This post originally appeared on Geeky & Sassy as part of social media month – thanks Virginia for inviting me to guest-post on your awesome blog!

When I first started writing this post, it was a step by step guide on using Facebook for business –

Step one – get a Facebook page

Step two – add stuff

Step three – publicise

Step four – engage, etc.

But there are so many great step-by-step guides already published online (see links at the bottom of this post) that I decided to take a different approach – here I look at how one restaurant chain uses Facebook to build its business.

Hopefully this will get some ideas bubbling away for you and your business page.

Facebook case studies, using Facebook for business, Yo Sushi on facebook

The sushi restaurant chain uses Facebook to develop customer relationships, build loyalty and research their market

Yo! Sushi – restaurant

1.  Research your market:

Yo! Sushi uses the Questions tab to ask readers for their opinions – there have been 1,428 votes in response to a question asking fans if they could only eat one type of sushi for the rest of their life, what would they choose.

The company also asked readers what tunes they’d like to listen to while enjoying their sushi, to help managers finalise their playlist for the restaurants.

What fabric would your customers like to see in a new range of Summer cushions?  What factors do they consider when buying from you?  What fruits should you feature in your new Summer drinks menu?  Ask them, and use the results to tailor your offering and your messages.

2.  Build your brand:

By branding a social network page with your logo, having a consistent personality in your posts and remaining focused on your key messages, you can use Facebook to add another dimension to your promotion.

Yo! Sushi keeps conversations focused on fish, Japan and eating out.  Clearly define your topics before you develop your page, so you don’t drift off topic and lose readers.

3.  Improve customer service:

If any negative comments are posted on the wall, Yo! Sushi responds quickly, apologising to the commenter and even offering a discount.

You can adjust your Facebook settings so you get an email every time someone posts on your wall, so you can respond quickly and efficiently without having to monitor your page 24/7.

Social media case studies, best Facebook pages, how to use social media for business

Posting discounts, special offers and exclusive deals on your Facebook page give fans a reason to return to your page

4.  Give fans a reason to visit:

Yo! Sushi regularly posts discounts and special offers on its Facebook page, only available to fans and only available for a set time.

They also announce new menus and outlets, so fans are the first to know about developments and changes in the business.

This is an effective way of encouraging repeat visits and also sharing of your posts by fans.

5.  Build relationships with customers and your target market:

Earlier this week Yo! Sushi posted the following question on their wall:

“In Japan some men shave their heads to apologise. Strange but true. What weird things have you done to apologise?”

This generated 33 comments, ranging from “I’m a woman – I’m never wrong” to “Bought flowers”.

What have you done to apologise?  I bet there’s a good story there that you could share – not only is this question evocative and something we can all respond to, it’s also related to Japan (which is central to Yo! Sushi’s brand).

How could you stimulate discussion on your wall?  What questions could you ask that relate to your brand and that your fans can relate to.

So if you’re ready to get to know your customers, and get more of them, then Facebook can be a great place to start.

Other resources:

Examples of great Facebook pages

3 reasons Facebook trumps Twitter for business

Facebook help page

32 ways to use Facebook for business

And just for fun: Make your own toy on Toy Story 3’s Facebook page

PS Want to know how to use Facebook for your business?  I’m running a workshop on how to do just that on 19th October in Truro, UK.  Find out more about the Facebook course here.