How to use FaceBook to sell more.

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Millions of people go to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs every day to interact with others who share their interests. When they see something they like (or dislike!), they share it instantly with their friends, who share it with more friends, making it a very fast way to communicate. Stories abound of how messages have been propagated out to hundreds of thousands of people in just hours. Tapping into this powerful media to communicate with your customers and attract new buyers isn't difficult or costly—but it does require some knowledge and planning. Social media is mostly free—no monthly fees, no subscriptions. Just set up an account for your business and start posting and responding to your customers' posts. Here are some tips for putting the power of social media to work for your business. General tips and best practices
•Evaluate the available tools before you start. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube have different attributes and audiences. In a nutshell, Facebook is for staying in touch, Twitter is for "breaking news," blogs are for telling the story, and YouTube is for videos. Explore each one carefully before deciding where to start. Find out where your customers are—look for groups within these channels that might be interested in your listings, like camera buffs or fashion mavens.
•Genuinely contribute to the conversation. Consider your target audience and how you can build your relationship with them. Budget time for keeping your presence fresh. You need to create original posts at least several times a week, and respond quickly to comments from your online friends and followers.
•Create a separate account for your business. Facebook rules require you to create a separate fan page for your business. Post about your eBay listings on your fan page, instead of on your personal Facebook page. Plus you'll look more professional!
•Start small. Start with one channel and build up your presence. Social media can be a valuable tool to enable online commerce, but it's important to focus your efforts on those activities that are most likely to provide a good return on your time investment.
•Listen and engage. Take the time to listen to what your social media fans and followers are saying about you on social channels. Responding promptly and engagingly to your customers helps you take advantage of the power of social media to cultivate loyal customers.
•Cross-promote your social media channels. Use your social media channels judiciously to cross-promote your content. For example, post your YouTube videos on your blog. Post a Facebook update when you have a new blog post, and include the link. Consider linking your business Twitter handle to your Facebook fan page so that your tweets are also auto-posted on your Facebook page—reaching both audiences at the same time. But be selective—you don't want to duplicate information on the same channel. Point your Twitter followers to your blog. You get the idea!
•Don't expect instant results! It takes a while to build a presence on any social media channel. As long as you post interesting new content on a consistent basis, visitors and customers will keep coming back for more. Tips and best practices for Facebook What is Facebook? People use Facebook to connect with friends, build relationships, and stay in touch. People "like" businesses on Facebook, but don't want to be spammed. How Facebook can help your business
•People who "fan" you on Facebook are interested in what your business has to offer.
•Engaging your Facebook fans by sending them updates about new inventory and promotional offers encourages repeat business.
•You can learn what your customers are looking for by asking them to respond to polls.
•Your customer base will grow when your Facebook fans tell their Facebook friends about your business. How to get started on Facebook
•Create a Facebook fan page (separate from your personal Facebook page) for your eBay business.
•Invite your customers and your friends on Facebook to become a fan of your Facebook page. Mention your Facebook page in your customer emails and other customer touch-points such as your blog. Encourage your customers to Like your fan page to stay in touch and get the latest updates about your eBay listings and deals. •Engage your fans with compelling content.
•Get your fans to interact with and participate in your content.
•Encourage your fans to share your content with their Facebook friends. Tips for using Facebook
•Exclusive Facebook promotions. Provide a unique coupon code for your customers on Facebook.
•News about your selling categories. Treat your Facebook page like a mini-blog. For example, if you're selling sports equipment, occasionally post interesting sports news, optionally linking to your eBay inventory.
•Polls. Use the Facebook Questions feature to ask your Facebook fans questions on what inventory they'd like to see, when they typically use eBay (so you know when to end your listings for maximum exposure) or any other questions that can help you understand your customers better. Use their responses to fine-tune your offering. •Respond to your Facebook fans promptly. Reply to questions or Wall posts with a quick, friendly comment. When your Facebook fans see you engaging with them, it goes a long way toward enhancing your online reputation. •Strategize your posting. Post updates on your page only a few times a week, but think through every post and make it count. We recommend posting no more than once or twice a day, on average. Occasionally, if you have something relevant or news-worthy to say, you might try increasing the number of times you post a day. But be careful—post too frequently and people might leave your page. What not to do
•Don't spam your fans! Be selective in sharing your listings. Share one or two a day that are representative of your offering.
•Don't be controversial. Remember, your business and personal Facebook pages are different for a reason. Your customers may not share your views on topics such as religion and politics. Stick to posting updates that have a broad appeal and wouldn't upset your customers.
•Don't appear to be unresponsive, indifferent, or rude. Your comments are visible to all your Facebook fans, and your response to your fans shapes your reputation on Facebook.

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