By Kirby Koo, SMB Growth Team, Facebook

Everyday millions of people use Facebook to connect with the people and things they care about. More than just a place for sharing pictures or keeping up with friends, Facebook is also where businesses connect with customers to start and join essential conversations. This, in turn, allows businesses to build their brand and reach new audiences.

We know that businesses across Europe are already using Facebook to reach new customers and actively drive growth. A recent study by Deloitte showed that Facebook is already helping to contribute £2.2 billion to the UK’s economy, as small businesses use the platform to promote their brand, raise awareness, advertise and generate new business.

Over 35,000 jobs around the country are even supported thanks to small businesses using Facebook in this way – whether it’s a start-up employing a social media manager to look after its Facebook activity, or a family business taking on more staff thanks to increased sales generated through the platform.

Facebook is changing marketing by building technology that is bringing us closer together and it’s clear that small businesses in particular can thrive in this connected world. We want more businesses to grow in this way, which is why we’re excited to have launched a series of initiatives to support SMEs. To get you started, here are some quick tips:

Create Conversation

You want your fans to talk about your business with their friends, so first you need to understand what they care about. Use Page Insights to track which posts spark conversations and sharing, then try to keep posting this kind of content.

Be an Attention Seeker

Your fans’ News Feeds contain information about all their friends and other businesses they like, so they don’t have time to read everything. To grab people’s attention, keep your posts short and snappy and use pictures. You can also reward fans with competitions and special offers, or even by announcing exclusive news or product launches first on Facebook.

Keep Up the Conversation

Your Page is a place for conversations between you and your fans and it’s important you keep this up to build a real relationship. Think of it as an online community and keep your fans involved, for example by using Facebook’s Questions feature to gather feedback about your business. With just one click, fans can agree with an existing answer or add a different response – ultimate engagement, minimal effort.

Reward your community

There are thousands of businesses on Facebook so you need to stand out from the crowd, you could reward your fans for liking your page by offering competitions and special offers. Think about announcing new products to fans on Facebook before anywhere else, giving fans early access to sales, or posting exclusive photos from events on your Page.

Be relevant

Your fans will be more likely to notice your business’s Page if you post about relevant issues, post about special offers and mention the issue of the day – whether that’s the FA Cup Final or the Diamond Jubilee.

Visit www.facebook.com/FacebookMarketingUK to keep up with how you can use Facebook to market your business.