has the potential to be an absolute goldmine of a business marketing tool.
You have to play the game well, though. This is the first of a four-part series that will break down the ways in which to use the platform to earn money.
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Most people choose to open a business page that is separate to their personal account, which is very sensible. Facebook has a bunch of tools - particularly Insights - which are designed to analyse and optimise all of your page's activities. What's more, you can always share a page and its updates from your personal profile.
However, you can always choose to stick with your own account, especially if you don't think you'll have the time or resources to maintain multiple profiles.
Decision made? Good. Now you need to start posting good content, regularly. Both quality and quantity are essential. Don't be afraid to mix things up, either. A good blend of text, links, pictures and videos will ensure your page looks varied and interesting. Facebook also allows pages to schedule posts at certain times, which can make your life far easier.
However, be careful not to turn into a Jack of all trades. Focus on a particular area. For us, that's technology. For you, it could be shoes, sports, books or even cats. By doing this, you have a higher chance of building up a strong following. Posting a stream of plain links to products might bag you the odd customer, but a little effort can go a long way. Amusing, thought-provoking and handy images and articles - if they're relevant - will help break things up and bring an extra dimension to proceedings.
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Remember that patience is key. Wads of cash aren't just going to start flying out of your printer. It may take some time to get into the swing of things, but once you've established a schedule that seems to work for you, stick to it and keep plugging away. The best thing about using Facebook for marketing is that it doesn't cost you anything, and you have complete control over every single process.