As a small business owner, you’re always looking for new and creative ways of marketing your business and reaching a wider audience. Using social platforms offers small businesses an ideal way to stay in touch with existing customers while connecting with potential new customers.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform and is an essential part of any small business digital marketing strategy. Facebook reported having over 2.4 billion users at the end of Q2 2019, making it the platform for audience reach and a channel SMBs simply can’t afford to ignore.
If you’re new to Facebook marketing, it can be challenging to figure out where to start—especially as the platform is constantly changing and evolving.
To help you get started with Facebook or enhance current efforts, below we'll share some thoughts and helpful tips for small businesses looking to incorporate Facebook marketing into their overall marketing strategy.
While Facebook is clearly the largest social media platform, we explain what makes it so compelling for small businesses. Many SMBs are leveraging tools and pointing their marketing budget towards Google Ad Manager, but Facebook is quickly catching up in terms of the reach and effectiveness of paid media channels.
Facebook offers a wide variety of opportunities for SMBs. Facebook provides multiple ways to deliver your message. While Google Ad Manager is generally limited by lines of text in a URL, Facebook allows you to include images, video, different ad types, different copy presentations and more.
The versatile nature of Facebook also means that when you’re just jumping in, there is a lot to learn. Here is a quick rundown on the most important things small business owners should know about Facebook marketing.
There are two different marketing worlds that exist on Facebook. First, you have organic, where you create a page and work to reach your audience through content. This is a free opportunity that provides many options for SMBs. The other option is paid marketing on Facebook, which is rapidly growing. In early 2018, Facebook adjusted its algorithm to devalue business or “publisher” posts. This means organic business page posts will show up in your newsfeed far less than posts by friends, connections or groups.
Why did Facebook make these changes? The change was likely done to increase the importance of Facebook ads. The cost of Facebook ads usually only represents a fraction of what SMBs are spending in terms of paid media, so it's an investment with potentially low spend and big gains.
If you’re currently using Google Ads in your business, Facebook advertising offers a proven way to reach users on a different level. Facebook ads have the ability to touch all parts of the funnel, whereas Google Ads are much more focused on the bottom of the funnel. They offer more flexibility when trying to target customers in terms of how you deliver your message, what kind of ads you run and how you convey your business on the social media space.
With Facebook ads, you have the power to target your message demographically and geographically and by looking at the interests, behaviors and location of your customers. That provides small businesses with countless ways to target potential and existing customers.
The ad delivery on Facebook offers multiple mediums to choose from when deciding how to get your message across or how to capture user attention. You can use an image, multiple images, videos and more.
Keep in mind that Instagram is owned by Facebook, so when you’re looking at Facebook advertising, that also includes Instagram. Facebook has over two billion users, and Instagram has over one billion, which means that no matter how specific or broad your product or service is, you can find a target audience for them. No matter where you’re located, you have access to your local, as well as a worldwide, audience on these platforms.
In most cases, a small business is absolutely ready for Facebook ads and should be part of their overall digital marketing plan. Facebook acts as an ongoing touchpoint to reinforce the other marketing an SMB is doing through other channels.
With Facebook advertising sounding so appealing, it would be really easy for a business to decide to jump right in.
Before you decide to work with Facebook ads as part of your marketing strategy, it’s critical that you know a general audience you want to target, so you're able to deliver your message in a richer way. If your SMB is already marketing in other ways, using Facebook ads will support those other programs. People may see your ads through various marketing activities, but they may not act on them immediately.
A great example he shared is how Facebook and Google advertising work together to keep your business top-of-mind. If someone has been repeatedly seeing ads for an appliance repair company on Facebook and Google when their stove suddenly stops working, it’s likely that the ads they’ve seen will come to mind.
Finally, if you’re going to use Facebook ads, you need to choose the right objective for the goal you’re trying to accomplish. If a business wants to focus on lead generation, the first step would be to evaluate the customer journey, and if direct lead generation from this platform aligns with user behavior. In some cases it may make sense, and in others Facebook may not be the place to do it, and your ad dollars may be better spent elsewhere. But if your goal is a full-funnel approach, Facebook is always a great place to do this as there is a huge, diverse audience you can target.
In recent years, while organic activity has declined on Facebook, your Facebook Page still offers a proven and relevant way to reach your audience.
We recommend the following to make the most of your Facebook Page. Engage with your followers. Having a Facebook Page with thousands of followers doesn’t mean much if a large portion of them aren’t engaged.
To help better engage using your Facebook stage, try these three easy steps:
1. Start by ensuring your Facebook Page posts are current.
2. Update your page template, header, and profile image
3. Ensure you’re using the call-to-action button.
With your business page’s content, you want to find a variety of ways to educate and entertain your followers, show the value your product or service, and most of all, create trust in your brand.
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make on their Facebook Page is falling into the trap of only selling. Instead, focus on building a relationship with your followers, so you’re the first company they think of when they need your product or service.
To avoid this trap, focus on freshening up your page’s content and look for new ways to engage your followers. Keep in mind that you don’t have to just use text or photos; there are a number of options you can use, including video, photo albums, photo carousel, slideshows, live video and more.
Aim to avoid using generic, canned content for your page posts, and create content that only your brand could create. Users are savvier than ever and are quickly turned off by vapid content. Be genuine: Don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes shots of your team or showcase your customers. Remember, social media is about being social, which means sharing the human element can go a long way.
As you’re investing time in your Facebook Page, you’ll want to measure the success of your efforts. Pay close attenton to which posts get traction and then look to replicate it. Did you use a different type of image? Create content with a different point of view? Did you use a video to explain something complex? Look for common themes to see what people are most interested in and then plan your content accordingly.
If you use Facebook on a personal level, you’re likely in a variety of groups—and you aren’t alone! In mid-2019, Facebook shared that over 400 million users belong to a group that they find meaningful.
In that same keynote from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook also stated that they’re placing emphasis on communities and groups moving ahead, so setting up a group for your small business may seem like the logical next step.
While some SMBs decide to form Facebook groups for their audience to interact, this may not be an effective way to grow and attract a wider audience depending on the type of business they run. The truth is that users tend to take a more casual approach to social platforms and treat them as entertainment, so trying to engage users explicitly for business purposes may be a challenge in a group setting.
If you’re a B2C company and your content naturally aligns with Social Media in verticals such as those in travel and leisure, health and beauty, culinary or e-commerce, investing time and effort in a group may be worth it. However, if you’re running a trade-based SMB like heating and electrical or plumbing, generating organic traffic via a Facebook Group is going to be much more challenging, but not impossible. Reach out to your happy clients and ask them to give you a recommendation on their neighborhood Facebook groups.
The verdict is clear: Facebook needs to be a part of every small business’ overall marketing strategy.
A small contribution of your marketing budget going towards Facebook can make a much bigger impact proportionally than your other marketing objectives.
Even if people don’t convert directly from your Facebook marketing, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t made an impact. User behavior indicates that they may see the ad or posts, then go to Google to look for more information to validate your business’ legitimacy. Then they’ll feel more confident about making a purchase when they’re ready.
Feature Image: Unsplash / NeONBRAND
All screenshots taken by author, October 2019.
Image 1: via Facebook Business
Image 2: via Facebook Business (Auction.com)
Image 3: via Instagram for Business
Image 4: via Web.com Facebook Page
Image 5: via MarketingLand
Image 6: via Facebook