By James Scherer
Are you running the Facebook marketing strategy for a small business?
Are you looking to maximize the return you get from the time you spend on the platform?
For small businesses, time is money, and money matters.
Facebook can be a good investment of that time, but only if you know what you’re doing and know what to expect.
This article will give you a comprehensive look at both, to give you realistic expectations and a complete strategy to make them happen.
Facebook Marketing for Small Business – What to Expect
If you were a large corporation with infinite budget and infinite staff, you’d actually be worse off than you are now.
When you’re a huge business, it’s more difficult to be fun and friendly, more difficult to engage with your Fans on a personal level, and more difficult to find content which appeals to your broad audience.
Not only that, but organic reach (the number of Facebook users who see your Posts without you paying anything to boost them) decreases – percentage-wise – as a business’ Facebook Page Likes get more numerous. The graph below is about 18 months old, but its findings remain valid:
Most small businesses will fall between that 9.62% and 22.80% mark for organic reach.
That means that, no matter what you do or how many best practices you follow, you shouldn’t expect more than 15% of your total Facebook Fans to even see the posts you share.
But once we get that out of the way we can focus on a point more important than a disappointment in Facebook’s organic reach.
It doesn’t matter anyway.
Sure, it’s be nice if 100% of your Facebook Fans saw your posts. But they don’t. So let’s move on to maximizing the number of people who click through and are sent to your website. After all, that’s what we’re here for, right?
You want to use Facebook to drive traffic and sales. Do you really care how many Likes you get on a blog article post if nobody’s clicking through to read it?
Your Facebook marketing strategy shouldn’t be focused on increasing Facebook Likes or increasing engagement on the platform, it should be focused on driving a maximum number of people off it.
So here’s what to expect….
Though things have calmed down a bit in the past few years, Facebook is still a platform where magic happens.
Facebook Marketing for Small Business – Best Practices
These are going to be best practices that can actually affect your small business’ success with Facebook posting and organic reach. If you want 100 generic best practices (like “use images” or “be helpful” I’d recommend the 100,000 other articles on this subject.
1. Use video:
Facebook has been upfront about its algorithm’s love for video.
“Video is the type of post that performs best by far. Video comprised about one percent of posts in the data we analyzed; we take about 1.5 million posts over the course of the month. But those posts generated eight times the reach and 12 times the shares when compared to other types of posts,” said SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson.
“[Brands] like PopSugar are playing to the strengths of what Facebook is prioritizing. We’ve seen an increase in organic reach from January  to July  of about 10 percent,” said PopSugar Senior VP of Product Marketing Chris George.
Top Tip: Facebook’s algorithm prefers its own video type to YouTube. Create your video and upload it into Facebook’s player, rather than uploading a link to a YouTube video.
2. Target your Post:
Facebook allows post targeting by location and interest. Even if you only have a few hundred Fans, remember that they’re likely to be spread all across the country. At the very least, you should be sharing the same post a few times based on timezone.
3. Share content from other creators:
This is called “user-generated-content” and it’s a huge part of being a friendly brand. It’s also great for you: You don’t have to do the work to create content, the creator is excited to be shared (and so shares it enthusiastically) and your Fans feel like you’re really listening to them and care about them.
REI is a great example of a Facebook Page showcasing user generated content (even if those people aren’t yet their Fans):
Top Tip: Instagram is a great place to source image content related to your business.
4. Tap into what people are thinking about during holidays & current events:
Here’s a great example of this from Budweiser’s Canadian Facebook Page, supporting Toronto FC after a loss:
A Few More Facebook Posting Best Practices:
Facebook Marketing for Small Business – Promotions
Facebook promotions are one of the best ways for your business to get rolling and keep your Fans engaged with your Page as well as coming in on a regular basis.
Recommended for YouWebcast, March 2nd: The Psychology of Designing User Habits with Nir Eyal
I recommend businesses of all kinds (B2B and non-Ecommerce as well as the prettier-product industries) run a few promotions a year, coinciding with a product launch or the holidays.
Here are the top four Facebook promotions I recommend you run…
1. Facebook Sweepstakes
To get rolling, go with a straight sweepstakes. They’re simple and can drive immediate and serious return.
They work very simply: you offer a prize relate to your business and promote it to people you think would be interested (your target market). Those who are interested check out the offer and provide their email address for a chance to win.
You give away one prize and get hundreds (if not thousands) of email addresses of prospective customers.
And, in the process, you showcase your brand and build Facebook popularity for your small business.
