1196px-Not_facebook_not_like_thumbs_downIt seems that Facebook is cursed as a social network in the business world. People just don’t take it seriously when it comes to promoting “proper” companies. Many view it as a place to post pictures of birthday parties, the latest charity fad or cats.

However, some businesses are doing well on Facebook and are engaging with their customers on a regular basis. What are they doing right that so many people are getting wrong?

It’s not a one-way channel

One of the biggest problems with Facebook pages is the one-way method many companies use to promote their products or services. It’s entirely possible and, indeed, recommended to post your blog automatically to Facebook when it’s published. It’s easy to do and a natural step to get a few more views to it.

However, if that’s all you do, where’s the value to the person viewing the page? When I speak to companies that have tried and failed to gain any traction on Facebook, they nearly all fall into this category. They post an article to their blog or their news pages and out it goes to whoever is reading the page. The trouble is, not many people are.

Facebook has updated its algorithm so that people only see the updates on pages that are relevant to them. For example, if you have 500 followers on your page and you post an update, not all of them will see it. In fact, you could find that it will only turn up in a handful of people’s newsfeeds.

This is probably because those people who don’t see it haven’t regularly engaged with you. If they don’t usually visit your page and interact with it, the algorithm will decide it’s not worth updating them when a new post appears.

Facebook is not a one-way channel, it’s a place where people hang out and chat. If you were to turn up to a pub and simply spout out information about your latest product constantly and without listening to others, you’d quickly be ignored.

Engage and provide value

The way to leverage Facebook is to provide value, and you can do this by taking part. As the owner of a “page”, you can assume its identity and post on its behalf. So, for example, if you are the owner of “ACME Widgets and Sprockets”, you can become it, look around Facebook and find where people are discussing products like yours.

You can then engage with people as your page. This means that people will see that the comments have come from “ACME Widgets and Sprockets” and they may, just may, click on your link to see your page. Suddenly it’s become two-way.

If you can also answer people’s queries in this way, you become valuable to them. Helping people is a great way to show that you’re better than all the others out there, and it’s a fantastic tactic for building trust.

So, instead of writing off Facebook as a place to find customers, you could always consider spending more time on there, engaging with people and building up your brand.