Let’s consider the facts about Facebook, the world’s leading social network (as reported in their  quarterly statement ):

  • 1.15 billion monthly users
  • 699 million daily users
  • 819 million mobile users
  • 4.5 billion monthly “ likes” and 1.13 trillion “likes” since launch

We all know by now (or should!) that Facebook represents a gigantic potential market for your business’ social media efforts. However, as those numbers dictate, the number of Facebook users – and your (potential) customers – is growing every second. This number also includes business pages looking to take advantage of this social market as well.

How are you supposed to stand out from the crowd?

Facebook may seem like a casual initiative for your business – after all, up to this point it’s just been a tool for your inner circle to share baby pictures.

But don’t underestimate the value of this marketing tool – like all aspects of your marketing plan, your engagement and utilization of Facebook should consistently be reviewed.

So let’s do that now.

Creating a page should be considered the first step, but once launched, regularly posting and engaging should become a priority. However, similar to your business blog, Facebook shouldn’t be used simply as a promotional tool.

It is important to engage your customers and fan base rather than sending them to your “Products” page daily. Consider these suggestions on how best to manage your Facebook page:

To engage is to ask – include questions to initiate conversation.

Keep it simple – posting a Facebook status in one thing, but the ultimate goal should be to  coax engagement from your audience . You want your page to be the forum in which your followers hold conversations.

Coffee shop: “What’s the perfect pastry to pair with your coffee?”

Any post can (and should) end with a question to kick-start conversation. To turn a standard post into an engaging one, follow it up with a question to encourage discussion.

Pet boarding: “Our holiday schedule is quickly filling up – call us today to schedule your pet’s stay! What are YOUR exciting holiday plans?”

I want you to “like” me – create contests/giveaways for users that “like” or “share” a status.

Facebook business pages,  according to Facebook’s official guidelines , are acceptable tools to communicate and administer a promotion, contest or sweepstakes. While the stakes don’t have to be incredibly high, even a modest promotion can generate both comments and “likes” on your business page.

Pizza parlor: “What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year? Tell us your costume for a chance to win a free appetizer!”

Always keep the entry process simple – this way, users  don’t have to work too hard  to participate – they just click “like” and they’re entered! Think about holding a contest for “likes” rather than requiring responses.