The Future of Facebook Marketing for Small Business
How useful is Facebook marketing for small businesses?
Back in 2004, Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launched ‘The Facebook’ from his dorm room. The social media site was built to connect Harvard students with one another.
Fast forward 19 years, and Facebook (or Meta as the parent company is now known) is one of the world’s most valuable brands, with more than 2.9bn global users.
Facebook has come a long way since 2004, and no doubt it will evolve. But one thing won’t change: It’ll continue to be one of the most valuable tools in the small business marketing playbook.
With that said, let’s dive into Facebook marketing for small business.
The benefits of Facebook marketing for small businesses
There’s a common misconception that social media marketing is reserved for big brands with deep pockets. On the contrary, small businesses can spread their messages far and wide, for very little. You just need to be savvy with your strategy.
Before we share some small business Facebook marketing wisdom, let’s look at the benefits of having a business presence on the platform.
1. Colossal captive audience
As we said before, Facebook boasts over 2.9 billion global users. Of those, more than two billion use the site daily. That’s an ocean of potential customers from across the globe, all in one place.
If you’re not quite ready for global domination, there are just under 45 million Facebook users in the UK alone, spending an average of 23 minutes a day on the platform.
Whether it’s millions or billions, that’s a LOT of potential eyeballs on your brand.
2. Unrivalled brand awareness
Before the sales start rolling in, people need to know you exist. Sure, you can blow your budget on press advertising. But why do that when you can generate brand awareness on Facebook, for free?
Facebook’s global reach allows for widespread exposure, so take advantage of it. You can use the platform to establish credibility and build a reputation as the go-to company in your niche.
It’ll take time, but that’s the beauty of Facebook. Your business page will live in cyberspace forever. Book a full-page ad in the Metro and you’ll have 24 hours to grab attention. After all, today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper, right?
Go down the Facebook route and slowly, but surely, your audience will grow, and the increased brand recognition will lead to those all-important sales.
3. Two-way interaction
Facebook marketing has another advantage over mass media marketing. It offers small businesses the opportunity to engage with customers, one-on-one.
You can’t build a relationship with a magazine ad or a TV commercial. But you can connect with customers on Facebook by asking questions, responding to comments, and sharing content that’ll get them interacting with you.
Marketing is about building long-term, meaningful relationships. Engaging with customers will help you develop rapport, which is key to establishing loyalty. After all, people buy from people they like.
The challenges of using Facebook marketing for small businesses
The ability to reach people around the world at any time is game-changing for small businesses. But small business Facebook marketing isn’t without its challenges.
1. Organic reach? Not so much
We’ve established that billions of people around the globe use Facebook. But no matter how good your content is, you’re not going to reach them all, especially if you’re using organic marketing tactics.
Organic reach has been on a downturn for years. In fact, Facebook pages reach just two percent of followers in 2023, compared to an average 12.05% in 2013. This is because Facebook prioritises paid content over unpaid.
It makes sense. Facebook is a business, after all. But it’s a business with a lot more expendable cash than yours, making the continued derailing of organic reach a tad infuriating, right?
This doesn’t mean it’s not worth posting unpaid content. But it does mean that paid sponsored ads will need to form a big part of your overall Facebook marketing strategy.
2. Not the only face in the book
If you’ve read this far, you’ll see the value of Facebook marketing for small business. But so do the other 200m+ businesses using the social network to interact with their customers.
You’re going to have to pull out all the stops to stand out in this crowd.
Fortunately, we’ve got some Facebook marketing tips for small business to help you out. Read on to find the best way to use Facebook marketing for small business.
Facebook marketing strategy for small business
So alongside ads, posting content will still be a part of your overall strategy. But before you do anything else, consider the following:
- What are your goals?
Beautifully crafted content is important, but you need to know why you’re creating it. In other words, you need to set measurable goals.
What do you want to achieve with your Facebook marketing efforts? Increase visibility? Push traffic to your website? Educate your audience? Drive sales?
Whatever it is, you need to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. How else will you know if your efforts are paying off?
- Who is your audience?
To achieve your Facebook marketing goals, you need to know who you’re targeting.
For example, a will-writing company will have a different audience to a children’s toy brand. To appeal to their respective target markets, the language, visuals, tone and messaging of their campaigns would look very different.
Identifying your target market will help you create content that resonates with your audience.
- What content will you share, and when?
Once you know your target audience, you need to find out when they’re active on Facebook and the type of content they’re most likely to interact with.
Your page insights can help you stay on top of this.
Once you start posting, you’ll be able to see which posts receive the highest engagement, when your fans are online, and more.
Understanding your audience’s behaviour will help you develop an effective content strategy and posting schedule.
In terms of ‘how’ to post, the short answer is, you don’t have to. You can automate the scheduling and publishing of your posts with a social media management platform tool like Hootsuite, freeing you up to get on with the million other tasks you need to do to keep your small business running smoothly.
Facebook marketing small business: Tools of the trade
From plain text and images to stories and live videos, there are loads of ways to reach and engage with your audience on Facebook.
Let’s look at the various content formats and share a few Facebook marketing ideas for small business.
