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Facebook & What it Can Do For Your Business – Part 1
The social media giant is good for more than just staying in touch.
Since first emerging on the digital scene (way back in the prehistoric digital mists of 2004), Facebook has become an indispensable facet of most of our daily lives. It’s a great place to keep in contact with friends and family, maintain a personal events calendar, and — of course — trade cute cat pics.
But Facebook for Business is an entirely different animal. Increasingly, not maintaining a Facebook page for the professional part of your life can mean money left on the table. While having your own website is certainly key to running a successful business in the information age, so is being where your customers already are. And where they are is Facebook.
Recently, the experts at the investment-focused website The Motley Fool did an in-depth analysis of Facebook’s reported user statistics, and what they came up with is pretty eye-opening. On average, Facebook users spend nearly a billion hours on Facebook…every day. And based on a user base of 2.13 billion users who log in at least monthly, and and 1.3 billion daily users, the math isn’t hard to puzzle out. That means that roughly one in every seven people on the planet is logging in every day. And they spent between 27 and 41 minutes scrolling their news feeds when they do.
So, what does this mean for your pawn business? How can you get those eyeballs to point in your direction? And how can it help your bottom line to maintain an active Facebook presence?
Before you can start leveraging Facebook to help both you and your customers get the most out of your experience, there are a few basics to cover.
Creating a Facebook Page for Your Business
We’ll start with how to create a Facebook page for your company, and highlight some of the ways Facebook for business differs from the personal page where you trade recipes and pictures of your kids with your friends from high school.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll assume you already have a personal Facebook page, some familiarity with the platform, and a basic awareness of social media in general. If not, then you may need to do a bit of research. Don’t worry — we’ll still be here once you get up to speed.
Still with us? Good. Establishing a presence for your business is pretty straightforward, but there is still a process to follow. So, lets get started.
1.) Create Your Page. First, go to Facebook’s Business Page at Facebook.com/business. Once there, locate the button in the upper-right of the page that reads, “Create an Ad.” Click the arrow next to it, and “Create a Page” should drop down. Click this menu option. You’ll be presented with two options: Business/Brand, and Community/Public Figure. For your purposes, you’ll want to choose Business/Brand.
Picking this option will give you a few fields to fill out. You’ll need to choose a name and a category for your business. And if you enter “pawn” into the second field, “Pawn Shop” should appear as a drop-down option. Select it.
Following that, you’ll be asked to enter location and contact information for your business. This will not only help customers find you, but will also help you find customers. More on that later.
Once all of your data is entered, click “Continue”. Important: Clicking this button signifies your consent to comply with Facebook’s terms and conditions. If you’re the fine-print-reading sort, it’s probably a good idea to refresh your memory at this stage.
2.) Let’s Get Visual. The next thing you’ll be asked to do is add some photos to your page. Here’s a chance to get creative. If you have a cool logo, find the file and upload it. Exterior shots of the outside of your building(s)? Great. This will help customers recognize you when they come by. “Hero” shots of some of your inventory works, as well (though, maybe save individual pieces for product listings, since some items can sell quickly).
Think broad, sweeping shots of jewelry cases, walls of guitars, shelves of electronics, and/or full gun racks. Group shots of your friendly, professional staff also tend to put a nice human face on things. Whatever your focus or specialty, the idea is to let customers know the range of merchandise and service they can expect when they visit.
And if you don’t have any of these photos available, then feel free to take some! If you have the time and budget for it, hire a professional photographer. But if not? Every smartphone on the market has the ability to take high-quality photos that will do just fine for most purposes. Above all, have fun with it. You want your business to look warm and inviting.
When you have some photos you’re happy with, Facebook can upload them to your page with a few self-guided clicks. Once they’re in there, you can organize them into folders and categories. This will help page visitors more easily find what they’re looking for in a format they already know how to navigate.
Also worth noting: The two most important images on your page are your profile picture, and your cover photo.
The profile picture is the small thumbnail that is most representative of your business. This would be the perfect place for your logo (provided it fits into the round-cropped frame without trimming too much). If you have a charismatic spokesperson, a photo of his or her smiling face could also work. Try to keep it simple. In some places on Facebook, this appears only a few pixels high, so cramming it full of too much information may not be a good idea.
The cover photo is the large, broad banner that appears at the top of the page. It’s the first thing most page visitors see, so think of it like a billboard. Many businesses include an emblematic photo of their business’ façade, or a wider version of their logo. Some repeat their location, phone number, or other info here. Others use that space to highlight sales or specials. It’s really up to you.
