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Small Business Tips

Using Facebook to Grow Your Small Business

Marin Perez

There's a great chance that your customers (and potential customers) are using Facebook. But we know that you may not have the time to devote to see if the world's largest social network is worth the effort for your business. We've put together some easy-to-follow tips on how to use Facebook for small business.

How to use Facebook for small business: 4 tips for success

Facebook for small business owners can be a powerful tool. But, don't just use it for the sake of using it. Really think about the end results you want to drive from Facebook and then dedicate the time and resources accordingly.

1. Create and manage your FB page

The first step on how to use Facebook for your small business is to claim and manage your page. If you haven't set up a page, here's a quick tutorial:

  • Go to this page (you'll have to be logged into your Facebook account) and select the type of business you're in and fill out the appropriate details.
  • Finish your "About" Section with 2-3 sentences that best describe your business. Don't forget to put a link to your website, if you have one.
  • Upload a profile picture that you want to represent the business. The ideal size is 180 x 180 pixels but nearly any square photo will do. I recommend making it as clear and good looking as possible.
  • Add a cover photo. The official photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels but you can crop any wide-angle photo you may want. This is the larger photo that will greet visitors when they visit your page.
  • Start sharing content.

If you need to claim your page, you can do that here. If somebody else has created a page for your business and is in violation of your intellectual property or trademark, you can make a complaint here.

2. Grow your audience by sharing stuff that's relevant

One way to use Facebook to boost your small business is by growing your audience. A message delivered on a page with more Likes (or followers) will be seen by more people. It has the opportunity to show up in more people's feeds, as well as potentially be shared by more people.

Your audience count may grow because your customers absolutely love you (congrats!). But for the rest of us, you'll have to put some effort into growing your audience.

A good way to do this is by sharing posts that deliver value. These posts could include a variety of topics. It could be information about your business, a new sale or even some interesting pictures you've found. I'd steer clear of controversial topics like politics but use your best judgment. Just remember, your Facebook page represents your brand.

Tip: Don't just share stuff that's overtly promotional. Try to mix it up with relevant news items, questions, pictures and more. Think of it like being your customer's friend: you wouldn't want to be friends with somebody who only promotes themselves in every conversation.

3. Answer and engage with your community

Even if you never grow a gigantic audience, Facebook can still be a valuable way to connect with and engage customers.

Two of the biggest ways you can use Facebook to engage with your community is by answering questions and troubleshooting problems. Even if your small business has a phone number and email, many customers prefer asking questions via Facebook.

These could be simple questions like store hours or item availability, or it could be complex questions. Whatever the case, it's important to try and answer these questions. These are people who are showing interest and intent in your business. It's likely easier to get them to convert into customers than someone who hasn't shown interest and intent.

Facebook can also be a great way for your customers to ask for help or complain about your business. As with Yelp, I'd advise you to engage with negative commenters in a polite fashion. Aim to turn them from detractors into advocates. But know that some people just want to be nasty on the Internet. Feel free to delete comments or block certain people from commenting after you've made a good-faith effort to turn them around.

Hearing from your Facebook followers can also help inform future business decisions or products. For example, MileIQ often receives feature requests from Facebook and some wind up making its way into the product.

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4. Consider using Facebook advertising

I've been using Facebook brand pages for a while. I can tell you that the organic reach the amount the audience sees in their News Feed‚ has dipped dramatically over the past few years. You may want to consider using Facebook advertising to boost your brand page and your business. This can lead to indirect and direct ways to grow your small business.

Facebook says its ads can help you reach your business goals. Those could include driving online sales, increase local sales, promoting an app or raising brand awareness. With Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, mobile install ads and more, Facebook has a plethora of ads you could potentially use. We'll focus on some basics to know and you can choose the right product for your business.

Define your advertising ROI

Simply pouring money into any advertising (print ads, digital, radio spots or billboards) and hoping it works is a recipe for disaster. Before you dive into Facebook advertising, be sure you have a way of measuring your ROI for advertising.

It's not always possible to tie advertising to direct sales or business growth but you have to try. It could be as simple as asking customers "How did you hear about us?"

Define your objective

When starting a Facebook ad, you'll be asked to define your objective. These are grouped into three major categories:

  • Awareness: Boost your posts, promote your page, reach people near your business and increase brand awareness.
  • Consideration: Send people to your website, get installs for your app, raise attendance at your event, get video views, collect leads to your business
  • Conversion: Increase conversions on your website, increase engagement in your app, get people to claim your offer, promote a product catalog.

Figure out what your goals for this campaign and then choose which Facebook page you want to promote (some of you may manage multiple pages for various businesses).

Targeting correctly, setting your budget

Along with its massive audience, Facebook provides some excellent targeting capabilities for its advertisements. You can slice and dice your audience to make sure your ad is only being seen by your ideal customers.

Depending on your business and potential customers, I'd suggest targeting a relatively small audience at first. This is especially true if you're trying to drive customers to your local business. When choosing between mobile and desktop ads, know that Facebook has over a billion mobile users per month. With that said, you'll want to consider what type of business you have and how that fits into the person receiving the ad.

You can then set your budget for the ads and choose which formats you want them to be. Facebook uses an ads auction system where you choose how much you're willing to pay to have your ad shown to the audience you've specified.

Measure your results

Facebook provides you with detailed metrics on your results. This can include how each ad performed, how much it cost to reach each user, how much it cost to get users to click or download, and a whole lot more. But, it’s your responsibility to figure out how those metrics line up with your own business metrics.

For example, let's say you have a real estate business and use Facebook ads to source new customers. In order to truly measure the results, you'll want to know:

  • The number of leads came from Facebook ads
  • How many of those leads turned into customers
  • What was the cost to acquire each customer
  • How did the Facebook ads perform on a cost-per-customer basis
  • How does that compare to other advertising channels

These are the basic metrics you should know. You can then get more granular and try to optimize each step.

Managing your time: Facebook for small business

There are businesses who have full-time workers managing Facebook pages and Facebook advertising. You likely don't have the time or resources for that. So, how do small business owners know how much time to dedicate to Facebook?

There are a few lessons you can apply from the post, Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners. First off, consider the time-benefit analysis of Facebook for your small business. Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Do you have a business that fits well to this type of advertising?
  • Are the time and resources spent on these advertisements worth the opportunity costs?
  • Could you delegate this to an employee with a set budget and ROI metrics?

Read through a few of the Facebook success stories and you'll see that it can be a powerful way to grow your small business. But like all advertising, there's no guaranteed success. Hopefully, this guide has helped you and please share any tips or best practices in the comments.

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