The good ol’ fashioned written word
Once the foundation of Facebook, the humble text post is a rarity today, as users lean more towards visual content.
When you look at the stats, you can see why. ‘Visual assets get 40 times more shares, articles with images receive 94% more views, and videos result in 1200% more shares. About 80% of marketers use visuals, infographics increase traffic by up to 12%, and 60% predict more infographic use.’ Gitnux.
However, there’s still a place for text in Facebook marketing. Starting conversations with your community, communicating business updates, and sharing customer testimonials, to name a few.
Interestingly, the average engagement rate for text posts is 0.18%. That’s 0.01% higher than the all-powerful video.
The stats show there’s value to be gained from text-only posts in the form of increased reach and engagement. But use them sparingly, as part of a broad, varied content strategy.
Plain text post ideas:
- Ask questions
- Invite feedback
- Start a discussion around current trends
- Share exciting developments.
Images: A snapshot in time
350 million images are uploaded to Facebook every day. From photos and infographics to artwork and carousels, they come in all shapes and sizes.
With an average engagement rate of 0.13%, images are a must-have in your content arsenal, especially if you’re an ecommerce business trying to shift products online.
Above and beyond that, photos are a great way to take your audience ‘behind the scenes’. Sharing snaps of the staff, management, and the everyday workings of your organisation will help you connect with your community on a personal level.
For more on the power of photos, read: The Importance of Images in PR.
Image post ideas:
- New products
- Staff profiles
- CSR work
- Customer reviews
- Video: The reel deal.
Reel them in
Video content is where it’s at. Facebook knows this. In a bid to compete with video-first platforms like TikTok and YouTube, the platform has gone all-in on video.
In 2021, Facebook introduced Reels, in a move designed to attract Gen Z away from TikTok. And the feature has been increasing in popularity ever since.
Reels are short-form content made up of one or more video clips to a maximum of ninety seconds. You can add music and effects to really bring your Reels to life.
They appear at the top of your feed, to the right of your Stories. They also appear further down your feed, which you will see as you scroll through the latest activity of your friends and the pages you follow.
As per TechCrunch: ‘Meta says Reels is its fastest growing format and that it continues to grow quickly. Reels plays across Facebook and Instagram have more than doubled over the last year, the company said in an email.’
It also noted that reshares of Reels have more than doubled on Facebook and Instagram in the last six months. Meta plans to continue to roll out new features for Reels to make it easier for creators to get discovered.
Reel content ideas:
- Behind the scenes content
- Product promos
- Customer testimonials
- Client shoutouts
- Going Live.
Reels are great. But there’s also live video. According to statistics, Facebook Live videos garner three times more engagement than traditional videos, and people are ten times more likely to comment on Facebook live videos than regular ones.
You can live stream on Facebook for up to eight hours. The feature offers some helpful interactive tools to help you make the most of your live stream, including live polls that provide real-time feedback from fans and feature links to share third-party sites with your viewers.
The key to Facebook Live video success is grabbing and holding the attention of viewers for extended periods. Why? Studies show that Facebook live videos of one hour or more see a rise in engagement from 0.19% to 0.86%.
Storytelling with Facebook Stories
Facebook launched its Stories feature in 2017. Stories enable users to share photos, which play for five seconds each, and up to 20 seconds of video footage. Each individual story is viewable for 24 hours, then it disappears.
Stories appear in a carousel at the top of your Facebook news feed, and also above your messages, if you’re using the Facebook Messenger app.
You can add gifs, links, music, location, tags and polls to stories, making them one of the most versatile features on Facebook.
This is an effective way to highlight time limited promotions, sales, or a countdown to an event.
Story content ideas:
- Event streaming
- Product demos
- Company announcements.
Additional Facebook marketing tips for small businesses
That’s the lowdown on Facebook formats. To round things off, we’ve got a couple of bonus tips to help you succeed on your Facebook marketing journey.
Stick a pin in it
Highlight a popular or important post by pinning it. Pinned posts sit at the top of your business page until you unpin them, meaning new posts won’t push them further down your timeline.
Use them to flag important dates, business updates, or links.
Facebook Groups are a bit like pages but they’re only accessible to members. You can use the feature to create a community for your VIPs – a place where your most loyal followers can access discounts and/or exclusive access to new products.
The future of Facebook marketing
We’ve looked at Facebook marketing small business strategy and content ideas. We’ve told you why you need to use Facebook to market your small business, and the challenges of doing so.
But what about the future of Facebook marketing for small business?
Here are a few predictions.
- Organic reach will continue to plummet and Facebook ads will become increasingly important to your small business marketing strategy.
- AI will play a substantial role in the future of Facebook marketing. Get ahead of the game and start learning how to use artificial intelligence in your marketing now.
- Facebook will roll out more subscription services designed to make you pay for reach and engagement – like the blue tick.
- New, more advanced tools and features will continue to launch. Some will change the game; others will flop.
Want to find out how AI is changing the marketing game? Read: The Impact of AI in Public Relations.
You might be interested in reading about Facebook’s PR ups and downs too. Read: Facebook PR: The Highs and Lows of a Social Media Giant.