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  • Writer's pictureMike Hurst

Small business social marketing: Facebook

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

I'm going to help you choose your channels

I bang on about how good I am at managing social media to help small businesses run their marketing. Following on from my post about how essential Google My Business is, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some pointers on what to think about when choosing social media for your small business, and how to easily gain some traction if you do. There are lots of options out there, with the temptation to get everything. I’ve never worked anywhere which needed more than the right mix of two or three that are relevant, so that is my general rule I am advising you to follow

Remember: social media channels need to be regularly updated with fresh content, so don’t overreach and then sit with empty accounts. The worst thing you can do.

Over the next few months, in with my other posts, I’ll be covering using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok to successfully promote your small business. Let’s start with Facebook, which despite stiff competition from some of the others on this list, and a few dodgy data disasters, is still hands down one of the best places to build a community for your business.

What can Facebook do for my small business?

Facebook provides a lot of services for businesses, ranging from light touch to managing everything through its new Facebook Business Manager. However, I’ve kept it specific to the two things you’ll want to look at when social marketing your small business.

Facebook Business page – a vital and free marketing tool

The main thing you will need is a Facebook Business page, for which you will need a normal account and then click on the create button. You can choose a business name and fill in all the basics. After that, just post updates and add photos and events as you would with your normal page. You can additionally take bookings on Facebook if you want without any extra software needed. There's also a nice automatic response for the dedicated inbox your business will get, to reply to customers. On top of this it's possible to link your phone number for direct contact in WhatsApp.

The other great thing is that you can invite people to manage the page. So, if you have a staff member who runs the online side for you (or, hint hint, you use a very reasonably priced marketing freelancer), you can delegate while still keeping tabs on what’s going on.

This page is great for promotion – you can invite people to like it, and grow for your business a lovely community by joining groups and promoting services locally. All groups have rules as to when you can and can’t promote, so make sure you read them and that the content is relevant (the ones I use to push my customers generally have Monday as promotion day).

Taking that further and if your business has the need, you can easily link in most Customer Relationship Management (CRM), booking, or inventory software, you can also plug in chat bots from your website without too much trouble. I integrated a salon booking system into Facebook in a previous in-house role. This was easy to do and made the lives of the staff much easier to manage everything under one roof.

Not so free, but bang for your buck - Facebook Ads

The second thing you can do once you have a business page is run Facebook ads. These are cost effective campaigns, where you can target a range of people with a sponsored post, promoting your business, services, a sale or whatever you want. Scary Big Brother Klaxon: you can target your customers with pinpoint accuracy. All those pages you liked, bits of information you put into random quizzes, information you fill in on your profile. Facebook has it all and lets advertisers like you target people. The amount of data really is incredible.

For example, you want to undertake some local marketing and promotion for a classic car event, or dealership for your small business which let's say is based in Caterham. You can create an ad in minutes and whip up an audience to market to. So I've chosen men and women within 20 km of Caterham, aged 25-54, who have marked themselves as interested in classic cars. You get the below results (this is based on £30 a day spend over two weeks).

Facebook paid advertising can be a powerful tool for small business marketing

That's 55,000 potential customers just from one filter, and between 1-3k a day who will see your ad. Not bad numbers from one example.

It will also show you projected leads, which is based on spend. In my experience the actual leads are higher than Facebook projects, as it obviously has a vested interest in you parting with more cash. As with any advertising, it comes down to the right message to the right people at the right time. It's a hackneyed phrase but a true one.

What are the positives of using Facebook in my local marketing plan?

The really great thing about using Facebook for local marketing is that it is familiar and simple. Likes, shares, comments, and messaging all work in the same way as your personal profile, so it doesn’t need any special knowledge to run it. Other tools like Ad Manager are designed to be accessible by anyone. There are some other compelling reasons to factor it in:

1) Numbers - over two billion people a month are on Facebook, so I can guarantee that there are some customers for you in there that you haven’t connected with yet.

2) Trust - there are also hundreds of people local to your business, asking for recommendations on groups. These recommendations will come from friends and family and are very different to something like a Google search, but more valuable because a recommendation comes from trust and carries emotional weight.

3) Reach - with your business on Facebook, you are building a community for yourself. The right post which hits the spot, can quite quickly, and with no cost at all, get your post seen by thousands of people you have no direct contact with through likes, shares, and retweets.

What are the things to bear in mind when Facebook marketing?

There are not many cons to Facebook from a business point of view. Reputation and PR management is one key thing to make sure you are on top of. In the same way that a good post can be amplified, so can a bad one or a negative comment and it is important to make sure that if something does go wrong, you solve the problem quickly. A non-issue can turn into a nightmare if you don't head it off at the pass.

Choose Facebook for marketing your small business if…

Well I would recommend any small business which is serious about marketing to include Facebook as part of their social media line-up. It’s like a good base coat of paint to have. And as they own Instagram and WhatsApp, integration opportunities for you to easily manage customers are plain to see.

I hope this slightly longer than normal post has provided you with some useful info. If so, please do me a favour and like mihu's page. If you need someone to help you navigate and set up social marketing for your business, please do drop me a line.



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