June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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82 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Besides just understanding the termi- nology, we also want to be sure to use the right words for our businesses. It has to do with understanding how to behave in each place, and where to go to achieve your online goals. Using your Facebook Page or Facebook Profile is going to depend on what you are doing. When you commu- nicate with your customers, it's important you are directing them to the right plac- es. Incorrectly using Facebook terms will make you seem out-of-date. For example, fans are another way of saying people like your page. Also, someone is going to like your business page, not be its friend. THE RIGHT WAY TO GET STARTED Before anything else begins, you need to have a personal Facebook Profile. This is you, a real person. Facebook Profiles are not supposed to be business names or aliases; they discourage this type of be- havior. When setting up your personal account, remember that you don't have to become friends with anyone on Facebook. There is nothing forcing you to share your life events. You can also edit your Privacy Settings to keep all of your personal in- formation private to certain individuals. How you choose to use Facebook is going to be significantly dif- ferent for everyone. Once you have a Facebook Profile, you now need to review your personal brand. You have every right to have controversial political beliefs or en- gage in vulgar conversation. If your per- sonal brand is controversial, do you want this associated with your business? If your business is selling apparel for the NRA, then it may be perfectly acceptable for your personal brand to include controver- sial posts about gun rights. If you are bid- ding for work from local public schools, it might not be a good idea. It all depends on whether or not you believe, or care, that these opinions will alter people's decision to do business with you because of your social or political opinions. If you do have a controversial personal brand, then it is a good idea to make your Facebook Profile as private as you can. This will prevent people who aren't your friends from seeing your posts. This is a safe route for a business owner. It doesn't allow people to access your personal in- formation, location, opinions, or details about your daily life. Just take time to con- sider the above and make a choice. GETTING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE Once your Profile is set up, you can create a Facebook Page for your business. This has fantastic benefits. You have the opportunity to include your location, contact informa- tion, mission statement, and what your business has to offer to the public. Your business can now be found online with a message that you control. Be sure to take at least one hour of time to create this page. The page can include a wealth of informa- tion for your customers, including things like hours of operation and parking details. Be as detailed as possible on this page, and then have the informa- tion reviewed by trusted associates to edit for grammar, word usage, and the general feel of your page. Another great benefit of having a Facebook Page is using it as your company website. Starting and maintaining a website is an- other task that requires time, money, and long-term dedication. It might be better for your business to just start with a Facebook Page as a means to get your information found online. I would recommend a good Facebook Page over a poor-quality website any day. TIME TO START POSTING As mentioned above, having an inactive Facebook Page is worse than not hav- ing one at all. A desolate Facebook Page is equivalent to having a storefront that is never open or a phone number that is never answered. It discredits your business and offers the opportunity for your com- petition to take advantage of your absence. So how often should you engage? Let's talk about posts, comments, and private messages. Posts: Pick a number and stick to it. Regularity is your friend when it comes to building trust and a brand online. I would recommend at least two posts a week as a bare minimum. Posts can include pictures, videos, links, questions, news, events, and so much more. You can post as often as you like, as long as you are delivering rel- evant and interesting content. In other words, don't post the same repetitive or ir- relevant content 10 times a day. However, if you are creating 10 new T-shirt designs every day, feel free to post a picture of each new design. Comments: When someone chooses to comment or post to your Facebook Page, this is your time to shine. You have the op- portunity to react swiftly with a response that will portray the message you want your brand to represent. A basic rule is to respond within one day of someone inter- acting with your page. It doesn't matter what was written on your page. If someone thanks you for doing a great job, acknowl- edge them. If someone gives you negative feedback, address their concerns and show that you do care about your customers. Private Messages: These are some of the most important interactions you will have with customers online. It's the equivalent of someone walking into your store or calling you on the phone. They have requested a direct interaction with you and you should respect that. Respond to these as quickly as possible, just as you would if someone called your business. This doesn't mean you have to monitor Facebook messages 24/7, but you should respond promptly within the confines of your operating hours. FACEBOOK MARKETING

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