Here’s a sweepstakes post example from PostPlanner (which is a successful social media management tool, if you needed any more evidence that social media promotions work…):
2. Facebook Referral Promotions
With referral promotions (a bit more complicated, now) you engage with a third-party promotion tool (like Wishpond) and incentivize entry to your promotion. Everyone who enters gets a small prize and gets more chances at a grand prize by referring friends using an entrant-specific URL.
The strength of a referral promotion is that the entrants do so much of the work for you. They share your promotion as much as they can with their entire social network and community on your behalf.
3. Facebook Photo Contests
With Facebook photo contests your Fans (and non-Fans) submit a photo around your promotion’s theme (cute baby, winter wonderland, etc) and then share your promotion with their network, asking them to vote for their entry.
You get the email addresses of all the entrants as well as every one of the people who vote. And, like a referral promotion, a lot of the work is done for you.
Top, Page-Growing Tip: A fantastic way to drive Facebook Likes is to add a “Like-Prompt” entry popup on your promotion’s landing page. Well within Facebook’s regulations, this popup asks page visitors to Like your page (but doesn’t require it).
4. Facebook Coupons
Facebook coupons are the simplest promotion type out there – but making them “Facebook exclusive” can yield some serious results.
Discounts are the greatest motivator for Facebook users to Like a brand page. In 2012 (and I doubt it’s changed much since then), Mashable found that 34% of Facebook users were motivated by “Promotions & Discounts.” 21% (the second-place motivation) cited “Free Giveaways” as their motivation:
To learn more about Facebook-exclusive promotions and how powerful they can be for your business, check out my article “How to Use a Fan-Only Promotion to Turn Followers into Leads.”
Facebook Marketing for Small Business – Advertising
Facebook Ads aren’t just an inevitable part of marketing on Facebook, they’re also a good business decision.
Let’s do some math…
Let’s say an hour of your time is worth $50.
To create posts which reach 1000 users within your target market, you’d need to spend at least an hour a day, every day, for a week.
To expose your brand to 1000 targeted Facebook users, you can advertise and pay by “impression” – about $10. To drive 75 or so targeted, qualified prospective customers to your site you can pay by click, about $50.
Maximizing the Affordability of Facebook Ads
For a small business, budget is always a big part of planning a marketing campaign. Here are a few of the most influential ways to maximize the return you get from your Facebook Ad campaigns…
1. Target Smart:
Your targeted Facebook audience should be between 50 and 200,000 people – specific enough to be people very likely to be interested in your offer, broad enough for the low click-through-rate (most Facebook ads average .05-.1%) to work.
2. Rotate your Ad Creative:
Most prospective customers need to see your business’ offer before they’ll even consider clicking through on it. In Facebook advertising, this is referred to as “Frequency” – the number of times (on average) the people within your target audience have seen your ad on their newsfeed.
Your Facebook Ad click-through-rate is going to be significantly higher if you don’t show the same exact ad over and over again to the same Facebook user. Instead, create two or three ads (with the same offer) and rotate them to the same audience over the course of your campaign.
Snapshot from my full article on this subject:
For instance, let’s say your company is advertising men’s shower gel. You decide to rotate in a weekend-focused variation of advertisement on Friday: “Going out tonight? Smell like you’re trying with Acme Mens Body Wash.’ Watch the ‘Clicks’ line to see if the text change resulted in a CTR increase, or if your basic text is still competitive.
For more on this, check out “4 Ways to Combat Facebook Ad Fatigue.”
3. Optimize the Page that Ad Traffic is Being Sent To:
This should not be your homepage. That’s worth repeating… Do not send your Facebook Ad traffic to your homepage.
Instead, send it to a landing page built specifically for the ad campaign you’re running.
There’s no point in spending a single dime on Facebook Ads if the traffic you’re sending to your website isn’t converting. Optimize the page they’re going to before hitting “Publish” on your ad, or you’ll just be tossing money down the drain.
To see some examples of landing pages built specifically for visitors coming from Facebook Ads, check out my article “3 Examples of Landing Pages Optimized for Facebook Ad Traffic.” Alternatively, check out “5 Facebook Ad and Landing Page Combinations Critiqued.”
For more on Facebook Ads, check out The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads.
Wrapping it Up
Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea of how your small business can find success with Facebook marketing. Your target market is on Facebook, you just have to reach them.
And believing that Facebook can be ignored in favor of other social media platforms is, as yet, a pipe dream. We’re talking about 1.79 billion monthly users. That’s more than the combined total monthly usage of Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, Pinterest and Linkedin. It cannot be ignored as a viable marketing platform.
So good luck! And let me know if you have any questions!
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