What Can Small Businesses Get Out of Facebook?
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It’s a question a lot of small businesses ask — whether or not Facebook is, “worth it”. The long answer is, it’s complicated. The short answer is, yes. The complicated part can include serious marketing such as figuring out a monthly budget and doing Facebook advertising, digging into the stats, figuring out ROI, spending time sourcing and sharing content, spending time creating new content, and interacting with visitors to your page. If your eyes haven’t glazed over reading that last sentence, the good news is, having a Facebook presence for your business and seeing small benefits can be pretty easy, so read on.
Benefit #1 – It’s still free for a basic page, so why not?
This is kind of a no-brainer and Facebook has a whole section dedicated to helping you through the process. They also have some tips on choosing (and sizing) your cover photo image. So you might as well take a little time out of your day and set up a page if you haven’t already.
Benefit #2 – The more you share quality content, the more your posts are seen … usually.
As a small business owner, you’re probably busy. Often, you just don’t have the time to find/produce and share quality content on your business Facebook page. That’s actually okay, and the reason for that is, Facebook isn’t everything (your own website should be at the top of your online marketing pyramid). There, I’ve said it, and having said that, you can get more out of Facebook if you want. You can really dig in and spend some hours but remember, pay attention to your goals and ROI. Your time is worth money and you always want to ask the question, “Am I gaining more business/promotion/etc. from the time I’m putting into it?”. You could also pay a professional marketer or do some targeted Facebook advertising, but if you’re busy or don’t currently have a budget, just do what you can. However, don’t let the page just sit there for long periods of time or people may start wondering if you’re still in business. Every now and then, post something that your audience would enjoy or find useful.
You may hear a lot about, “organic reach” (basically, not paying for advertising but reaching people through posts to your business page) and how it’s declining on Facebook. However, Facebook itself has said this about it, “Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed.” So there you go. Another good rule of thumb for posting content is that 30% of that content should be owned by you, 60% should be content from others, and 10% should be promotional content for your business.
Here’s a good example from one of our small business clients of what happens when you don’t post, verses what happens when you do post:
The “previous week” was the week where our client wasn’t really active on Facebook and, consequently, only 3 people might have seen something from the page. The “last week”, the client posted more content and the numbers went up. You may think 377 isn’t a lot, but if all of those people are your target audience or friends of your target audience, it’s not bad for free advertising.
Benefit #3 – Facebook is a search engine.
Facebook is already the dominant social media platform, but it’s been making waves since late 2014 with its foray into search territory. Last year, stats such as Facebook containing 2 trillion posts and fielding 1.5 billion searches a day started coming out. Facebook pages also tend to be noticed by actual search engines and act as another source where important information about your business might be located, such as location or hours. Might as well get in on that, right?
Benefit #4 – You can collect reviews for your business.
Sites where businesses are reviewed such as Yelp, Google My Business (formerly Google+), and yes, Facebook are helpful to potential customers, but also play a role in search engine optimization. In MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey in 2015, online reviews account for over 8% of online ranking factors Google and other search engines use. So again, it’s one of those things that has the potential to help your small business. Just be aware that anyone can leave a review and in the off chance someone does leave a negative review on your page (you should get a notice when reviews are left), you can be proactive, respond professionally, and showcase your awesome customer service skills.
Benefit #5 – You can post your products or services there.
Two items you’ll want to take advantage of after you set up your basic business page are using their “call to action” button and listing a few products or services.
Here’s an example of a button our holistic nutritionist client uses (she’s got a cool online scheduling system we set up for her):
There are many options for the button such as: call now, contact us, sign up, shop now, etc. This button can be linked directly to your website and help drive people where you really want them to be.
For listing products or services, Facebook allows you 200 characters and the ability to add a price and image. Here’s another example from our nutritionist client:
The wrap up …
All of these basic benefits are free and won’t take up a lot of your time. It’s also a great way to dip your toes into the water of managing your own small business Facebook page. Once you have a page up and running and you’re utilizing some of the free tools and seeing some potential benefit, you can always take it to the next level and get more intensive with it yourself by digging into the stats, creating and curating more content, exploring paid advertising, or handing over the reigns to a social media marketing pro.
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