Here are the 2 questions about Facebook business pages that we hear the most:
1. I need “FB Training”, will you help me?
2. Do you guys “do” FB?
Honest answers, no dancing around >>>
1: If you are asking for FB training, what you probably need is someone to do it for you. Is it really an effective use of your limited time to be fiddling with social media?
2. We partnered with a pro that specializes in FB page management for small businesses.
There is another question that comes in a close third place…
3. Is it worth it?
Everything You Need To Know About the Pros & Cons Of Using Facebook To Expand Your Reach, Build A Connection With Your Customers, And Make More Money
Yes, it’s possible! Small businesses are making money with FB.
No, it’s not instant.
But read on to get a clear vision of how Facebook could be leveraged for your company.
This is not a How-To Guide. You should be way too busy running your business to worry about clicking around Facebook.
The point of this post is so you learn what Facebook can and cannot do for your business, and then make an informed decision to invest in marketing.
Pro: Facebook Is Basically A Second Google
Facebook gets just as many users and searchers per day as Google does.
It has become THE major platform of the internet, with its own ecosystem for news, events, buying & selling, discussion forums (called groups), and of course your own network of friends.
A great mass of your potentials buyers are there. And the platform is specifically set up to keep them there.
That’s prime real estate.
Pro: It Leans On Social Proof And The Power Of The Personal Referral
If your friends like or share something, it means more to you than just a random ad.
A contractor had a side business building sheds for homeowners. He promoted his FB page to a few friends (people he actually knew in real life), and most of them liked or followed it. Instead of overthinking or worrying about “looking professional”, he just posted a few photos of his sheds. Some of his friends started messaging him asking how they could buy one. This is now his primary source of sales.
Con: The Outlet Is Mainly Social, Rather Than Transactional
The expectation on Facebook is rarely “I want to buy something”. It can be annoying to users who want to check up on their friends, only to get bombarded with ads and sales offers.
An exception is when someone is doing a local search, say for cafes or pubs (or whatever local provider they need).
Bill is chatting with Suzy on Facebook. They decide to meet up for a coffee. Without leaving the platform, Suzy uses the Facebook search box to find the closest cafe to them, and then she checks their reviews. She finds a good one, and meets Bill there.
Pro: Exponential Reach
Your followers have friends. Each of their friends have friends. All of the friend’s-friends have friends, and so on.
If just one friend engages with a post — likes, comments, or shares it — all the friends in that chain have a chance to see it.
That personal referral takes on a ripple effect, so that even if you have the tiniest following your potential reach is 100 times more.
This is why building up an audience is not just a vanity stat.
When it comes time to make an offer, a follower can turn into a PR machine for you, exposing your company to tons of people who would not have otherwise heard of it.
Neutral: Fluff Is Encouraged
The key word here is social media. So Facebook is looking to reward posts that are social in nature.
That means fluff and/or filler content is encouraged. In fact, it gets likes and shares and generally builds goodwill.
You definitely must make some sales offers (otherwise what is the point), but FB will hide posts they feel are too promotional.
How FB defines “too promotional”: pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, posts that reuse the same text from ads.
Con: Facebook Throttles The Posts Of (Small) Brands
For this discussion, brands = your small business.
FB weighs personal posts much higher than brand posts. To the point where even people who follow your business on FB will be shown less than half of your brand’s posts.
Unless of course your brand is Nike. Or you love shelling out cash for FB ads and boosted posts.
“Get To The Part Where I Make Money”
There are 4 primary means for Facebook to benefit your business: Ads, boosted posts, organic posts, and as a website substitute.
When you pay, your ads (unlike your regular posts) will get shown to your audience.
Specific audience targeting is the most powerful advantage FB offers over all other forms of media.
First, you can filter out your customers, so you are not wasting ad dollars on people who already bought.
Then you can “retarget” website visitors: your ads will show to people who came to your website (or a certain page on your site). Great for catching people who know you but haven’t bought yet.
Lookalike audiences: you can upload a list of your clients and have FB match their traits to other people who are not yet buyers.
Interest: you can only show ads to people that have shown interest in a subject that relates to your offer.
Or if you have a business that is likely to sell to the same people over and over, you can do the opposite of my advice above and send out ads specifically to current customers.
It’s like having a billboard that magically appears only on the roads, at the exact times of day, that your ideal, interested, hungry customers drive.
But there is a catch…
The flip side is, if you choose your audience poorly, or just “set it and forget it”, you are probably going to give your children’s college fund to the Facebook board of directors.
They really like money! They will be super excited about it.
This just means all the stuff you put on FB for free — images, video, links to other content, plain old text.
It’s a wild world out there, and you never know what will hook people and get them wanting more. So it’s an excellent testing ground to see the impact of your messages.
And as always, the downside is that a foggy cloud of white noise covers everything.
Like we said above, FB barely shows organic brand content to anyone… even a follower of that brand.
They look for engagement signals on a post, then decide to show it to more of your audience, like a slow rollout.
Obviously this means a lot of thought and care has to go into making the content interesting.
Or you need to throw massive quantity out there, hoping something will stick.
It may sound like an ongoing battle because that’s exactly what it is. And that’s why you need to hire a pro to do it.
A boosted post is just organic content that is more likely to show to your audience… because you pay for it.
It’s generally cheaper than running an ad, and is more effective at building reach and engagement than it is at selling.
A smart company will use some well-timed and deftly-chosen boosted posts to grow their audience quickly, before they make a big offer with ads.
Because FB is such a fantastic feedback mechanism, you can look at all your organic posts from the past to see which one really resonated with your audience.
Then you can pay just a little bit to push that out to a wider audience, with similar targeting features to an ad.
It’s like only betting on winners.
A Website Substitute (aka Get A Website For Free)
At bare minimum, since it’s free, you may as well have your business listed on Facebook.
You basically get a “second” website on a “second” search engine.
As long as your business hours, category, and phone number are up to date, and you are not repelling potential customers by using ugly or poorly cropped photos (happens a lot), it’s an easy win.
You can upload products right on your Facebook page, schedule events, and more.
It covers pretty much everything you’d need to list your business online. If times got really tight, you could even shut down your website and just run your free Facebook page.
As always, I’ll give you the other side of the story.
The platform is out of your control.
So if they decide to shut down all business pages one day, there’s nothing you can do about it.
For this reason, it’s better not to rely on one platform (like Facebook) solely for your online presence.
At the end of the day, if you never put any time or money into FB beyond setting up a proper page, at least you’re listed in one of the most popular business directories in the world.
Once You Decide To Invest, What Are Some Things You Can Do To Support Success?
One last thought.
If you’ve read all this, and you’re convinced that using Facebook makes sense for your company, here are a few things you can do to start yourself off on the right foot:
- be patient (it takes time; a following needs to be built and testing must be done)
- give your marketer the most specific answers and most solid data you can (about your audience, their pains, the common questions they ask, and any specific success stories you have)
- keep your marketer up to date on any company changes, like seasonal hours (there is nothing that generates ill-will in a customer faster than finding dark windows and a locked door because the hours listed on FB were wrong)
Ready To Get Serious About Your Facebook Business Presence?
We’ve partnered with Solid Solutions, and they are social media experts.
They setup, rebuild, and manage FB pages for small businesses, professionals, and municipalities across Canada.
To find out how they can help you, fill out the form below…