Facebook has graduated beyond the incubation phase and has proven itself as a top trend in digital marketing. If you’re still waiting for that definitive, glowing neon sign on the highway to tell you that Facebook is legit, you’re already too late. Marketing small businesses on Facebook is no longer a question of “Should I,” but a matter of “How do I? “
The answer to this “How” is the skeleton key to the seemingly-impenetrable lock on achieving success with your social media marketing strategies. With posts from all of the businesses (both small and large), celebrities, news outlets, startups and your Aunt Sue’s propagating the social media landscape with their messages, it becomes increasingly hard to stand out and make your own Facebook marketing messages generate “likes”.
From the perspective of a small business, this may cast the shroud of doubt named, “Should I ever bother?“ The answer is and will remain, for the foreseeable future, yes. For a budding, small business, the challenge is only intensified. First, you have to prove you deserve a seat at the table at all. Then, you have to showcase why that seat should be near the head of the table.
The following list of strategies aims to answer this equivocal “how” of a small business looking to leverage a Facebook marketing strategy to improve their business practices.
Tip #1: Invest in Facebook’s Marketing Tools
There’s a lot of strategies in Digital Marketing that require a substantial investment and thereby keep the small business world at bay, like the non-VIPs on the far side of the fuzzy rope at a nightclub. Social Media is not one of these exclusive clubs. But, that means it attracts more competition and, thereby, a higher need for brands to innovate and learn on their own creativity and ingenuity to stand out in the crowd.
The first strategy is to utilize the tools set out by Facebook itself. Facebook is designed with a number of tools that help any business market themselves. This toolset includes things like branded profile pages, paid advertising (which can target locals in your immediate area and even allow you to segment those people by their interests), data-rich metrics into how your social media efforts are performing and more. Each of these tactics requires little-to-no financial investment, but promise helpful lessons on how to improve.
Tip #2: Diverse Content Strategies for Social Media
“Content Marketing” is a term that’s often used in Digital Marketing. Some of content marketing’s most recognizable hits are things like helpful blog content on how to effectively use Facebook, how-to articles on how to turn wood pallets into a rustic coffee table and top ten lists about the life-altering powers of kale. Playing these greatest hits is effective, just like we can still listen to the oldies and groove, but the modern customer is looking for that next hit track, which sometimes means throwing out some of the old handbook and looking at some new strategies.
A diverse content strategy means producing these blogs, how-to’s and other overused content types, while simultaneously blending the expected with the not-so-typical interactive videos, infographics, polls, surveys, contests and other content types. This will help your brand standout among the bustling bazaar of businesses sharing tired blog content.
Leveraging less common content types attracts people because it breaks up the monotony of their otherwise-routine, social media newsfeed.
Tip #3: Data, Data, Data
Facebook is a treasure trove of data and failing to utilize this social media platform means risking losing out on valuable, data-born insights on how to improve business. Facebook is one of the first places consumers go to complain and raise issues about a brand and their products. Being present and active on Facebook means opening up a line of communication with your customers where these grievances can be aired, discussed and addressed.
As pat-on-the-back worthy as a positive customer sentiment is, it’s the negative comments that allow a business to learn, improve and grow. In the Digital Age, consumer attitudes change more frequently than a snake sheds its skin (2-4 times a year, in case you were wondering). Businesses not only have to adapt to meet these frequent changes but do so quickly and effortlessly.
Data enables this. It allows business to gain a fuller picture of what consumers are saying and expecting, how they are reacting to current efforts and how those efforts can be improved to meet the most up-to-date expectations of audiences.
Tip #4: Learn When the Best Time to Post Is
One of the most valuable insights you can gain from a data-informed social media approach is knowing when your target audiences are active on their social media accounts. Or, when is the optimal time to float your social media marketing messages onto the ever-flowing stream that is your audience’s newsfeed. This helps ensure that your social media-based messages reach the target at the time that is convenient for them and they are open to receiving branded content.
A genuine obstacle of this tip is understanding that peak user activity does not necessarily correlate with the optimal time to post. Again, social media is a crowded lagoon of businesses all vying for attention on an overpopulated platform. Many of your competitors are likely slugging it out for notice during the same time slot, which means the competition is thick.
Rather than focus solely on the peak times that your users are active, also look for periods of time where they are less active, but so are your competitors. This will increase the likelihood that you attract attention.
Tip #5: Pay Attention to The Competition
Facebook and social media, in general, is a curious channel to market through because of how much access you have to your competitors and their tactics. This is a dimension of Facebook marketing that is often overlooked by businesses because their other tactics don’t have this exclusive look into the other team’s playbook. It almost feels like cheating on a final exam, except it’s not.
Paying attention to your competitors’ social media efforts has a number of benefits. First, it’s a comparable way to see how your individual strategies matchup. Who’s better than who at marketing on social media? It’s also a glimpse at when, where and what your competition is posting. This will make it easier to target the types of content and time frames where competition is weak and therefore a greater chance to capitalize on these underrepresented areas.
You may even be inspired by some of their content and be able to repurpose their strategies within your own organization. For small businesses, this reuse and recycle mentality will help save money and allow you to take advantage of other companies and their research into effective social media practices.
Tip #6: Sync Social Media Based Promotions, Contests and Coupons to Your Retail POS System
Facebook is a great outlet to promote your business, in particular through exclusive, Facebook-only deals and contests. These offers encourage customers to visit your store, even when they weren’t originally planning on it. Utilizing Facebook-based discounts and offers may require you to update your retail POS machine or invest in a mobile-friendly solution, as customers will typically use their smartphone device to redeem these offers and make mobile payments.
By syncing these promotional giveaways and coupons to your POS system, you’ll also be able to track how many of your customers are taking advantage of these offers and which types of deals are most attractive. This valuable information can help you make more enticing offers in the future and even bring more followers to your small business Facebook page.
Tip #7: Always Be Looking for New Facebook Marketing Trends And Strategies
Once upon a time, being “good” at Facebook, as a brand, meant posting all the time. That is, thankfully, no longer true. Companies are encouraged to post often, but not at the rate that was once revered as ‘best practice.’ This shift was caused by Facebook changing the way that it displays messages in the newsfeeds of its users, in an effort to improve their experience by cutting down on some of this branded noise. The point is that Facebook is prone to change and knowing when a new change is coming, what that change will be and how you can adapt to it will help you improve your efforts on this social media channel.
By looking to the future of Facebook trends, you can ensure that you’re always on the cutting edge and providing the social media experience that your customers are looking for from a brand.
Facebook is a valuable marketing tool that is inexpensive and perfect for small businesses. Yet, many businesses struggle with using Facebook effectively, which means they aren’t able to make the most out of this social media platform. The tips included in this guide will help you avoid being another business struggling to stand out amongst the crowded Facebook environment. Instead, you’ll be front and center, right where customers, both new and old, can find you.