By Kevin Howell
Chances are, your business is all over social media. And by all over I mean you have a couple of social media accounts (your activity on them is another story—but I get it, you’re busy).
If you’re somewhat active in the realm, your business is probably on Facebook, because, who isn’t? And if you stay up to date on social media trends, or read a blog about it here and there, you’ve probably heard things like:
Facebook is useless for your business
No one can see your business’ posts on Facebook
If you don’t pay to boost your posts, no one sees you on Facebook
Get off Facebook, now!
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Look, I get it. Facebook isn’t the same for businesses as it was in the good old days of 2012. Zuckerberg changes the algorithm every six months, and with each tweak, critics tell small business owners to flee the largest social media platform (1.65 billion users), with the most active user base (62% of all social logins).
Yes, leave all those potential customers to your competition.
I get it. Attracting attention on Facebook is becoming harder and more costly. Your posts are less likely to show up in users’ newsfeeds organically. More and more, Facebook wants you to boost your posts, which is a nice way to say, “Pay for people to see your stuff.”
The naysayers claim this will kill your advertising budget, something small businesses can’t afford. For you, that may be true. Boosting posts may be detrimental. But those who understand digital marketing, and particularly content marketing, know that broad brush advice on marketing is never wise to follow.
Here’s why it’s not time to abandon your small business’ Facebook page.
YOUR AUDIENCE STILL HANGS OUT THERE
Your business is about your customers. And social media and content marketing are about reaching a specific target audience. You need to know where that target audience hangs out on the internet.
By doing research and reviewing analytics.
Just because Facebook has a bajillion users doesn’t mean your customers are active in Zuckerberg-land. But if they are, it would be foolish to abandon the platform.
Facebook has some of the best page analytics tools. Review your stats to see how many active customers you have, reviewing your reach and engagement.
If your page is converting, drawing traffic to your site, and engaging users, don’t abandon it.
If your page isn’t doing as well as it should, it doesn’t mean you should dismiss it. If your target audience isn’t interacting with your page, but it still is active on Facebook, maybe you should adjust your strategy instead of taking your ball and leaving the park.
Just because Zuck changes the rules doesn’t mean you stop playing the game. And you don’t necessarily have to pay to stay in the game.
You’re a savvy business owner, learn to connect in unique ways.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY
Critics say that your content won’t be visible unless you boost your posts or pay for a targeted ad. While paying does expand your reach, it’s not the only way to infiltrate your audience’s newsfeeds.
Just like personal Facebook pages, the people you interact with the most will show up in your newsfeed regularly. Likewise, if a user reads your business’ posts, comments on them, and clicks your links, Facebook notices that interaction and keeps your page in that user’s feed.
There are several non-profit organizations I follow on Facebook who don’t spend a cent on engagement, yet I see their posts daily.
Because I constantly like their content, share it, or comment on it. Their content is valuable to me and interesting enough that it leads me to engage with it.
If you’re providing content that your audience can’t scroll past, and it’s so valuable that they want to share it, you won’t need a boost.
Maybe the critics don’t know how to create engaging content, that’s why they’re abandoning ship.
START A GROUP
If you know your target audience is on Facebook and your business page isn’t getting the traction you like, there is another approach to engage customers—Facebook Groups.
Facebook groups remain popular for users and usually have way more interaction than business pages. This is where you get to the nuts and bolts of content marketing strategy.
Groups are created around a topic or interest and provide a platform for users to ask questions, share ideas, opinions, and useful resources. This is a perfect place for small businesses to engage their target audience. [Check out these 9 reasons to start a Facebook group by The Foundation]
The thing is, you can’t start a group with your business; it has to be an individual user. And you shouldn’t use this as a group about your business or to promote your business. It should be about your potential customer’s pain points.
Again, this will take a little research before you get started. Find out the problems, questions, and topics your target audience discusses. You can do this by hanging out in other Facebook groups, or other platforms, such as Quora, Reddit, or other social media sites.
Then, join the discussions on those platforms, provide answers, helpful links, and other resources. Then you create your Facebook group and invite people to join.
In the group, you can make your own rules, moderate it, and post links from your business page, blog, and website. It’s another way to engage with your target audience where they hang out without opening your pocket.
Facebook is constantly changing, and it’s no secret the machine wants businesses to pay for users to see their posts. But that’s no reason to abandon the platform, nor does it mean you have to drain your advertising budget to stay relevant.
First, make sure your target audience is on the platform, and if it is, be creative in how you reach it. The changes may drive some businesses away, but it just means be best businesses who produce the best content will thrive.
Hopefully, that’s you.