Maybe you’ve noticed the slow but sure exodus of small businesses from Facebook.
Or maybe you haven’t. And that’s exactly why they’re leaving.
In January of 2015, Facebook started scaling back the amount of business page posts that were shown in their fans’ News Feeds. This drastically changed the way Facebook works. News Feeds had less promotional content and more shared media from friends, and businesses that didn’t pay for advertising found themselves drifting into obscurity on the social network.
Thus, a year later, we’re seeing more and more businesses throwing in the towel. To them, Facebook just isn’t worth it anymore.
But I think that’s the wrong approach
Yeah, by all accounts Facebook isn’t what it used to be. And yes, for businesses it really kind of sucks. But it’s still a super-charged marketing tool because everyone and their mother uses it. You just have to be smart about how you make it profitable for your business.
You need a new mentality
Facebook has traditionally been good for businesses to do two things: Interact with customers and acquire new ones. Some businesses have even been built and maintained through Facebook alone. In spite of Facebook’s changes, those actions are still possible. You just have to adjust your approach.
Here are three ways to use Facebook to effectively attract and interact with customers:
Treat your Facebook page like a website homepage
Even though you’re not getting a lot of visibility on your posts, potential buyers will often check your Facebook page before committing to a purchase. This is especially true if your website is on the minimalist side and they want more information. Your customers want to learn more about you and how you work, and Facebook pages definitely still provide that.
Post regularly, even if it’s just a few times a week. Share any new blog posts, a few photos, some quotes, anything that shows off your brand’s personality and what you’re all about. (At the end of this post I’ll let you know my secret to generating post ideas!)
Use Facebook ads
Like Google ads, you can acquire new customers by paying for visibility. The trick, then, is using those ads to get a real return on your money. Facebook is actually exception at generating leads if you take the time to learn how.
There are a few different types of Facebook ads, but if your page has only a small following, you’ll want to start with page like ads. This will help you promote your page to individuals in your target market. Then, you can start promoting your product or service. It’ll be much cheaper – and more effective – to run ads targeting your current fans than to put ads in front of an audience who’s never heard of you before.
Interact with your community in Facebook Groups
Your Facebook page is like the homepage of your website. It shows at a glance who you are and why your business is valuable to your target audience. But visibility isn’t great. How can you fix that? Get people into a Facebook Group.
A Facebook Group is a community. Anyone you let in can post, so it’s up to you to set and enforce the rules while encouraging discussion. The benefit is that if you build a place where your members feel they can go to get their questions answered, you’ll be able to gently (GENTLY) promote your own products and services. Plus, if you’re a people person, they’re just fun.
One of the best models for this is a closed Facebook Group. Anyone can find it, but you have to approve who gets to see and post content. Focus it on a wide topic that intersects your audience’s interests and your products. A shining example is the Facebook community “Screw the Nine to Five,” run by a husband and wife duo who have build a few independent businesses and are now creating a space for people who want to quit their jobs and strike out on their own. This intersects perfectly with their products, which are all courses on marketing techniques for business growth.
Not sure what to post?
I’ve put together a list of 16 Facebook post types that small businesses can use to flesh out their Facebook page. And I’m making this cheat-sheet totally free to download.