You’re Doing It Wrong: Facebook Marketing for Small Business
With nearly 10 billion users, Facebook is easily the most well known social network on earth. If Facebook were a country with a seat at the U.N., it would have the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook (should we call it Facebookistan?) has some unique customs and norms, and you need to understand and follow them so that you can maximize the site’s potential as a tool for promoting and expanding your business. When I see small businesses faceplant on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t invest the time to learn Facebookistan’s customs.
What makes Facebook so unique among all social networks? It’s the fact users of the site have solid connections with each other. Folks are connected with their best friends, their immediate family members as well as their close relatives. They share intimate aspects of their lives. Stuff like:
- Birthday Celebrations
- Exam Results
- Baby Photos
- Wedding Announcements
What does this mean for small businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you’ll need to be low-key and conscientious in your approach. You can’t apply the old kinds of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to listen to your hard sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and welcomed.
Keep it real (for real)
If you are trying to port the old model of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. “With Facebook, business owners of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokesperson. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, so if your company is not being authentic or engaging with users in a fashion that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”
Don’t be fooled: It’s meant to be hard
Don’t be fooled by social media “gurus” who make ridiculous promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is about building relationships and influence—and this requires time. Many organizations believe that when they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they have to do. Marketing on Facebook can be an extremely effective way to reach local customers (we wouldn’t be talking about it if it weren’t). But here’s the rub: it’s also difficult (and rewarding) if you’re doing it correctly. The payback is well worth the investment in time and attention. According to a study from Social Media Examiner, nearly two-thirds of small businesses involved in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing success, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of involvement.