Is Facebook still Useful for Small Businesses

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 9 years ago

Do businesses still like Facebook?

Facebook has evolved from the exclusive college social network of early 2000’s to the giant advertising platform of today in a relatively short time.  As a business considering using or using Facebook for advertising, it is important to stay abreast of the platform’s changes.

Is Facebook still good for your business? Before putting more time and money into the platform, here are a few things to consider:

You have to pay to play. 

Facebook’s organic reach has dropped to less than 6%, a 50% drop since 2013. That means your followers are not very likely to see your posts unless you are willing to pay to promote them. Facebook’s page reach is decreasing because of increased competition and limited attention. 

Consider the amount of resources you are willing to invest in your social media campaign. If your marketing budget is limited, Facebook might not be a great place to spend your time. Even with great posts, if you aren't willing to pay for likes and sponsored posts, you might not get much engagement from the platform.

Engagement is down.

With so many promotional posts in their news feeds, Facebook users are less likely to engage in the posts they do see. Many big brands site an approximately 1% engagement on posts. As a response the highly negative response to so many promotional posts, Facebook is further reducing the amount of Page posts viewed by users

How to boost your page’s engagement? Target specific demographics with your posts, pay attention to your most successful types of posts, and avoid content that is overly-promotional. Focus on building your brand with Facebook, and less on making sales.
Ads perform better than posts. Facebook tells us that users prefer ads to promotional posts. That doesn't mean you should quit posting, but consider using ads to sell products or for special promotional deals. Save your page posts for your useful blog posts, industry humor, or inspirational images. Post the right content in the right places for best results.

Facebook works better for personal brands. 

Remember at the infancy of Facebook Pages when many brands created a profile for their business, rather than a business page? Well, it might not be a bad idea to return to that concept. But, rather than building just a business brand, build your PERSONAL brand around your business. Think a little along the lines of Linked In. Essentially, you use a personal profile to build your brand, and vice versa. Your customers can get to know your business better through you, and it will also give you greater reach with your posts (and probably more engagement).

But, a word of caution, this isn’t right for everyone. If you tend to over-share or have extreme views on issues, this might actually hurt your brand more than it would help. But for some small businesses, such as local businesses or authors, promoting your brand to your friends and family is just as important as using a business page. 

Remember that you have alternatives.

Facebook is no longer the only option for affordable business advertising online. If your customers are searching for you on Google, having a Google My Business page with great organic content will help boost your exposure. Facebook posts do not show up in a Google search. Instagram has some of the highest engagement for brands of any platform, and is also seeing huge growth in numbers from the 13 – 24 year-old age group (a group that is decreasing on Facebook). Understand where your audience is, and invest in that particular medium.

Own your contacts.

If a free website is what you are looking for, there are many great options that will allow you to take ownership of the contacts you make. Facebook will only allow you to message your contact through their platform, following their rules. But if you create a website with a contact form, you can collect contact information and market to them directly. Without the Facebook “Big Brother” as part of the process. It might be more worth your marketing dollar to run an ad campaign through Adwords to a contact form that collects email addresses. You then own those contacts. All the Likes you collect through Facebook campaigns are owned by Facebook.

In Summary: Don’t rule Facebook out as a viable marketing tool, but also don’t consider it your only option. Consider other alternatives. 

Do you use Facebook for your business? How do you feel about the direction Facebook is going?