October 2016
The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
Why Your Business Needs a Facebook Page


Why Your Business Needs a Facebook Page

A Facebook page can work for your business - if you don't believe it then consider the following statistics. In 2015, over 2 million small business owners had a Facebook page (up from 1.5 million in 2014) and between them they had more than 50 million small business pages.

If you have a B2C business, consider there are currently 1.7 billion active monthly users of Facebook and 1.1 billion mobile Facebook users. That's a massive audience you can't afford to ignore.

Marketing your business through Facebook is a simple concept, but a little tougher to execute. The idea is to use the social connections presented to you by the platform to reach out to customers and promote your company. That's harder than it sounds. While at one time it might have been easy to purchase ads on the sidebar and let it do its thing, the atmosphere has changed. Nowadays, Facebook marketing means creating a business page, keeping in touch with your current customers and clients, connecting with other related businesses and opening up to new customers. All of this while navigating the social minefield that is unbridled social access.

Facebook is an excellent tool for marketing because of how direct the connection between business and consumer is. However, therein lies the risk. One wrong move, one offensive post or misstep can cost your business its reputation and customer base. There are rules that should be followed. A business page on Facebook shouldn't be treated like a personal page, but it still needs to have a personal connection. After all, if people didn't care about the personal, social touch a Facebook page offers, they'd bookmark your company site or blog and read that instead.

What a Facebook page gives you is increased exposure, an ability to connect with your existing customers and your potential market. It allows you to do online networking. Friends of your company (and you) can like your page and spread links to everyone they know. It also allows you to communicate with your followers by posting announcements, offers, tips etc. You can answer questions, educate people on your product, or service, and enter into conversations. Unlike your web site, your Facebook page is far more interactive.

Simply launching a Facebook page is not enough - you have to promote it. Email the link to everyone you know, and announce it to everyone on your customer database. Ask for 'likes' - the goal is to get people to help you tell your story. Put a Facebook link on your website and feature it on your business card and every other piece of promotional literature you put out.

Post interesting things that are relevant to your company and what you sell. Don't mix personal and business - no one wants to see you on holiday downing 20 shooters in one minute!

Post product and corporate updates, photo's, and video's that will be of interest to your specific audience. Share your excitement in your industry and what you sell - your passion will excite your followers and encourage them to promote your page. Post at least once, if not several times a day. Your business page needs to be dynamic.

Be responsive, monitor your page daily and answer all posts - show people you (or a member of your team) are listening. When a post is successful in attracting attention make sure you send a link out to everyone on your mailing list. Build on the interest.

When you get used to having a Facebook business page start looking at all the advanced things you can do such as targeting specific audiences by location, age, interests and more.

Ensure you use the analytics on offer to monitor your page's activity. See the number of likes, comments, shares, page views, posts and the demographics of your audience. You will even discover the time of day they visited your page and how they discovered you!

A well maintained business page can generate far more leads and business than any corporate website. But, that's not say you don't need an excellent website too - people will head there straight after discovering your FB business page to check you out. The two have to work together.

Why Your Business Needs a Facebook Page


Local Sports Sponsorship 101

If you're a small business, chances are your marketing dollars are minimal so how do you make the best out of a small budget?

Much depends on your type of business; whether you are B2B or B2C, and whether your market is local, provincial, national, or global. In this article we discuss a marketing strategy for those of you who rely on local customers, predominately consumers rather than businesses.

Every town and city in Canada has multiple local sports teams; soccer, football, rugby, softball, fastball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse - the list goes on. Almost every child, and a large percentage of teenagers in your town are likely to be involved in some sport or other. Adults too play in leisure leagues. Drive through any town in Canada during a weekend and you'll see parents cheering on their children at league games and tournaments. It is one of the primary ways communities come together - sports teams are at the very heart of your town.

You don't have to be IBM or Pepsi to be a sports' sponsor. Your local teams are always in need of funding to purchase equipment, to travel to tournaments, pay for ice time, or to cover a host of other expenses. Most will welcome financial support from local businesses and provide exposure in return. Fund a team's uniform and perhaps you can have your business name on the back, or have an advertisement in the program.

