Best Practices for Businesses Using Facebook Have a Facebook page but don't know what to do with it? Here are some tips from business owners who rely predominately on the social network to fuel their marketing efforts.

By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Small-business owners in the Big Apple are increasingly turning to Facebook to engage new customers and hone a dynamic brand ethos.

This was a key takeaway from a panel at the first-ever Facebook Fit event, held in New York City yesterday featuring four local business owners who said they predominately rely on the social network to fuel their marketing efforts.

From a nascent Harlem coffee shop to a historic theater company to a boutique grocery chain to a yarn retailer, here they share their most impactful strategies:

Related: Facebook Shares Social Strategies at First-Ever Small Business Boot Camp

1. Incorporate viral content that's already out there -- when it makes sense

Grocery stores may be one of the last great bastions of print media, said Fairway Market's vice president of marketing, Jackie Donovan, who has made it her mission to breathe new life into the company's social media initiatives.

But how do you make a supermarket sexy? It turned out to be a lot easier than Donovan anticipated. Sharing a sumptuous succession of food photos even resulted in the reversal of a long-held corporate policy that prohibited photography in stores. "We realized it wasn't our competitors taking photos," Dononvan said. "It was our customers who wanted to brag."

Donovan also said that incorporating existing viral content -- when it jives with your brand identity -- can yield marketing magic. One of the company's most successful Facebook posts of all time was a re-shared meme of a cat with the caption, "What if soy milk is just regular milk introducing itself in Spanish?"

Related: Want Your Brand Associated With Positivity? Snap a Pic, Ditch the Tweet.

2. Stay on top of current events

As the producer of some of the biggest shows on Broadway, like Cabaret, the Roundabout Theatre Company's digital marketer Alexandra Barber turned to Facebook in order to initiate a larger rebranding strategy last year centered around the theme, "It's About You."

Social media represented the perfect tool by which to involve the company's dedicated customers, Barber said -- who, as theater lovers, naturally sought their 15 minutes of fame. To this end, photo contests inspired by productions also garnered lots of responses.

Above all, Barber advises keeping current and staying on top of popular news events. For instance, during the last election, the Roundabout produced a play whereby consumers could vote on different ending scenarios via Facebook.

Related: Are You Trying Too Hard on Social Media? This Website Will Let You Know.

3. Encourage employees and consumers to "check in'

After opening his Astor Row Café in 2012, Manny Pena has already attracted the eye of some of Silicon Valley's most storied executives. In addition to speaking at Facebook Fit, Pena also participated in a panel hosted by Jack Dorsey last year focusing on the budding entrepreneurial community in Harlem.

One of Pena's favorite Facebook tools? The check-in feature. Not only does he require his baristas to check in in order to encourage a personalized atmosphere, but he asks his customers to do the same. In fact, it's the only way they can gain access to the shop's free Wi-Fi code.

As a relatively new business, Pena also said Facebook is vital when trying new menu items or branching out with innovative events. When the café decided to host a Flamenco and Paella night on the first Sunday of every month, Facebook promotion turned the endeavor into one of the Pena's biggest success stories, he said.

Related: The Year Ahead: 5 Social Media Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

4. Keep outright promotional content to a minimum

When siblings Tavy and Assef Ronan purchased The Yarn Company in 2011, they were tasked with putting a contemporary spin on one of the most historic yarn shops in New York City. To do so, they opted for a risky pivot: targeting an international community of consumers via Facebook rather than simply focusing on the local market.

However, Tavy said she purposely tempers the amount of promotional content that the company shares on a daily basis. Only about 20 percent of posts reference actual merchandise, she said. The rest are comprised of eye candy, friendly greetings and other shares from around the internet that consumers will likely find of interest.

And even with a textural product like yarn -- which one would assume necessitates real-life interaction in order to fully appreciate -- social media weaves a vivid tale. Generally, Tavy said, lush and colorful images on Facebook garner a far more emphatic response than displays in-store.

Related: Hallelujah! Facebook Is Disabling This Majorly Annoying Feature.

Wavy Line
Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
Lock
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
Lock
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
Lock
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

Pete Davidson Says He's 'Figuring It Out' After Buying a $280,000 Boat While 'Very Stoned'

The former "Saturday Night Live" star purchased a used Staten Island Ferry with Colin Jost in January 2022.

Business News

After Being Told They Could Work From Home Forever, Employees Made Major Life Changes. Then, a New CEO Ordered Them Back to the Office.

Farmers Group CEO Raul Vargas is facing backlash for the change, but he says being in the office brings more "collaboration" and "innovation."

Business News

Uber Eats Deliveries Are Flooding a Los Angeles Neighborhood — Except No One Knows Who Placed the Orders

Residents of L.A.'s Highland Park neighborhood are once again the target of dozens of unsolicited Uber Eats orders. The "annoying and somewhat disturbing" mystery is gripping the city.

Science & Technology

Is the Future of Work a Utopia or a Dystopia? Here's What You Should Know.

Let's discuss the trends in managing distributed teams and what the future of work may look like.

Growing a Business

6 Unconventional Growth Tactics to Generate Immediate Ecommerce Revenue

When you're short on making payroll, these tactics can help put immediate cash in your pocket.

Business News

Uber Launches 'Carshare' Service in North America Amid Expanded 'Go Green' Initiatives

The company first launched its car-sharing service in Australia last year.