Social Media: Facebook


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Conor Lynch offers advice into how to get started on Facebook.

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Social Media: Facebook

  1. 1. THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST n26 SEPTEMBER 11 2011OUT ON YOUR OWN Social media for start-ups In the first of a new ten-part special, social media expert Conor Lynch offers advice and insights into how online tools can help new companies establish their brand and win business. This week’s topic is getting started on Facebook More than simply Facebook value Facebook is a social phenomenon without precedent. An incredible 750 million people around the world use the site regularly, creating a world of opportunities for small businesses to meet and engage with potential customers. To get your business started on Facebook, you need to set up a personal page and create a business page. It can be easy to confuse a personal page CONOR with a business page. To differentiate between the LYNCH two, bear in mind that a personal page will have a into the demographics of ‘+1 Add Friend’ box at their fan base. MonitoringJoanne Hession, founder and managing director, and Siobhan Finn, director of enterprise learning and development, QED Training ´ MAURA HICKEY the top, while a business these insights can play a page will have a ‘Like’ crucial part in helping to box at the top. ensure you are talking to To create a page, log on the right audience.Top ten tips to make to http:www.facebook. com/pages/create.php. You will automatically become the administrator of the page, but you will also have the option of making other users 3. Places: the exponential growth of smartphone technology is driving demand for location based marketing strategies. Put simply, this means that customersyour firm a success administrators once they arriving at your premises have become fans of the can ‘check-in’ online, page. letting their friends know When you, as the exactly where they are. administrator, write on Using Facebook Places, the wall of your page, you can register your your post will appear as business for the service though it is the business and, every time a itself ‘speaking’. customer checks-in Comments from non- online, you get free and market the venture duct or service, rather than the Aside from the traditional figure and take their eyes off administrators will immediate exposure.Before setting up your own & identify the staff or skills you will need to run your busi- ness. features. Rather than telling the customer what you can do, lending agencies and family- founder-friends, there are a the ball when it comes to ex- penses and monitoring net appear with their personal profiles. 4. Apps: businesses can install Facebook you should be answering the number of other places to go profit. Applications to improveenterprise, consider your You can carry out a lot of useful market research online, customer’s question, ‘‘What’s in it for me?’’ for finance such as: & the Enterprise Boards 9. Think big Branding the functionality of their Business Page. These apps using tools such as LinkedIn. Here are some tips: ( Branding your business can include anything fromaims carefully and create a Although it can be tempting to go for the cheapest research & low-budget and imagina- tive marketing options such as support local businesses with less than ten employees. A common trap is a business model that creates either a hob- page is important and you should treat it as you a welcome page to a Facebook store,solid plan, writes Joanne option ^ that is, using friends and family as guinea pigs ^ don’t do it. They will be biased competitions, gifts, and online sources are limitless & advertising pays, and & E nt e r p r i s e I r e l a n d ( provides financial and non-fi- by business or just one job. Ty- pically, in the hobby business, the owner is working more would your official website. You can register your Facebook address to embedded videos, blog and Twitter feeds, data capture services andHession in their responses and may not even fall into your target mar- smart advertising pays better than bad advertising nancial supports to companies with the potential to reach ten hours for a lot less money than they would get on the open include your business name – for example promotional applications. Here are details on some ket. & there is such a thing as or more employees in the near market. In the second instance, useful apps for businesses. bad publicity, sobe careful with future. a job is created which simply This – allowsS tarting and practice, or build on an existing PR gimmicks. & First Step (www.first-ste- pays the ow ner the s a me running a new idea. A large proportion of en- 4. Plan for provides loans to people money that they would get on facility is available to all businesses once they you to redesign Facebook pages. It is free to create, business can be a baptism trepreneurs don’t come up with original ideas. Instead, they see success 6. Financing who want to create their own enterprise and who cannot ac- the open market, but which comes with added stress and register a vanity URL at but does have a Pagemodo footer on the page, which o f f i r e fo r first-time en- an opportunity to alter, im- prove or expand on an existing It is easy to start a business. It costs just e20 to register a your venture cess funding, or sufficient funding, from other sources. risk and no real freedom. Businesses need money to username. Choose a distinctive can be removed at a yearly cost of$20.trepreneurs. No one can know idea. business name electronically You may never get a better survive and also to take advan- picture for your profile – offers aeverything they need to know, Business ideas can be found on The difficulty analysis of or feedback about tage of new opportunities thatbut there is a fine line between all around us ^ through travel, comes with making the busi- your business and business 7. Get training present themselves. They also and upload further visuals into an album, comprehensive range of free and professional tabslearning from your mistakes by watching trends or simply ness a success. plan than when you approach Consider attending a Start need money to buy you free featuring along the top of for Facebook businessand damaging your business. keeping your eyes and ears Drawing up a good business a bank, investor or government Your Own Business Course. time for work ‘on’ rather than the page, to demonstrate pages, including The aim of this ten-step plan open to the problems people plan will force you to consider agency about finance. If you This will address all of the ‘in’ your business ^ a key com- and showcase your YouTube, Twitter andis to help you build a simple need solved. From a business all aspects of your idea ^ from areas of setting up a new busi- ponent of success. products and services. Flickr, plus ‘on page’strategy