Facebook for Small Business: Is It Worth It?

SueCockburn
Sue Cockburn Entrepreneur, Growing Social Biz

Posted on May 16th 2013

Facebook for Small Business: Is It Worth It?


Facebook is a source of frustration and guilt for many smaller business owners and solo entrepreneurs, who wonder how to make it work for their business.

In the Forbes article 'Why Small Businesses Are Losing On Social Media" author Meghan Casserly interviewed social media guru Ted Rubin who noted "if an expert or strategist tries to sell you on the notion that setting up a Facebook page . . . will open the floodgates to an Internet’s worth of sales leads, they’re selling you some bad medicine."

Rubin goes on to say, “Social actually can be a powerful lead generator,” but not in the way most small business owners think. "Jumping online to check in on Facebook once a day or posting current sales deals isn’t going to bring the business in."

Social media generally and Facebook specifically is one arrow in the marketing quiver. It isn't a quick fix and it isn't traditional media. It's value lies in being part of an overall integrated marketing strategy that incorporates a website, traditional media, excellent customer service and solid products/services as part of the package that builds brand recognition, customer loyalty and leads.

The average person is on Facebook to connect with family and friends. But when brands understand this and tailor their content to their fans, so that fans find the content interesting, inspirational, informative, valuable and/or helpful, then fans will remember them and are then more likely to begin to like, share and comment on their posts. This then helps build brand name recognition and loyalty, which in turn can help fuel potential sales opportunities down the road.

This though is not an easy task or a quick fix  for a number of reasons. For one, those who have liked your page and may also like your content, may never actually see what you post on your Facebook page. It may never make it into their news feed! Facebook determines what makes it into the various news feeds and, according to an Infographic from PostRocket, "it's almost 30x easier to get into Harvard than it is to get into Facebook's news feed."


So how do you get into the news feed of those who have liked your page?

Promoted Posts are one way to get your posts into the news feed of more people. Paying to promote specific posts helps ensure a larger number of your fans have an opportunity to see a particular post. These same Promoted Posts can be used to help build your fan base too by targeting specific cities, provinces, states and countries.

One of our clients recently ran for office in a local election. His Facebook page was relatively new and he had a small number of fans and minimal engagement. We designed a Facebook Ad campaign and switched the image up three times during the course of the campaign in an attempt to gain some traction with the ad. One of the issues was a huge piece of the text was taken up with a required by law one liner.

Part way through the campaign we began to use some of the budget for Promoted Posts. The difference was dramatic! The Promoted Posts achieved far more exposure than the Facebook Ads, or a regular post, in a much shorter period of time and for a small overall cost. 

Similarly, we have been using Promoted Posts with a client who is a real estate agent. For several months now when she obtains a new listing we set it up as a Promoted Post and not only have more people viewed the ad but, as with the political campaign, it has generated new fans for her page.

While Facebook is technically free, for small businesses looking to seriously utilize this platform to help build their brand, loyalty and reach, an integrated strategy along with a serious investment of time is needed. Oh yes, and an investment of cash!

SueCockburn

Sue Cockburn

Entrepreneur, Growing Social Biz

Sue is first and foremost a solution provider delivering website and social media services to micro and smaller businesses, anywhere in North America. Visit her website at GrowingSocialBiz.com for more information.

Visit her website and blog at GrowingSocialBiz.com.  Connect wtih her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/SueCockburn, on Twitter at twitter.com/SueCockburn, on Google+ at plus.google.com/+SueCockburn, on Pinterest at pinterest.com/SueCockburn and on Facebook at facebook.com/GrowingSocialBiz.

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Comments

I think that it depends on the market of the small business. Some of them, like clothes or fitness are likely to have great results on Facebook. However, other markets are just for branding instead of performance.

Good post. Thanks!

Mediabros Marketing Digital

Fernando, thanks for your comment. I agree completely!

My apologies for the delay in responding (somehow I missed seeing your comment).

Really good read Sue!  I think the point you mentioned about integrating your facebook strategy with your website and overall marketing strategy is very important.  I've found the best facebook pages are ones that have a really strong sense of community within them, which usually integrate things like user-generated photos and content.  On the other hand, they can become a marketing black hole if business owners aren't as tech savvy.  Just my pennies worth anyway!