Facebook, and indeed other social media, is now widely accepted to be a necessary aspect of any digital marketing campaign. The benefits are clear – a chance to build your database, communicate directly with your customers and increase brand awareness among relevant audiences. Not only can you dedicate time to your business’ page, you can also invest in Facebook ads to reach potential customers who have already expressed an interest in your sector.
But is it a sufficient form of advertising in and of itself for small businesses? There is, of course, no black and white answer to this question; the success of Facebook advertising depends on the target demographic of your business, the amount of resource you can dedicate to it and how effective your strategy is.
The social media landscape is in constant flux and Facebook, although still the most widely used platform, is not immune to it. The social giant’s largest demographic is 25-34 year olds – many of whom most likely started using it at university. If you’re marketing to that age group only via Facebook, you’re likely have more success than if your target market is 13-17 year old girls, in which case, start investigating Snapchat as well.
If your core demographic is 55-70 year old men, Facebook is unlikely to be a sufficient form of advertising by itself as activity in this group is lower and only around 10% of the total number of users fall into the category.
Resource and planning
Like any digital marketing activity, successful Facebook advertising depends on resource and strategy. The more time that can be spent interacting with customers, and in many instances providing a service (responding to queries and complaints), the better your results can be. The key is not to push sales messages all the time, but to listen to customers, tell stories, post pictures and generally engage. Then, when there’s a great offer or a competition, you can tell your customers – potential and existing about it.
The mistake many people make is to expect returns within a short space of time. The reality is, Facebook takes time to build up and to start converting. You can track activity and conversions now to see how it’s working out for you, but give it at least six months to a year with a considered strategy before looking at alternatives.
You can, of course, back up the activity on your page with paid advertising. This can reach people who are interested in things related to your field. So if, for example, you see outdoor clothing, you can set your ads to reach those who have expressed an interest in camping, hiking, snowboarding...there are lots of possibilities. Entice them in with an offer and encourage them to stay loyal by providing great content.
But is it enough?
As I said at the beginning, whether Facebook on its own is a sufficient channel for your advertising is really something that only you can determine. It’s worth pointing out, however, that if you only use this one platform, you’re missing out on a huge range of other opportunities. Paid advertising in Google, for example, is something that every savvy business is investing in, alongside SEO. These channels target people who are actively searching for terms that are associated with your business. Taking the example of outdoor clothing again, if someone searches for ‘waterproof hiking boots’ and you don’t show up in the search results, you’re letting a lot of potential custom pass you by (roughly 390 searches per month are conducted on this term).
The ideal scenario, then, is to combine your Facebook advertising with search marketing to make the most of both Google traffic and Facebook users. As a small business, the more exposure you can get to relevant audiences, the more likely it is that your business will grow.
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