Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do You Need a Facebook Page for Your Booth??

Should you have a Facebook Page for Your Booth?  The short answer - It depends.

If your mall has a good Facebook page AND you don't plan on expanding your business, then you can skip doing a separate page for your booth.

Truthfully, a page devoted to a booth is seldom all that successful without a lot of hard work.  Most mall customers would prefer to visit one Facebook page showing items in ALL the booths instead of following pages for different booths.

If your mall has no Facebook page, then OMG - you MUST have a page!  Network with other booth dealers to promote each other's pages.  SHARE, COMMENT and LIKE on a regular basis and help each other build a following.  If you are good enough on Facebook and enjoy doing it, offer to do one for the store in exchange for rent or some other compensation. Be prepared.  A lot more work goes into a good mall page than you might anticipate.

A vintage mall without a good Facebook page is missing out on a golden opportunity.  In fact, I'd go so far to say that I would be very reluctant to have a booth at a store without a decent Facebook page.  I'm sure there are exceptions out there where business is so crazy good that a Facebook page isn't needed.  I just haven't seen such a place for myself.  :-D

If your store has a Facebook page that doesn't promote things in everyone's booths often enough, then having your own page could be helpful.  I have seen many business Facebook pages that fill up with cute quotes and personal tidbits about the owner, but neglect to show what's in the store.  That's pretty much the equivalent of no page at all.

I have a hard time explaining this to someone not familiar with Facebook pages.  A Facebook fan page is not the same as your personal Facebook page. Your personal page usually cannot be seen by anyone but your friends.  Customers usually don't want to be your Facebook friend.  They just want to see your stuff.  Showing things from your booth on your personal page is NOT the same as having a Facebook PAGE.  You can create extra pages within your Facebook account that can be open to anyone.   The settings on a PAGE will be open so that anyone can LIKE your page - they don't have to be your Facebook friend.  They don't have to find out anything about YOU, unless you post it on the page.  You can find out more about pages by Googling "Facebook create a page".  There are lots of good tutorials out there and they can explain it all much better.

 I have several extra pages for different things I do - Vintage Show Off is my page that goes with this blog.   I have a page where I post all sorts of home related things - First a Dream.   I have pages for the stores I promote - Rockin B and The BoneYard.  I spend so much time on those now that I seem to have less and less time for the other pages.  I'm continually working to find a balance.

I don't recommend spreading yourself thin with lots of pages.

If you create a page, it's a good idea to make the focus a bit broader than just your one booth.  You may end up with booths in more than one place.  You may sell from fairs or shows.  You may sell from Etsy one day.  You may have a yard sale you want to advertise.  It would be good to build a fan base on one page to reach all the people who may be interested in the different things you do.

In order to get people to want to visit your page, you'll need to post info that they consider worth their time.  In addition to showing new things from your booth, you may post a few how-to's, inspiration photos and information that readers will find useful.

Posts without photos are a waste of time.  Seriously.

It's a good idea to match the name of your page with the name of your booth, your Etsy store, and any other selling ventures you pursue.  One name for all.  One name to promote.

Have you named your booth?  If not, come up with a name.  Choose wisely.  On Facebook, you are allowed to change your page name just once, but it would be best to pick a good name and stick with it.

 The page should reflect your business ---your booth.   The trick to choosing a name is to come up with something short and catchy, that isn't already taken on Facebook.  One site that I found extremely helpful in checking names is NameChk.  You type in a username at the top and click CHK, then results will come in showing what sites are available with that name and what sites are taken.  You don't have to have every site on the list available, but there are some that would be helpful.  Of course you have to find one that has Facebook available.  Will you ever want to sell on Etsy to supplement your booth income?  If so, make sure the name is available there, too.  If you'd like a blog to go along with your business, make sure Blogger or Wordpress has the name available.  You may also want Pinterest and Flickr and Twitter.  Ideally, all your sites and your booth will end up with the same name.  You are creating a name for yourself.

Make the name easy to spell, easy to remember, and not too long.  Funny spellings of common words are not as easy to remember as some think.

Interesting - I know of very few people who don't become bored with their name after a while.  If you get bored, try to get over it.  Remarketing a new name is a hassle and annoying to those who are your fans.  Change your page cover if you get bored.  :-D

Resources for choosing a good name -
* Note - these articles are geared towards choosing a domain  or blog name, but most of the tips apply for your booth and Facebook name as well.
5 Blog Naming Basics
Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets
Brainstorming a Name for your Blog

If you have the perfect name but it's taken, you might try adding a little something to your perfect name.
What if My Domain Name is Taken?