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14 Ways To Leverage Facebook As A Small Business
Having an internet presence as an absolute must for any business trying to survive in the modern economy as more consumers turn to their smartphone or Laptop to help them solve problems or purchase goods and services.
As a local business you may think it's not that important as most of your customers come from the immediate area but what an online presence does for you is build a reputation — a place where new customers can find your information about your business.
While owning a website can be out of reach for some business owners as it can be pricey or seen as an unnecessary expense, it doesn't mean you have to have no visibility online. You can create a listing on a local directory and social media profiles to use as your base of your digital operations.
Should my small business be on Facebook?
Like it or not, Facebook is still the largest social media platform, and it costs you nothing to have a presence on the site. Every small business should be on social media, especially Facebook. Having a substantial Facebook presence helps you engage potential customers and grow your business.
But therein lies the trick regarding facebook, you need to build up your audience to gain visibility, and it's not just about creating a profile and forgetting about it. Small businesses can still succeed when using Facebook as an acquisition channel even with all the paid ads, noise and clutter on newsfeeds.
If you want to make use of Facebook as a small business, you will need to adjust your approach as to how you use the platform especially if you aren't willing to spend or have very little to spend on ads.
So how can a small business become successful utilising Facebook? Here's my step by step guide to do just that.
1. Fully kit out your business page
If you want to have a reliable and professional Facebook presence, you need to create a separate page for your business. When you set up your Facebook page, you'll notice there are a lot of options to customise it, and I suggest you use every option available to you
It's essential also to add a profile and cover photos that reflect what your business does with your logo and other branded content. You should also add as much information about your business as possible, including your address, contact information, website, business hours, products, etc.
If you're a service provider, you can create a service tab and list your services with a unique graphic for each one.
If you're a retailer, you can create a Facebook shop or product feeds within your Facebook page.
You can also create job listings, events, long from notes and connect your YouTube and Instagram channels too. The more fleshed out your profile is, the more legitimate it will seem to users.
2. Post when you have something to say
Posting on Facebook and hoping for any organic reach is dead for most of us unless you have the scale of millions of followers so the fraction fo users that do see your posts amplify it to their network, you're pretty much out of luck.
Posting each day can be a severe waste of time when you see the returns you're getting so if you're going to it its best you set up a few posts and schedule them and check in on notifications.
It's best to post when you have something to say or want to ask users something like a poll. When you have been sporadic in your posting Facebook tends to be a little more generous with its reach than if you're a daily poster when it comes to smaller accounts.
To monitor all the action from posts, you can use Facebook Insights is free for every business page and shows valuable information, such as how many people engage with each post and how many people it reaches.
Protip! You can use your posts to increase the size of your audience with like to invite feature
3. Promote your page
While most of your efforts will be on attracting users inside facebook, some of them will require you to send them to Facebook first before you can get them to engage with your page. Traditional marketing techniques can also help you grow your audience.
You can drive users to your Facebook page by:
- Adding a link to your email signature
- Adding the URL or username on your business card or flyers
- Using a QR code on business cards or flyers
- Adding social media links to your website
- Adding social media links to directory listings
Instead of losing people to in the sea of the newsfeed, you can drive them directly to your page to engage with you and the content you produce.
4. Engage your followers
Facebook's new algorithm prefers posts and pages that create engagement. Before posting anything on Facebook, you should ask yourself if it will create a conversation, I said conversation, not controversy.
I know this is a way to get leads for your business but important to remember that Facebook is a social media platform, so you should be social. When you do post, make sure you respond to comments and try to be open-ended, ask more questions get customers to provide long-form answers, all these are additional engagement signals that will make your content more popular in feeds.
5. Leverage friends of fans
Facebook's algorithm plays to the fact that people are most likely to try something if their friends already use it. Social media is like the digital equivalent of word of mouth and getting friends and family to talk about your business, getting customers to post and tag you in posts, share posts all count to providing you with more social media clout.
When customers interact with your page, their friends will see the activity in their newsfeeds.
6 Start using search
Search us a highly underutilised function within Facebook, and because of this, you'll find that once you get the hang of it, it can lead you to a host of new opportune. You can start by searching for popular hashtags or keywords around your business, products or services you provide.
See what people are posting about in open discussions or forums and engage with the posts, videos or images. Once you've found viable posts, you can provide insightful commentary or links to your product or let them know you are a service provider that can solve their problem.
If you can't sell the users you engage with on your service, you could get them to sign up to your newsletter for later contact. Search is one of the ways you can actively chase leads on Facebook instead of having to attract them.
7. Start getting involved in groups
Since the Facebook newsfeed has become an oh so precious commodity ruled by particular brands, influencers and publishers, the competition for attention is not only high, it's very much skewered in their favour. The Facebook feed itself is focused more on friend and family content, and the portion they provide to "others" is a fierce battleground.
