Facebook marketing has come to stay. Do you know that at least 41% of all small businesses in the world have a Facebook presence? If yours is not part of the statistic then you are late to the party. If your business is part of the 41% then that is great but that also tells you that you need to step up your game because the competition is fierce.
2019 should be the year that you- being a small business owner- decide to engage in Facebook marketing in a more deliberate fashion that yields tangible results.
Mind you, too often most people assume that Facebook marketing is simply about Facebook ads. Facebook marketing consists of all activities of a business on Facebook that are targeted at raising awareness about the company or product while converting that awareness to increased patronage.
So, you see! Facebook marketing for your small business goes beyond just using the advertising features found on the social media platform. It is a deliberate act with varied strategies, all geared towards a particular goal- profit.
Therefore, this post is about showing you the specific marketing strategies you should employ for your small business in 2019 while leveraging the ample features on Facebook. First of all, let us look at how we got here.
Shifting Marketing Trends
Once upon a time, a marketing campaign meant hiring advertising agencies and going all out on mainstream media (television, radio and print) to get the message about your brand out. Now, times have changed.
Ad agencies are still as relevant to determine what consumers want but the media have evolved. At the click of a button, multinational corporations are shrunk to fit the needs of people in remote Asian islands, the African plains or even the lush Caribbean tropics.
Social media is changing the way we all do business and has ushered in the age of digital marketing. To be clear, digital marketing refers to a marketing approach that relies heavily on electronic devices and the internet. This involves utilizing various digital media such as emails, social media, websites and so on.
The benefits of engaging in digital marketing abound, from being cost-effective, giving business owners the chance to tell brand stories, ensuring increased conversion rates, and providing platforms for easy business-consumer interaction.
An expert on digital marketing Jeremy Greenberg, founder of 97 Switch (a web design and digital marketing agency) has said, “People are responsive when you have the ability to tell your brand story, whether it’s on social media, your website, or email. With other mediums, there’s not as much ability to tell your story.
Therefore, every business owner should be seeking how to get a slice of the pie. Looking at Facebook alone, the numbers are staggering. In fact, there are well over 2.2 billion daily users of the platform.
To put this in context, China is the most populous nation in the world, yet it has only 1.4 billion people. Do you see how much of a treasure chest social media is? It is a thriving ecosystem!
Why Small Businesses Should Engage in Social Media Marketing
Thus, it is easy for you to say that there is no point to join the ‘bandwagon’ of social media marketing. You may feel like it is a waste of time, effort or money.
Interestingly, here’s a point of view that you may not have considered before; social media is also an avenue for spreading word of mouth. It does not have to be face-to-face. At times, it could be through chat, voice or video calls too.
Therefore, getting information about your small business out there on social media makes it easier for people to share it, even as word of mouth. We bet you didn’t think of that (#wink).
Furthermore, Kevin O’Kane, Google’s Asia-Pacific Head of SME explains that this latest trend in marketing serves as rocket fuel for the improvement of little and medium scale businesses.
That being said, what are the specific reasons you should engage in social media marketing despite being a small business owner?
1. The internet is a leveller
A beautiful thing about the World Wide Web is that it gives everyone an equal chance to reach a diverse audience. You only have to know the right features to maximise it. Social media does not require the same level of expertise or capital as found in traditional media.
With internet access, the world is literally at your fingertips and you can play in the same big leagues as the major companies around the world.
2. Social media marketing makes conversion much easier
In this context, ‘conversion’ refers to how traffic is transformed into sales. There is no point to a marketing campaign if there is no marked increase in patronage. Digital Vidya pointedly notes, “The conversions associated with DM rank higher than other modes of marketing and communications.”
This can largely be attributed to the calls-to-action (CTAs) which encourage potential consumers to take a specific action, such as downloading something, making a purchase or subscribing to a site, all by clicking on a button.
3. Social media marketing facilitates B2C interaction
A powerful tool of any business is feedback. It really does not matter how big the company may be; both large and small businesses need feedback to improve on services, give an inkling of what consumers need or measure satisfaction and through social media engagement, consumers can easily air their opinions.
More so, consistent interaction builds the customer’s trust.
4. Social media marketing builds your credibility
Beyond launching specific marketing campaigns, social media gives the opportunity to remain visible to your customers by posting regular content. Such consistency builds your reputation as an authority in your field and translates to credibility.