for success. Use these point of view, many will be your cashflow to your manage- ness, as well as give you the op- If you don’t plan for the busi- services, such as RSSguidelines as a framework to willing to shell out for a solu- ment team ^ especially the portunity to meet with other ness to make money, you’ll feeds, sign-ups, coupons,help guide your business in the tion that works. Just because areas you’re not naturally in- Remember, budding entrepreneurs to share never be able to buy the re- Newsfeed gifts, promotion galleriesearly days, and create a solid you have an idea, however, terested in or good at. ideas and contacts. sources that your business This is a personalised and store for long-ter m does not necessarily mean you A business plan must be always These courses not only pro- needs to grow and to buy your- news stream featuring offersgrowth. will have a successful business. wr itten down, forecasting vide you with all of the practi- self the room to make choices. news from the Facebook a bundle of applications, So the next step is to research where your business will be in market the cal information you need, but friends, groups and such as competitions, your idea. the next three years and how it often challenge your ideas and1. Are you is going to get there. benefits of a force you to think about creat- 10. Exit strategy businesses you have opted to ‘like’. Your aim, as the sign-up, shop and many more.suited to 3. Researching The plan will be crucial to supporting your business, par- product or ing the best business model that you can. Contact your lo- It might seem like an odd consideration in the initial administrator of your business page, should be allows you to maintainbusiness? your idea ticularly when it comes to ac- cessing finance. Before you service, cal Enterprise Board for more information or email hello@- stages, but you should think about the ‘end game’. Ask to feature as prominently as possible in the regular contact with customers and clients Ask yourself if you are sui- You must be able to satisfy even get to that stage, however, and we will yourself the following: newsfeeds of your target using targeted emailted to being in business for yourself (and also potential in- read through your plan your- rather than point you in the right direction. & do you want to build an audience. newsletters, invites toyourself. Although it might vestors) that aviable market ex- self. Doing so will help you to asset that you can eventually Find ways to actively offline events and onlinesound glamorous to be the ists for your idea; that you assess the viability of your busi- the features 8. Manage your sell off for a tidy sum? engage your fans – be it by surveys.boss, setting up in business know who your customers will ness idea in reality. & do you want to start a using special offers and(especially in the first few be and you have an awareness Be prepared to re-visit your it has cashflow business that increases in value discounts or entertaining Strategyyears) is hard work, requiring of your competitors ^ who they plan regularly to compare the and runs independently of you, them and making thema lot of guts and often bor- are, what they do and how they reality of how your business is ‘‘Cashflow is more impor- or one that you can franchise in laugh. Ideally, you want to We recommendrowed money. do it. While researching your developing with your original tant than your mother.’’ So goes Ireland and abroad? ensure they share your integrating all of your People get the entrepreneur- market, always remember that plan. Amend your plans as ne- the old business adage, and this & do you want to create a content with their friends. digital media channels.ial bug in lots of ways. But how- your product or service needs cessary while your business is especially true for start-ups. job for yourself that, after re- You can use websitesever you catch it, you must be to fill a need and be different gets off the ground. Before you start, list all the tirement, gives you a healthy and blogs to drive trafficsure you are suited to self-em- from, or better than, anything costs involved and always allow pension to sustain the life you Toolkit to a Facebook businessployment and the possibility of already out there. Being suc- a contingency for unforeseen are used to?becoming an employer. Be cessful in business is not about 5. Reaching costs. Small and growing busi- All of these issues are well Facebook has an array of tools available to help page by installing a Facebook Connect ‘Likeclear about your goals. Writedown the personal and busi- jumping on the bandwagon. Invest time changing and customers need money, you must con- nesses eat money, so keeping a close eye on your expenses on worth thinking about to help ensure you make the right deci- businesses build their fanbase on the site. These Box’. This will automatically updateness goals that, by going into amending your business idea The best product or service vince the lender that you can an ongoing basis and ensuring sions, follow the correct path include the following. your Facebook profilebusiness for yourself, you will so it becomes different, better in the world is worthless with- pay it back. that debtors pay you on time and lay the foundations for a 1. Ads: Facebook Ads and appear in friends’be able to achieve. or more desirable to your tar- out a market to sell it to. You First, think about what the are vitally important. achievable exit. allows you to use newsfeeds. get market ^ ideally, all three. need to know as much as possi- money will be used for: capital Monitor expenses regularly, demographic information Quality market research will ble about your target market investment, working capital or looking at them as a percen- Joanne Hession is mana- Conor Lynch is a social2. Come up with help you to: from the start. operating costs. There are tage of your total sales, and ging director of Quality Edu- – such as age, region and personal interests – to media strategist andan idea & position your product or service effectively Y must be able to tell your ou market about your product as many financial products avail- able for each purpose including compare this to what is in your business plan. This keeps your cation Development (QED) Training, a provider of busi- target a specific audience. 2. Insights: these give founder of, which advises businesses New businesses typically & determine where your often and as loudly as you can commercial mortgages, term eye on the business’s financial ness training services to start- business page nationwide. Seework in one of two ways. They business should be located afford to. Remember, always loans, overdrafts and business health. Many people focus too ups. For more information, see administrators insights www.socialmedia.ieeither put an original idea into & work out how you should market the benefits of a pro- credit cards. much merely on the turnover