When looking to build a small business nowadays, you can't overlook social media. More specifically, you need to focus strongly on Facebook, which is, by far, the largest social media site with more than 2 billion users. When it comes to marketing on Facebook, however, it's important to identify the strategy that's right for your business. Small businesses also need to work within their budgets. Here are some of the best ways to build Facebook engagement for your small business today:
1. Broadcast Live
Facebook Live is one of the best ways to engage with your followers. It lets you stand out from the overcrowded Facebook timeline and engage with your followers in real time. Letting people see you live is a way to build your brand and let you share a little of your personality with your followers. People tend to trust you more when they can actually see and interact with you. A big advantage of this approach is that you can actually talk to people and respond to their questions and comments. You can use this feature in many ways:
Describe your latest product or service.
Broadcast live from an event such as a conference, festival, or convention.
Give customers an insider's view of your business.
Display features of homes or properties if you're in the real estate or hospitality industry.
2. Create Facebook Stories
With Facebook Stories, you can connect with your followers with content that they might not see if you simply posted it on your timeline. It's getting more and more difficult to have your regular posts seen. Aside from all the competition, Facebook's algorithm is now designed to favor social rather than promotional content. Stories, however, which started on Snapchat but then grew quickly on both Instagram and Facebook, are featured at the top of users' timelines.
You can create Stories from your Facebook business page. If you have both a personal account and business page, be sure to promote your business from the business page. The main point to remember about Stories is that they are only visible for 24 hours so they should include timely content. You can use them to talk about your latest products and other business news or to simply chat with your followers about topics that concern them.
3. Invest in Facebook Ads
Small businesses with limited budgets may hesitate before investing in online advertising. Facebook, however, provides you with many convenient options to target a very specific audience. Whether you want to reach men in their 20's, moms with toddlers, retirees, or college students, you can target your audience by age, gender, geography, interests, and other criteria. The other great thing about Facebook advertising is that you have complete control of your budget. You can start with a daily spending limit of as little as $1 per day.
There are many types of advertising options on Facebook. You can sponsor your posts, link click ads, video ads, and boosted page ads (to send more traffic to your Facebook business page). You can also promote your Facebook Stories. These and other ad types can be powerful for attracting new leads and customers. They're also good for building brand exposure.
4. Join or Start a Group
Facebook groups are another powerful feature that not enough small businesses use to their advantage. You can search for groups that match your industry or a specific interest by clicking on the Groups tab. There, you can search by category or by keywords. Before joining a group for marketing purposes, make sure it's large and active enough to be worth the effort. Groups with only a handful of members who only post occasionally won't help you much. Search for groups with at least 100 members where there are at least a few new topics per week.
Another possibility is to create a new group of your own. This is easy and free to do. It's a good option if you can't find a suitable group or you want to use your own group to build your brand. Monitoring your group will take some effort as it's important to start new topics and respond to members' posts. Whether you're joining or starting a group, the key is to provide value and contribute to the discussion. Never use groups to simply promote your business. Answering questions and establishing your credibility is an effective way to promote your business all on its own.
5. Create a Facebook Contest
Contests are a fun way to engage with your followers and gain new ones. You can create all types of contests to motivate people to participate and even share your contest with their friends. Photo and video contests are always popular. The theme could be related to your product or industry or it could be seasonal, such as summer vacation or related to the holidays.
When running a Facebook contest, be sure that you don't violate Facebook's TOS. For example, you can't force people to share the contest on their timelines as a condition for entering (though many may do this voluntarily if the contest is appealing). Keep in mind that TOS are frequently updated, so be sure to check the rules before moving forward.
6. Use an Omni-channel Marketing Strategy
To get the most out of Facebook, make it part of an omni-channel approach. This means connecting your various marketing channels and platforms so they support one another. Remember that your customers and prospects, in addition to using Facebook, also search on Google, read emails, and probably use several other social media sites. If you take advantage of this, you'll get even more out of Facebook.
Link to your Facebook page in your email signature.
Place a Facebook icon on your website to send traffic to your page.
List your Facebook page on your business cards, brochures, and other offline marketing materials.
Be sure to promote your Facebook page on all your marketing channels such as videos, podcasts, webinars, and e-books.
Facebook is now an essential tool for small businesses. It gives you a chance to implement many effective and low-cost marketing strategies. Even if you decide to invest in paid advertising, you can start small and scale up as your business grows.
Keep in mind that people log onto Facebook mainly for socializing, entertainment, and helpful information. They're not eager to be hit with lots of hype and aggressive selling tactics. With all of your Facebook marketing strategies, focus on delivering value and making a genuine connection with your followers.