by Patrick Ilagan . July 2nd, 2013
We’ve seen a lot of freelance designers use different social media platforms to promote their work. With a plethora of social media sites to choose from, it can be a heck of a ride to pick one.
Just because many people use a particular social networking site doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you. Misusing a social media site can be a pain and highly time-consuming.
Social media is a great tool but knowing which platform to use and how to use it right matters.
“Be Social” will be a mini-series discussing social media sites and how each can help supercharge your business.
This week, we‘ll talk about the current top dog of social sites—Facebook.
It’s safe to assume that almost everyone we know is on Facebook. With more than a billion users, it is no surprise that using Facebook gives you an edge in networking.
Many of us use Facebook for personal use -to connect with family and friends. Using it as a promotion tool can be hard to swallow, especially for those who don’t use Facebook often.
Using Facebook as a promotional tool can be a chore for some, and others see it as nothing more than procrastination. Of course, these issues are pretty much moot with discipline and proper time management.
The real question here is: How powerful is Facebook?
Since this is a design blog, we asked our creative pixies to churn out a cool infographic to illustrate the reach and depth of Facebook further.
• Facebook’s Monthly Active Users went up to 23% from 901 million in March 2012
• The Daily Active Users went up to 26% from the 526 million on average in March 2013
• Local Businesses shot up to a whopping 100% from 8 million in June of 2012
• Facebook earned $1.25 billion during the first quarter of this year (2013) — 43% more than the $872 million in the first quarter of 2012
Valuable Features of Facebook for Business
Now that you guys have seen the stats, let’s talk about current Facebook features that could be useful for design businesses and freelancers:
1. Graph Search – Facebook’s upcoming feature integrates social context in searching by adding several variables that sift and organize profiles of people, pages, and services. This makes it easy to find people who like certain brands or interests. If interested, you could check out this article by Lifehacker on clever uses for Facebook Graph Search.
2. Groups – Similar to the old Yahoo! groups wherein people with the same interests can create a community, users could post statuses, group messages, and event announcements on Facebook. This is great for designers since there are many Facebook groups for them to join and make new connections. Moreover, it allows you to create a community wherein you can promote your business to a more targeted audience or gain more followers.
3. Pages – Pages are like profile pages but with more features. In pages, you can monitor and analyze data about the engagement of your audience using Page Insights. More businesses have been using Facebook pages to represent their company and identify their market and share important or entertaining information. This is a valuable feature for freelancers since you can separate your personal and public accounts. Besides, freelancers can share their work, essential updates, works in progress, or blog post updates.
4. Instagram – With its recent acquisition of Instagram, Facebook has finally created a top-notch photo and video-sharing experience.
5. Hashtags – This is also a new feature on Facebook, and much like Twitter, Instagram and Google+, the hashtag system helps your posts be easily searchable. Just ensure your hashtags are simple and stay at the minimum because no one likes a post filled with sentence hashtags. On top of that, people will think that you are being spammy. If you are still not convinced about using hashtags, why not check out Forbes’s post on why you should seriously consider using hashtags?
PROs and CONs of Facebook for Business
Facebook is not perfect, but it is a great tool to add to your marketing and promotion toolbox. Let’s talk about some pros and cons of using Facebook to market your design business.
1. Almost everyone is on Facebook.
2. Because of its huge number of users, using Facebook advertising is an edge.
3. Likes, Comments, and Share systems are great engagement tools.
4. Facebook has intuitive Landing Pages.
5. Effortless maintenance since posting photos, statuses, and links only takes a few seconds.
6. Posts are more optimized because of Hashtags
1. Facebook is a bit inconsistent due to updates every now and then.
2. Budget constraints, especially for Facebook ads.
3. Page monitoring and engagement can take time and effort.
4. People will sometimes perceive your content as spam.
Facebook has the bells and whistles of a marketing and promotional tool. It’s free and easy to maintain unless you opt to purchase the ad service, but that’s a different story we will cover sometime soon.
Facebook’s page insights are one of the best tools in Facebook’s arsenal since it tracks followers and their interactions. The one thing that you should remember about using Facebook is that for it to be effective is that it would need your time to maintain it.
In addition, posted content must be exciting and informative. The time and frequency of posting matter too.
With that in mind, freelance designers who are all too busy might have to consider other social media platforms that are far easier to maintain.
What do you guys think? We’d like to hear what you guys have to say.
Share your thoughts, insights, and feedback in the comments below.
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