3.) Take it For a Spin. Once you’ve got the bare-bones basics out of the way, Facebook will offer to take you on a virtual tour of your page’s new features. It’s tempting to wave this off and think, “Yeah, I’ve got it,” especially if you’re a seasoned Facebook user. But we’d recommend you actually follow through. The unique particulars of the business side of Facebook offer some specific and beneficial advantages to entrepreneurs. And it’s easy to miss out if you simply aren’t aware of them. So, give it a whirl. And take notes. It’s easy to forget or gloss over some details that you may wish you had a better grasp of later.
4.) Get Descriptive. Next, you’ll be prompted to add a short text overview of your business. This is the space where you’ll want to talk about what it is that you do, and do better than your competition. Do you have a focus on fine jewelry? Say so. Better prices on guitars than the big box across town? Musicians love great gear, and saving money. The best selection on gently-used tools? Good for you! Broadcast that. Overall, you just want to offer a short, easy-to-read overview of your business so that people know what to expect. You’re probably fine writing this yourself. But if yer nott teh werld’s gratest spellur? That’s okay, too. Many freelance websites like Fiverr and Upwork can connect you with professional writers who’d be happy to help for a very reasonable price.
Note: You’ll only have 155 characters to work with here, thanks to how most search engines index information. Avoid repeating things like your name or location that will already appear elsewhere on the page. Focus on describing what makes your business different, and special.
5.) Create a Username. This is a brief, but crucial step. Your username will do two important things:
First, it creates a unique, custom page URL (Universal Resource Locator). This will belong to you, and only you. It will look something like “Facebook.com/MyPawnShopNameHere”. It’s important to choose a username that customers will most commonly associate with your company. Most of the time, the actual name of your business is best here (e.g., “Harristown Jewelry and Loan,” or “Johnson Pawnbrokers”).
Second, the username will be the login you use (along with the accompanying password) to log on to your page when prompted. So it’s important to choose one that’s both descriptive, and easy to remember.
But — here’s where things can get a little sticky. As much as every business is unique, sometimes the NAMES of our businesses aren’t. So, while it’s highly unlikely that there is another pawn shop called “Townsville Pawn” in Townsville, Statename…there may be another “Best Jewelry and Pawn” you’ve never even heard of ten or twelve states away. And while nobody in your city is likely to confuse your store with theirs, Facebook only allows one registration of each unique username.
Which means that if you are the proprietor of “Freedom Gun and Loan” in Citytown, Florida, but there’s another “Freedom Gun and Loan” in Towncity, Arkansas? And those guys beat you to “FreedomGunAndLoan” for a username? You’ll have to choose an alternative. In that case, you may want to consider opting for something like “FreedomGunAndLoanFL,” or “FreedomGunAndLoanCitytown” in order to preserve your branding.
6.) Long Walks, Candlelight Dinners. Okay. Now that all the techy nuts and bolts are out of the way, you can start filling in the optional stuff.
Every Facebook business page has an “About” section that allows you to fill in as much, or as little information as you like about your business. This is up to you. However, it is recommended to offer more information rather than less.
“Engagement” is a loose marketing term that refers to how much time customers want to spend learning about, and interacting with your company. Ergo, if there’s more to learn, then there’s more for customers to do. And if you offer a healthy amount of information, that’s the best way to begin a business relationship. Whatever info you want to tell people about your enterprise (like your brand story, date of establishment, operation hours, or your merchandise specialty), there’s someone who wants to hear it. Not everyone will, but the customers who do will appreciate having the option. Remember: the idea is to get Facebook users to engage with, like, follow, and visit your page often. The more they interact with you, the better the chance they’ll turn from surfers into customers.
Like many other things, this section of your page is pretty self-guided and intuitive. Enter as much or as little as you like. Just…don’t leave it blank. Customers like to see investment and effort. If you can’t be bothered to engage with your business, then they may not be inclined to, either.
7.) Reach out. If you’ve completed the above steps, your page is online, and ready to roll.
Well, now start engaging your customers.
Let’s not put the cart in front of the horse just yet. The important thing is — hooray! Your business now has a presence within the largest community of potential customers in the world. The possibilities are endless. Global even. The world’s your oyster, and folks are in the market for pearls.
Ready to integrate Facebook with Bravo so that you can start posting items for sale on your page? Call us at 888-407-6287 and we’ll help you get set up.