The number of small businesses using Facebook has almost doubled since July 2013. There are now 30 million small businesses with active brand pages on Facebook. That’s pretty much all the small businesses in the US. However, Facebook’s definition of active is that they update their brand page at least once a month. That’s not going to get much of a result. So perhaps it’s no surprise that many small business owners feel that Facebook is not working as a marketing tool.
The Audience Pool
On the consumer side there’s no doubt that Facebook is where the people are. The old wisdom that to be successful you have to fish where the fish are certainly applies to Facebook. More than half of all Americans (57%) are active on Facebook – that’s 200 million people. On average they each have 350 friends and half of them say Facebook is a good place to interact with a brand.
So if you are not at the very least experimenting with social media you’re missing a huge PR and marketing opportunity. Your customers are available online and they are talking about you and your competition. They are following brands and 80% say they think Facebook is a good place to interact with a brand. A community of loyal and engaged fans is a valuable asset.
Reaching the Audience
As a small or medium business owner, how do build that committed, loyal fan base on Facebook? How do you make sure the money you spend is not frittered away on fake accounts, useless eyeballs and lost opportunity?
Ask yourself a simple question: Do we have a solid strategy based on real data? And then figure out how you are going to cut through the myriad of posts and clutter available to your target market. The number one reason a fan unlikes a brand is dull or uninteresting content.
Facebook has been the big gorilla on the block – and with good reason. The amount of real data you can glean is amazing, but the way you are able to target specific key areas and demographics makes it a champion.
I recently had a conversation with a marketing executive at a firm and he was saying that Facebook ads don’t work for them. I had some immediate questions:
- What do the ads look like?
- Are you using the refined audience features to reach an exact demographic?
- Are you tracking the results once the people who do click the ad come to your website or Facebook page?
- What is the bounce rate?
We soon established that they were not using the platform as well as they could.
As Erik Qualmann said in Socialnomics, The question is no longer should we be doing social media -it’s are we doing it right?
By Cokey Falkow, VP for Digital Content
Meritus Media: A Digital PR agency in Los Angeles.