5. Social media marketing is cheaper
This graph shows clearly how cost-effective social media marketing is. In a report by HubSpot, we see that 27% of marketers stated that the cost-per-lead (CPL) was much lower when social media marketing is employed rather than other marketing forms.
Additional findings by Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spend Report show that at least 40% of respondents insisted that they saved a considerable sum when engaged in digital marketing.
Okay, you now understand why social media marketing is so important but why should you choose Facebook when you could easily go for other social media platforms? Facebook holds a huge trump card- almost everyone is on it. Therefore, it is only wise to go where the market is.
Why You Should Market Your Small Business on Facebook
Facebook is the world’s largest social network. It’s a platform that encourages multimedia and word of mouth marketing through the ‘share’ button. However, if you are wondering why you should choose Facebook, then let’s look at what it has to offer.
1. You can create a professional profile for your small business without spending a dime.
When it comes to promoting a business on Facebook then you should absolutely have a page. A regular profile does not come with all the perks that you need to grow your business’s visibility.
Creating your business page on Facebook is super easy.
- Step 1: Once you have a personal account, click on the ‘Create a Page’ button and select the type of page you desire. This could be based on location, nature of the business you run, whether it is for a cause or personality.
- Step 2: Give more details about your type of business by adding a description of what you do or clicking on relevant sub-categories.
- Step 3: Choose a profile photo that embodies the image of your business. Note that profile photo is different from the cover photo.
- Step 4: Add your Facebook address. You get to have your own URL so this is the point you choose what you want it to look like. Most people simply use their business names.
- Step 5: Upload a cover photo. This is the main picture that captures attention as it takes a large chunk of your page. On that note, it should be catchy and communicate what your business is really about. Facebook also allows you to write at most 20% text on the image so you could try writing something witty and promotional.
- Step 6: Link your business page to your personal page. All you have to do is head over to your personal page and click on ‘update info’. Add to the work experience section and fill in the relevant fields. This way, your personal profile will show the link to your business page.
It is that simple. However, apart from being stress-free to create, Facebook pages give your small business a professional touch and serve as a repository of information on your business. Even if you don’t have a physical address for your business, the page serves as your virtual address where your customers know to find you at any time.
In addition, the fact that you describe your business, gives your clients, both potential and real, a clear picture of what to expect from your business.
2. Facebook possesses other great features such as re-marketing pixel.
This amazing feature allows you remarket to consumers who have engaged with your brand before. By adding a special code to your website (pixel), you can track the people you are advertising to and ascertain how the ads are performing. Going by the data gathered through this medium, the next Facebook ad campaign will be much more targeted.
3. Facebook gives you control
With Facebook, there are varied options when it comes to marketing for small businesses. You can decide how often you want your ads to run and if they will be shared across other social media platforms like Instagram.
The number of times your ads will run (if you want it to run continuously) can be set, depending on your budget. For instance, you may choose to have a particular add run through a whole week.
Other decisions you get to make include what your budget will be. According to Fit Small Business, with as little as $10, between 940 and 2500 people can see your ad per day. This figure is but a drop in comparison to the general ‘population’ but it is a great start while you are learning who your true target is.
4. You get to choose your marketing objective
The reason this is great is that each marketing campaign, ideally, is meant to have a defined purpose. Understanding that, Facebook ads give you three (3) basic options to choose from and fine-tune your ad campaign. These options are awareness, consideration and conversion.
With the ‘awareness’ option, you get to introduce your small business to your target audience through tailored content and maximise the ‘reach ads’ so you can engage with more people while tracking how Facebook users engage with your content.
Through ‘consideration’ you interact with Facebook users who are already acquainted with your small business by generating more traffic, sending them links to relevant apps etc. Lastly, ‘conversion’ allows you to guide those interacting with your business to move from being random audience members to being genuinely interested in your business and most likely to make a purchase.
5. Facebook allows you reach your target audience
Every business has its target and that is who Facebook helps you reach because it already has information on different people based on their personal profiles.
There are millions of Facebook users but trying to connect with all of them will only be a waste of resources so this social media platform narrows it down for you and enhances your efforts to reach these people.
