Summer 2010
Find Fans Through Facebook By Cynthia Sutton Stolle

Social media is big and Facebook is one of the many tools you can use to drive traffic to your store. Here’s how.

When I first heard about Facebook, my daughter was heading to college and used it to keep in contact with old high school friends. I used to think that was Facebook’s primary function but today it is an important tool in any gift retailer’s social marketing arsenal.

Here are a few of the basics to help you get started:

If you have a personal Facebook account already, make sure to set up your business’s Facebook Fan page as a separate account. Otherwise your responses will show up as coming from your personal account—you probably don’t want that.

Set up your business’s Facebook page by going to Facebook’s home page and selecting “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business,” link below the “Sign Up” button. You will be walked through the basics.

When setting up your Facebook page, be sure to include a picture of your store in your profile.

Go to the Info tab at the top of the page and add in store hours, websites, blogs and Twitter addresses if applicable.

Write a brief bio about the store, focusing on what you carry and the unique services you offer. This is a place to be personable and friendly—make folks want to come see you.

What To Post on Facebook

Now that you have set up your page, how do you maintain it so it works to drive traffic to your store?

Try and post an update often—about once a day. Each time you post on Facebook, your fans receive these updates and learn the latest news about your store. Facebook is very user-friendly and you can easily figure out what to do by following the prompts. If you don’t like the way something looks, just delete and start over.

What should you post an update about? Updates about new products in store or tradeshows you are attending, are some examples. Ideas for entertaining, showcasing products you sell, would also work. Try to engage the community in your posts.

Facebook has a Photos tab where you can upload photos of events, Halloween items, Christmas gifts etc. Create special photo albums for occasions and events so your customers can see what fun the store is.

Are you planning an in-store event? You can let your Facebook fans know! Go to the Events section and create one. It will show up on the bottom left of the business’s wall.

A note of caution: Do not use this fan page to post any political or social views unless you are willing and ready to lose customers. You wouldn’t do it in your store, don’t do it here. Also, too many updates—especially irrelevant ones—might annoy fans. Finally, don’t use Facebook to resolve or bring up disputes with customers. Settle those offline.

Using Facebook is an easy and effective way to communicate with customers and potential ones. Isn’t it time for you to get started and use this important social marketing tool to increase profits in your store?

Cynthia Sutton Stolle

Retailer Cynthia Sutton-Stolle of Silver Barn, in Columbus, TX, has over 25 years' experience in retail. The store's website is silverbarnantiques.com. Sutton-Stolle is an active user of social media as well. Her loyal customer base follows her on Twitter, Facebook and on her blog.




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