Do you think that social media is for those with too much time on their hands? An endless stream of self-centred status updates with little bearing on reality? Think again.
My name is Lauren; I am the designer & owner within a Melbourne business ‘Boondie Baby’. We specialise in handmade nursery linen and accessories for babies and children. We market our products world wide through www.boondiebaby.com, are stallholders at boutique children’s markets, blog and run a successful Facebook business page.
From inception, Boondie Baby was introduced to the world of Facebook. I was very proud to introduce it to my friends on my personal Wall asking them to ‘like’ and ‘share’ my new business. Within 2 weeks I had 120 ‘likers’. Having put so much time and effort into conceptualising my new business, it thrilled me to have such a welcomed entrance.
Boondie Baby has continued to grow steadily and has become quite a successful business. To my surprise the success of my products and ‘likers’ on Facebook grew much quicker than my family or I anticipated and today, I am excited to say, I have 2 new helpers supporting Boondie Baby production.
At the time of writing this article, I had 1150 ‘likers’ following Boondie Baby on Facebook after opening only nine months earlier. This translates to substantial market exposure for my products producing business results that I can measure.
Not in any particular order, the following 10 categories are critical considerations for Business Success on Facebook.
1. Clear and professional branding and photos.
Picture: Courtesy Little Bird Photography
Business logos, web design and product photography must be as clear, relevant and engaging as possible. It pays to get a graphic designer to help you design a web page and logo for your brand. An objective opinion on your design ideas from a trained eye can often have significant benefit to product and web page popularity regardless of what you think of your own work.
Take clear pictures of your products with simple backgrounds and natural lighting. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to start with, just have the right light conditions, a steady hand and the correct setting on your camera. With this combination and some trial & error, you can achieve brilliant images. It’s always best to show your product in the environment it is intended for so that customers get a good understanding of it’s use.
2. Get familiar with Facebook etiquette.
Facebook has many helpful discussions regarding competitions, tagging, advertising and simple topics such as interaction with other business pages.
3. Network with other businesses.
Get to know other women in small business. There are many out there that can be a great support to you, help with suppliers, marketing and promoting your business.
Many women are in the same position, juggling our families and businesses, so networking is a great way to support one another. I have a few very close relationships with other women in online business. We have never met; yet manage to market each other’s businesses over time in both retail and wholesale situations.
When first approaching a business online, it is wise to introduce yourself with private email first.
4. Make an effort to thank and return ‘likes’.
Whether your new ‘liker’ is from a business or personal page, always thank them for supporting you and do your best to return the ‘like’ to their business. You never know what you both will get out of that new contact through some simple courtesy.
5. Never post pictures or promotions on other business pages without their permission.
Posting your own pictures or promotions on a page other than your own without permission will be something you’ll learn to regret. It can be quite an awful feeling when minutes after posting your pride & joy on someone’s wall, you find it deleted without explanation.
I have found myself in this position however the page owner was kind enough to ‘like’ my page back and explain. Many won’t be this polite, and fair enough, especially if you are selling a similar product. No-one has to advertise your business for you, that’s for you to do on your wall or other walls that are open to advertising such as ‘The Mummy Tree’.
6. Interact with your ‘likers’.
Show a piece of yourself every now and then. People like to see and read a bit about the people who operate businesses and what happens behind the scenes. Simple topics such as where you create your products and even a small tasteful glimpse of what you do in your downtime can be fascinating reading.
7. Respond to comments and answer questions without delay.
You’ll never know of the sales you could have made if you don’t get back to people promptly. Business Success on Facebook is built on interaction. I always do my best to get back to a comment or question within the same day if someone is interested in my products.
8. If you promise something such as a new product or sale - stick to it!
There are numerous situations where businesses advertise that a new product is “in the making” or “wait till you see it in blue - I’ll post a pic later” and it never happens. If you have promoted an idea, your customers will be waiting on your exciting sale or new product, don’t let them down and miss out on sales. Simply following through on your ideas and plans keeps ‘likers’ engaged in your business.
9. Don’t harp on about your problems.
Many businesses have the upsetting discovery that someone else is copying their product or brought out what someone else might think is a better version.
As business owners put so much time and effort into products, it is always frustrating when others mimic designs and methods. If you feel the need to mention your challenges via a status update, do so, but business success does not come from sharing your problems with other people.
Be the better person and move forward remembering that customers are following your page for your products and don’t really need to hear about all the extra drama. Sometimes other people can be a big support on Facebook, but keep it short and sweet.
10. Post content that entertains, amuses and encourages others.
It can be great when you open your News Feed and someone has posted a funny picture or an encouraging quote for the day. It can make all the difference in how your day turns out. Why not be one of those encouraging people who doesn’t just run a business but brings smiles to faces sometimes too. Your name will certainly be remembered! After I made a recent simple but inspirational post, sales increased substantially on the same day.
Business Success on Facebook is a reality waiting for any who choose to capitalise on it. Given the right business formula, don’t underestimate the capacity of Facebook to go far beyond a simple social media playground and take your business to new levels of popularity and success.
Lauren Kirkwoodowns and runs Boondie Baby which is all about making linen and practical day to day items, more hip and modern - looking fabulous on our shoulder as well as in our handbags and prams. Using gorgeous bold and modern fabrics, they are comfy and soft for baby too. She designs products for mothers who desire a more modern and unique nursery.