The variables that may help you choose your target audience includes gender, location, age, relationship status, interests and specific connections. Using a combination of these variables yields a highly specific target audience. In the end, the conversion rate is much higher because your efforts are tailored.
Examples of Successful Small Business Facebook Marketing Campaigns
Various Facebook marketing/promotion campaigns have been highly successful in the recent past. One of such is the Ice Bucket Challenge by the ALS Association sometime in 2018.
Many people did not even know what the campaign was about but they did not hesitate to dump buckets of ice-cold water on themselves and then challenge other people to do the same.
So successful was this campaign to raise awareness about the disease that A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates joined in. In no time, 17 million videos from 159 countries had been uploaded and 70 million views recorded. At least, 440 million people saw the campaign and $220 million was raised.
The campaign even crossed over from social media to mainstream media and the ALS Association did not have to spend a penny. Pretty grand, isn’t it?
Similarly, a number of small businesses from all over the world have been able to successfully carry out Facebook marketing campaigns with impressive results.
For example, ‘Chocolate for Breakfast’ is a culinarist’s business page. Through user engagement and consistent quality content, it has garnered about 30,000 likes and boasts of 65% of her followers talking about the page.
Another success story is ‘Pool Supply World’. With at least 100,000 likes, this online business has put itself at an advantage with an excellent cover photo and powerful CTAs.
‘Earthegy’ is a jewellery store that gets users engaged through discounts, insightful conversion techniques and recommendations. The business now has about 90,000 likes.
Lastly, let us talk about Toyota- – yes, we know it does not qualify as a small business but one social media marketing campaign got our attention because of its sheer brilliance and excellent results. The best part is that it did not cost a dime so you can do it too.
Toyota got about 1.2 million engagements and %440 million increase in Facebook engagements. How did they achieve these amazing figures?
Sprout Social explains that the automobile began a campaign across social media platforms called ‘Feeling the Street’. It was a contest in which street musicians showcased their art using the hash tag. In a short time, it caught on like wildfire.
So, you can utilize Facebook for your business too but before you begin, take care that you do not make certain mistakes that other small business owners have made.
Pitfalls to Avoid While Marketing Your Business on Facebook
Digital marketing guru Neil Patel notes that 62% of small businesses believe that paid Facebook ads are not as effective as they are touted to be. Yet, the numbers say differently, as this chart shows.
This can only mean that too many small businesses are doing something wrong. We don’t want you to fall into the same pitfall as others so let’s show you what they could be.
1. Failing to create a plan or measurement system
Facebook marketing must be a deliberate act with a concise strategy on how to get from point A to point B. More so, it will be impossible to ascertain if you are making headway if there is no laid down measurement system to track your progress.
2. Failing to determine the marketing objective
We have already established that every marketing campaign ought to have a goal. In the same vein, if you are using Facebook tools to market your business then you ought to have determined beforehand what the purpose of the campaign is. It could be to attract new customers, increase website traffic, build awareness, increase customer retention etc.
3. Failing to spend enough time on marketing
It is not just about scheduling your posts or dropping content once a day. Most people spend only an hour or two per week on their Facebook marketing campaigns and that will hardly improve your figures as 3.3 million posts are shared on Facebook each minute.
4. Failing to target the right audience
When you are barking up the wrong tree, you will not get the type of results you wish for. For instance, if your business is a local fast food then you should not be targeting married women who live miles away. Yes, they may have kids who need to eat but that won’t get you the traction you need. You should concentrate on youngsters like students or those with tight schedules in your vicinity.
5. Failing to put in enough money
We get it; you’re a small business but spending less than $50 is like a drop of water in an ocean. Get serious about budgeting for Facebook ads. B2C marketers who have enjoyed considerable success in this venture had to sink at least 26% of their entire marketing budget on social media marketing.
Now, let us look at what you should do.
What To Do Before Launching a Marketing Campaign for Your Small Business on Facebook
No one tries to fix a kitchen sink or a car without a toolbox. Similarly, there are certain things you need to take into consideration before you start marketing your business on Facebook.
1. Determine your target audience
You ought to have determined who your ideal buyer is. What is the right gender, location, lifestyle or age? Knowing this from the onset makes it easier to tailor your content and make your reach more incisive.
