Small business marketers' advice on Facebook
Previously, marketers have been advising small businesses to use social media tools, especially Facebook, to communicate to their customers, as it is very cost-efficient. However, due to the recent changes that Facebook made to it news feeds, leading to customers unable to view businesses’ updates on their feeds, might be challenging to “reach” customers. These changes disappointed small business owners as it made them felt like they are being forced to pay for advertising when social media was somewhat supposed to be free.
One food delivery company was so upset and even publicly “breaks up” with Facebook. Marketers too, felt that these changes are really putting small businesses at disadvantage. On the other hand, author, Peter Shankman mentioned in his book that it was certain that this free ride for small companies would come to an end, as Facebook is also a business that requires delivering returns to their shareholders. Therefore, they have to find new ways to generate profits. He even said that business of any size should not have the mindset of “there is not such thing such free lunch”.
Facebook’s communication director commented that Facebook did not promise businesses that anyone who “liked” a business page would get to see every single post and that the changes were done not for revenue purposes. Of course, he encouraged business owners to buy advertisements to gain more exposure to “guarantee” people to see if they cannot do it through regular postings.
For small business owners who do not want to pay for the ads, here are some tips that you might consider using:
1. The more relevant your post is, the more likely your followers will see it. For example, “Mother’s Day Sale starting now” instead of “What are you doing on this summer”.
2. Timing is key. Posting at 6 in the morning is more unlikely to get as much likes and comments as posting at 5 in the afternoon. And the more likes and comments you get, your post moves up on the news feed.
3. You can encourage your “likers” to change their setting on Facebook so that they can see all your posts.
All in all, even though Facebook isn’t that “free of charge” anymore, we urge you not to drop this mode of communication as your existing and potential customers are still there. The speed of word-of-mouth on social media is still very fast and can get you further.