In a world where social networking and marketing are growing at an amazing rate, I often get asked if we, as design professionals should be using the various online social mediums in our business. There are many opinions out there as to which social mediums to use but the bottom line answer to using online social media is a resounding YES! Since this seems to be a very hot topic right now, I’ve decided to devote the next few blog articles to taking a look at the more common social networking and marketing tools out there and provide some real time information on why and how to use them as well as how to incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy for your design business.
This week, we’ll focus on Facebook. Let’s start with the latest statistics. According to insidefacebook.com, as of February 2009:
- Facebook reported nearly 45.3 million active US users as of February 2009.
- Facebook is growing in every age/gender demographic. Fastest growing segment: Women over 55.
- Facebook is growing faster with women than men in almost every age group. Women comprise 56.2% of Facebook’s audience, up from 54.3% late last year.
- 45% of Facebook’s US audience is now 26 years old or older.
Now think about who typically purchases design services. With these statistics, we’d be foolish to ignore Facebook as a means of connecting with both current and prospective clients, not to mention networking opportunities with other businesses that compliment ours. Our business is based on relationship building, word of mouth has historically been our best source for clients and Facebook provides just that, an online means for promoting our services “word of mouth”. Not only can we create relationships, we can do it faster than ever through Facebook. And best of all, Facebook doesn’t cost any more than a little bit of your time each day; there is no financial investment required.
Promoting your business on Facebook begins with setting up a strong profile. It allows you to showcase what you can do, who you can help, what you have to offer. The next step is networking by reaching out to people in your industry on Facebook and start making connections. It's a great way to see what other businesses are out there in which you share similar interests and target market and see where you might be able to leverage that to help both your businesses. Set up your Facebook page with the intent on keeping it business focused. That doesn’t mean you cannot share anything personal but when communicating on Facebook, never say anything that you wouldn’t say to your clients in a face-to-face conversation. Invite your clients to join you on Facebook and use your posts to communicate design tips, great finds, inspirational thoughts, as well as aspects of your personal life that are funny, interesting, basically anything that would help them get to know you better. You can also post photos of your work or pictures of designs that really inspire you. To really start building relationships, post comments in response to other posts. It can be as simple as one or two words and gets your name out there to their Facebook friends.
Finally, post daily to keep you and your business in front of your Facebook network so when they or their friends need design services, you'll be top of mind : )