2. Decide on your budget
Running Facebook ads are inexpensive but you still have to make a budget for it. For example, the results you will get with $50 is a far cry from what you will get with $10 but can you afford to spend that much regularly? On a minimum basis, it will cost you about $1 per day for Facebook ad but remember that if your bid is too low then you will barely see results.
3. Focus on quality of content
Digital marketers always agree that quality of content is king. While some experts have declared that posting lots of content that reaches lots of people is the best marketing approach, the latest trends show that it is best to focus on posting fewer but qualitative content that will reach a high number of people. Therefore, how valuable, relevant, captivating and original will the content on your Facebook page be?
4. Choose content format
Facebook supports multimedia but it is always best to determine from the start what form of content works best for your business and that you will be consistent at providing. Will you be an all video, image or a mixed content business page? Statistics show that user engagement for image-based content dropped from 9,370 for each post to 3,454 between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018. However, there was also a decline in the same time period for video-based content from 5,486 to 2,867. So, which would you rather go for?
5. Choose advertising format
Facebook makes different advertising formats available. It could be a carousel, single video, image or a slideshow. It all depends on what you want but what is most important is that, based on who your target audience comprises of, you choose what they will be most comfortable with.
After all the back and forth, it is time to get into the meat of the matter
Top 10 Facebook Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
As you gathered, Facebook marketing is highly competitive but with a strategy, you can beat the odds and position your small business favourably.
Here are tested strategies that you should implement.
1. Post at least 4 times a day
One way of staying in the consciousness of your audience is when your content is seen regularly. According to Buffer, in the second quarter of 2018, the top 20,000 Facebook pages published an estimated 135 posts each month. Therefore, you should operate within that figure.
2. Kill it with catchy visuals
It is not enough to post randomly. They have to be of quality and memorable. Science tells us that the brain processes images 600,000 times faster than text so make a habit of posting stunning visuals rather than boring text. Get creative with your visuals. Try collages, gifs, infographics, make your own quotes etc.
3. Use a content calendar
To be strategic about your marketing campaign, it is advisable that you plan ahead. Using a scheduling program like Sprout Social or Buffer, you can plan the content you will post for an entire month and not have to worry per day about what to share. All you’d have to do afterwards is to monitor the engagement.
4. Do live videos
Live vertical videos (videos which the audience can watch while holding their phones upright) of no more than 2 minutes give a semblance of one-on-one interaction and make it easier for your potential customers to find you relatable. Do well to ensure that the titles of the videos are interesting and drive Facebook users to watch them. If you are worried about what the videos would be about…well, it could be anything from giving a brief tour of your store to showing off a new gadget you just got. It could even be an early morning pep talk.
5. Get your customers talking
Relate with your customers in the comment section and post content that your customers will not only want to identify with but they will be willing to respond to. Before long, you will be handling your customer service online! Also, you could share uncommon tips and hacks around your niche or pose questions and brain teasers. One of the best ways of doing this is by creating either a community page or a group page. This way, you have a ready market that you can target. You could also give them free rein to generate content for your page by suggesting what you should share on subsequently.
6. Organize contests
It has been tried many times before and as long as it is ingenious, it always works. Organizing a contest with a series of activities that will draw more people to your page, through hashtags or user engagement is brilliant.
7. Create saved audiences
This feature on Facebook creates a saved template for the ideal audience type you wish to reach. Each time you want to create an advert or boost a post for your small business, you would not have to go over the process of targeting the right audience as long as there has been no change to people you are targeting.
8. Use Facebook stories
Facebook stories make it easy for you to remain visible without hounding your customers. Besides, your stories do not have to be centered on your business alone. Posting humorous content is great too and attracts various groups of people to your business.
9. Boost your posts
Depending on organic reach alone may not always work out due to the clutter always found on Facebook. To mitigate this, you could increase your business’s visibility by boosting a post that you want to be seen across board.
10. Pay for Facebook ads
Emphasising how important it is to use paid ads, trusted marketing manager Keri Lindenmuth states, “Sometimes it is best if these ads look and sound no different than a regular Facebook post. We have found that promoted video and image posts work best.”
There you have it: our 2 cents on Facebook marketing for your small businesses. Ultimately, what is most important is that you ensure that you keep engaging your customers, track your progress and take advantage of new advertising tools.
Become part of the statistic with a strong Facebook marketing strategy today!