Think about local sports sponsorship as an investment in your business and in your community. When parents, family and friends gather to watch children compete in any sports event you will see a 'community' all there to support the same thing - there is a sense of belonging. The one thing they all have in common is passion - they are invested in the sport and the well-being of their children, family and friends.

If you are seen to be supporting this community within a community, your brand will start to 'belong' and you will build trust and goodwill. Even though you receive a promotional benefit, your company will be seen as giving back. And, don't dismiss the feel-good factor; for a relatively small amount of money, you can make a significant impact on a sports team that may be struggling to buy the equipment they need, or travel to faraway tournaments. Remember, a thriving community is good for your business and every aspect of your life in that community.

Before you jump right into sponsoring a local team, event, or tournament consider the relevance of what you sell to the people who will see your company name. Obviously if you own a liquor store, sponsoring a children's sports team might not be acceptable. But, there could be a senior, or old boys, hockey league or rugby team that might be appropriate.

A few things to consider when supporting a local team, event, or tournament:

  • Engage with your audience in someway - find a way to interact with the people in attendance. Attend games.
  • Become involved as a volunteer and network with parents and sports fans.
  • Use your sponsorship to educate your market.
  • Be creative in how you receive exposure (e.g. ads or coupons in programs; prizes; names on jerseys; sponsorship announcements before the game; product samples at a booth; banner ads, etc.)
  • Send out press releases to the local press and media. Tell your corporate story.
  • Support your team in other advertising, or at your business location, and on your website.
  • Check whether the team you choose is registered as a not-for-profit. Depending on the circumstances you may actually be able to use your sponsorship as a tax write-off.

Before sponsoring anything, define your expectations. How much impact do you expect it to make on your business in terms of customer traffic, unit sales, and increase in revenue? Once you know this, you can monitor the return on your marketing investment.

Sponsoring a local sports team, or event, can be a tremendously cost-effective way of promoting your company to the local community and to visiting fans. It also demonstrates your company's commitment to the community and encourages people to shop local. It's truly a win-win for all concerned.

Why Your Business Needs a Facebook Page


Coach's Corner - Gaining Trust

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Ernest Hemingway

In his book, The Speed of Trust, Steven M.R. Covey writes that there are five waves of trust-Self, Relationship, Organizational, Market, and Societal Trust. Using the analogy of a wave formed from a pebble hitting the surface of a pond, the primary source is Self Trust from which emanates the other four waves.

Although all five waves are important, this month's column will focus on the second wave, relationship trust, and give some ideas on ways to encourage this trust in your various interactions and interpersonal connections. With a strong foundation in this second wave of trust, the stronger trust bonds will strengthen your organization.

As a leader or business owner, it is important to understand that the strength of your organization and your relationships are based upon trust. It should also be noted that trust is a two-way street, for there to be a truly trustworthy relationship, whether with your colleagues, subordinates, customers, trust needs to be reciprocal. You need people to trust you as much as you need to trust them.

So, how might you go about engendering trust amongst your employees, colleagues and others? One very powerful way, as Hemingway says, is for you to put your faith or trust in people if you are to know them as trustworthy. A way to extend this trust is to show them they are truly part of the team, and the business, by involving them in conversations that demonstrate you appreciate their role in the success of the organization.

Here are three questions that may help start a conversation which helps to develop a stronger trust relationship and engender a team approach to realising business goals and objectives.

What do you feel are the things we are doing that work well?
What do you feel is not working for the organization?
What do you feel we should be doing?

In asking for their reflections on the business-what's working, what's not working and what can we do better-you are demonstrating that you value their thoughts and ideas. You are showing a trust in them being team members with a vital role in the success of the business.

This leads to two other important aspects in gaining trust which are to show loyalty to your team members and to listen before talking.

If you demand respect or loyalty, it will only be given when it is earned. Therefore, it is important that you reciprocate by being respectful and loyal. One way of showing loyalty is to ensure that credit is given to the team member or members who came up with a solution. Great leaders attribute their, or their organization's, success to those who support them. Taking the credit diminishes the team and lessens the sense of loyalty and respect.

Finally, when you take the time to truly understand what each person is saying, you are building upon the foundation of trust. When you truly listen to and understand a subordinate or colleague's ideas and concerns, they are more likely to seek or accept your advice.

Gaining trust is crucial to the success of your business.

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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