To supplement the limitations of algorithmic newsfeed biases, there are now many groups have started for particular niches or localised areas. If you can gain access to these groups and obey their terms and conditions, it can provide to be an excellent opportunity to promote your services to a particular community which usually means better response rates.
To find groups in your niche and area all you need to do is search and filter by groups and start asking for access. Other groups are pretty secretive and protective and maybe an invite-only, so you may need to find a friend and get them to vouch for you to gain access.
8. Start a group
Since Facebook has become so stingy with its reach that you cannot even market to the audience you built without having to pay for it, groups are a great way to improve the engagement levels.
You can create a group attached to your business profile and in it can post whatever you want, and all group members will be able to see it. You can post text post, images, videos and even stories without the fear of being too pushy and having the algorithm hold back your reach.
Groups are great for those who are creative and have an active audience that they have been shut off from because of Facebooks feed preferences.
9. Make use of Facebook Marketplace
Facebook marketplace is an excellent source of additional exposure if you're selling goods and services with access to a targetted audience with a buying mindset. You can use Facebook Marketplace to post product ads regularly, or service ads which potential customers who are actively looking to purchase.
Additionally, you can also use it to source stock from suppliers or barter with other small business owners and find possible leads for future business.
10. Take advantage of video
Facebooks algorithm has been tweaked to favour video content heavily, and because of this simple messaging that could be a text post or image can do far better as a video. You don't need to be a graphic designer or videographer to create short videos with several video-making apps now available for you to use to put together a video for social media quickly.
Protip! If you want to leverage the maximum return from video on Facebook, you will want to start doing live video. Your live streams could be product reviews, unboxing, Q & A's or AMA's anything that encourages your audience to continue watching and engaging with you.
11. Secure direct leads from Facebook
The truth is Facebook continues to put up barriers between businesses and users to encourage companies to either work harder or keep spending, and this results in you having to put in more time or money into the platform to get the same results, nevermind improve on it. If you want to mitigate against this downside of relying on a third party, you need to find ways of bypassing them.
When engaging with your customers in the comments section of posts, in your Messenger chats or groups try and prompt them to give you their contact details. Be it an email address or cellphone number you can use to build lists you can use to contact clients directly when you have an offer to promote.
You can also collect leads passively by setting up a newsletter sign up form on your Facebook page. Email applications like Mailchimp allow you to connect your Facebook to an email list directly and have a particular sign up tab available on your profile for users who want to hear more about your business.
If your clients prefer to engage with you through direct messaging you can also collect leads by using Chatbots within your Facebook Messenger
12. Collect reviews
Online consumers are fickle when it comes to smaller brands and have a natural scepticism when you're not a well-known entity. To help allay their fears, you need to rely on a peer review.
Collecting customer reviews from real people where users can put a face to the name helps lend authenticity to a business and provide a track record for a potential customer to base their judgements on when deciding to do business.
While some of your reviews may come naturally, it doesn't hurt to ask or remind customers to review your service on Facebook. The more reviews you collect, the more trustworthy your company feels to the first time customer.
13. Giveaways & competitions
Facebook users have become numb to advertising and promotional messaging. If all you're going to do is punt product and service-related content on your profile you will quickly alienate people, and the algorithm will reduce your reach even to the fans you've already acquired.
Facebook wants to see uses engaging and one way of giving your Facebook page a quick sugar rush is through giveaways. Getting users to comment or tag friends to enter is a sure way of driving interest to your profile, reaching new users, improving engagement and EDGE algorithm should bump you up feeds giving you increased visibility for the time being.
As mentioned, this is only a quick fix and cannot be used regularly so time your audience and give things time to settle before planning your next giveaway, or it could result in fatigue of this strategy.
14. Try Facebook ads
If all the efforts above are still not enough for you to attract the leads you want, you may have to give Facebook ads a try. Promoted posts are the easiest way to throw money down the drain, and Facebook is counting on you to just that, paying money for a little extra reach and a few vanity metrics such as views or reactions.
If what you want is leads you to need to use a business.facebook.com ads account and start creating highly targetted "ad sets" to try and reach the correct users in the location you desire.
As you reach out to these users, you can segment these audiences into the best-performing ones and create remarketing audiences with more targetted messaging or segment your audience by a host of other metrics to try and drive a more contextually appealing ad.
The power of Facebook ads relies on creating contextual funnels and targetting users multiple times to push them further down the funnel into a lead.
Monitor your impact
Facebook also offers you a great set of in-app analytics that lets you see exactly how much reach or how engaging the posts and ads you push out are, as well as the performance of your page overall.
You can use this as a measuring stick by creating a dashboard to extract data to each month and monitor what works and what doesn't work, refine your messaging and your tasks accordingly and repeat the process.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African Business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts about Facebook Marketing.
- Facebook Relaunches Search Ads
- Getting Started With Facebook Marketing
- Facebook Targeting: How to Find Your Audience
- How To Use Facebook Dynamic URL Parameters
- Your Guide To Facebook Event Tracking