FACEBOOK TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS: FREE RIDE OR PAY TO PLAY?

Is the day of Facebook freeloading over? Can you continue to ride on the back of this powerful social medium? Or is it time to face the fact that to get more customers, you’re just going to have to pay the price that Facebook ads demand? The answer to this is a definitive “maybe,” depending on where your company is and where you want it to be.

Neophyte or Social Pro? Something for Every Species of Marketer.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of information out there on leveraging the power of social media, and your Facebook advertising campaign in particular. But you really have to assess where you are on the Facebook food chain. If you’re just starting out, you may want to get comfortable by foraging for some of the low-hanging fruit organic reach offers. But if you’ve had your company out there for a while, it may be time to take a deeper dive, ante up and get serious with Facebook ads. Either way, there is something for every small business when considering Facebook.

Is Organic Reach on Its Way to Extinction?

There are some significant indicators that results of pure organic reach are on the wane. It has been reported by one social media tool developer that the number of visits on a publisher’s Facebook page is down more than 50% from mid-January 2016-mid-January 2017. And as we’ve reported in our Facebook Ads eBook, Facebook itself has said that you can expect Facebook organic reach to eventually arrive at zero. Of course, marketing cynics can take that as a self-serving statement to encourage investing in paid Facebook advertising. Our own experience as an advertising agency managing multiple Facebook business accounts supports the notion that organic is getting a bit tired.

Chances are that if you stay solely with an organic strategy, you’ll be fighting over the scraps, rather feasting on better reach and engagement. Again, the question is what has your small business done, what can it afford to do, and what can it afford not to do?

Facebook Ads: The More You Know, the More You Grow.

There are many more arguments for Facebook advertising than against. When you “pay to play,” you can take advantage of the following data-based and business-building tools, including marketing fitness during the shift to mobile access:

  • Facebook Custom Audiences integrates some Facebook code into your website, so you can reinforce the impact of your Facebook ads.
  • Facebook Lookalike Audiences, offering sophisticated audience analytics by location, gender, age and interests, empowering you to target those who are more likely to buy what you’re selling.
  • Facebook Insights provides lots of great information about your page and it’s delivered through Facebook Insights manager.
  • New Facebook mobile tools, built around mobile apps, these tools can help you find your best prospective customers.
  • Mobile lead generation and follow-up integrated with Facebook Ads streamlines the whole customer acquisition process via CRM apps.

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Whoa! Organic Can Still Pull Its Weight.

Despite the trends and the pundits, there will always be organic tactics that small businesses can employ. This is not cheaping out; it’s taking advantage of what’s offered to you – for free. Please understand that if one of your goals (as it should be with social media) is to build community and engagement, this won’t happen overnight. Our approach with clients is to use Facebook Ads to increase awareness and build a community of targeted fans first. And while building this community, you create relevant content that is true to your brand and follows these best practices to increase engagement:

  • (Good) content is still king. If your content is well targeted, well written and relevant you your audience, it will draw. Facebook penalizes companies with content that’s over-promotional. Compete for clicks by making sure your copy “fits” your audience.
  • Personalization and humanization attracts and promotes. By including photos and stories about the people that power your company, you are capitalizing on the human side of small business.
  • Cash in on organic data. Yes, you can still get lots of data from organic Facebook. Granted, it’s not as precise and detailed as paid metrics, but it’s still valid and campaignable.
  • Use Facebook Ads Tools to Measure Organic Reach.  Even if organic reach is on the wane, it still pays to see how it’s working – or not. Hey, you might be surprised by what you find. Yes you’re paying for the service, but you’re learning lots about the value of organic reach!
  • Cross-pollination works. Call it what you want: cross-pollination, integration, collaboration or linkage. Your business Facebook page gets stronger and your Facebook ad campaign works harder when posts are shared and links flow freely between the various social media platforms.

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