So you’re starting a new business. You have your business plan, you’ve done extensive customer research and your website is almost fully built. But wait, you realise you haven’t set up your social media accounts.
Before you can decide on content, you have to choose the channels you want to use. Sounds easy, right? But choosing the right social media for your business isn’t as simple as simply selecting the most popular channels. Ask yourself some fundamental questions before committing to a new platform.
Choosing the right social media for your business
First and foremost, you need to ask: Who’s your audience? Part of understanding your customer-base is knowing which social media platforms they use. When you know this, you need to dig a bit deeper.
- How do your customers use the platform?
- What times are customers most likely to be active?
- How much brand engagement do they typically receive?
After you answer these questions, consider how your business plans to use the platform. For instance, what are your marketing objectives? Are you looking to increase visits to your website, or just grow a solid social following? Are you looking to entice people to your premises, or advertise to them directly through the social network? The answers to all of these questions will play a decisive role in the social media platforms you select.
So, you (hopefully) already have a strong understanding of your audience and your business goals. The only thing left is to understand the platforms themselves. This week, we’re looking at the pros and cons of Facebook for your business.
FACEBOOK: The stats
With a whopping 2.41 billion monthly active users (MAU), Facebook is the biggest social media network by a healthy margin. It’s also pretty popular with independent businesses (over 50 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with customers). The social media behemoth has honed its advertising platform to a tee, while organic reach can still top 10% on quality content. That’s probably why 42% of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their business.
Build brand loyalty: First and foremost, Facebook is about relationships. The platform was designed to allow people to create relationships and maintain contact with old friends. This makes it ideal for building brand loyalty and interacting with followers on an individual level. Just as in life, using social media for your business requires building trust, and Facebook is one of the best platforms to use.
Regular users mean regular engagement: It’s not just the culture of friendship that drives engagement on Facebook. The platform’s popularity means every time you post there’s a good chance a number of your followers will see it. 74% of those who use Facebook visit the site daily and that bodes well for brands hoping to integrate themselves into a followers daily life.
Events give you more scope: Facebook is as much a tool for connecting friends as it is customers with brands. That makes it ideal for launching events. Followers usually acknowledge an event invitation through the platform. That expands the reach of the event and can potentially introduce your brand to others who otherwise wouldn’t see it.
Ads have never been more cost-effective: Facebook’s decreased average ad prices and increased ad impressions offer a unique opportunity for businesses. Sure, it requires steady investment and strong social media ad copy. But if a £40 ad campaign brings twenty new customers into your shop, or into your sales funnel, it’s a small price to pay.
Increased competition = limited reach: Facebook’s popularity is a double-edged sword. Sure, you have 2.4 billion potential users to reach, but you also have significantly more competition. With five new profiles created every second and 300 million new photo uploads per day, standing out from the sea of other content isn’t easy.
Organic reach is low: Not only is Facebook a highly competitive marketing arena, but it’s also geared to paid advertising. Companies sharing unpaid (or organic) posts will be lucky to get 10% reach. For Facebook, this was a logical decision; after all, why would people pay for ads if they get the same reach for free? For businesses with a limited budget, this presents a challenge, albeit one that can be overcome with some technical know-how.
Regular moderation requires time: Just as you can talk directly to customers, your customers can interact directly with you. That’s great when followers are singing your praises, not so much when they’re a disgruntled customer. For small businesses, this means setting aside a few minutes each day to respond. But as your business grows, responding to interactions will become more time-consuming. It’s vital to consider the scalability of your Facebook presence before you launch.
There’s a reason Facebook is one of the most popular social media marketing platforms. The reach, affordability and targeting capabilities make engaging with customers simple and cost-effective. Running paid ad campaigns can increase brand loyalty, convert warm leads and even bag sales from new customers.
But wait! Before setting up your company page, make sure the Facebook approach aligns with your target audience and business objectives.