Using the first two blog posts in our B-to-B Facebook series, you should have alreadylaunched your Facebook business page and begun posting interesting status updates. Now, you need to begin building an audience for your business page – and the information that you share there.

Building an Audience on Facebook
One of the key benefits of a Facebook business page is the ability to display your status updates in the Facebook Newsfeed; however, people must “like” your page before they can see your updates.

To create an audience who will see – and hopefully share – the information your company posts on Facebook, you will need to find other Facebook users and invite them to “like” your page. The easiest way to begin building a Facebook fan base is inviting your company’s customers and employees – and your personal family and friends – to “like” your page.

  • To invite your customers and employees to like your page, go to your Admin Panel, then select Build Audience and Invite Email Contacts. You can use this option to upload your company’s email contacts, and then send an email message asking them to “like” your Page.
  • To invite your friends and family to “like” your page, switch from your business page to your personal profile, then return to your business page. Go to your Admin Panel and you’ll see a new option under Build Audience called Invite Friends that you can use to ask everyone you know to like your page.
  • To build a fan base more rapidly, you can also choose the Create An Ad option to promote your page to other Facebook users. A best practice for Facebook ads is to offer a free thought leadership asset, such as a free ebook or white paper.

B-to-B Faceboook 101

For your Facebook page to grow, you will also need to promote your page outside of Facebook. So, be sure to add a link to your Facebook business page on your website and all of your printed and online marketing communications, including your business cards.

Consolidating Community Pages
In addition to inviting your Facebook contacts – and your company’s employees and customers – Facebook Community Pages can be another way to build your audience. Most Community Pages originated when a Facebook user added the name of their employer to their personal profile. If the employer had not joined Facebook yet, Facebook would ask the user if they wanted to “create” a page for the company. If the person said yes, a Community Page was created.

By merging these Community Pages with your new business page, you’ll delete an unprofessional, Wikipedia-based page about your company – and can transfer any “likes” from that page to your new business page.

To determine if any Community Pages exist for your brand, simply search for your company name on Facebook. If other users have created Community Pages, you’ll see them listed in the search results.

B-to-B Facebook 101

You can “merge” (i.e., delete) these Community Pages about your company by:

1. Visiting the Community Page.
2. Clicking the Report Page option to ask Facebook to merge it with your official business page.

B-to-B Facebook 101

In the dialog box that displays, click Duplicate or miscategorized Page, then select Duplicate of another Page and type your business page’s URL in the “Which Page is this a duplicate of?” text box.

B-to-B Facebook 101

It will take a few weeks for Facebook to process the request, but if the name of your new business page matches exactly, they will merge the pages and transfer the Community Page fans to your business page. Some Community Pages have thousands of fans that can be added to your business page’s fan total when you merge the pages.

Now that you’ve begun to build an audience, you’ll need to engage other users to receive the maximum marketing benefit from Facebook. We will talk more about this in next week’s blog post on interacting with other users.