For small businesses, there’s been an explosion in the use of Facebook this year. Compared with other forms of marketing, the costs are low (assuming you’re not spending more than an hour a day on it) and the returns in terms of customer acquisition are good. I believe we’re only just now tapping into the power of Facebook for business.
However like anything done online, it does take time and effort. Yes, the base tools are supplied free, but your time isn’t. Having a good strategy helps too, as does utilising all the tools that Facebook offers.
One of the best authorities I’ve discovered recently on this topic is Mari Smith, who writes regular articles in the Social Media Examiner. (click here). Our local Debbie Mayo-Smith, columnist and speaker has also talked about the benefits of Facebook in business. (Her Youtube video)
Mari reveals all the tricks and guidance to make Facebook work for you. The other thing with Facebook that’s not specifically covered here, is to have it more tightly integrated with your own website and/or shopping site. Most web designers stop at the normal ‘like’ or Facebook linking buttons on their website or cart – They only consider the website, not the Facebook side.
Let’s get together – Two always work better than one!
There are certain things you can’t do with Facebook legally or technically (e.g. sell stuff). Some items or elements are therefore better posted on your own website which can then, using special community or self-developed Apps, be ‘windowed’ into the Facebook page. Very few Facebook pages (less than 1 per 10,000) utilise these toolsets, but those that do have seen immense returns, like BigCommerce users.
Left is a typical ‘windowed’ application developed by one of our partners, BigCommerce in the US.
Other similar Facebook Apps to that from BigCommerce can be developed to embed specific storefront pages as well as your website sales landing page, catalogues, customer surveys or signup forms etc (email me for details). Often, instead of upgrading your own website to do this, it’s usually far easier to utilise a brand new WordPress site, that can be setup in a few hours, (costing hundreds of dollars), instead of days or weeks (thousands of dollars) to ‘window in’ your existing website toolsets.
But You Always Need Your Own Website – Facebook Isn’t Yours
Having Facebook + Custom WordPress Website work together like this makes a lot of sense. And it provide some security long term, since you do OWN the website. Your Facebook page is NOT yours and simply provided by Facebook at their discretion. Wrong-doing, deliberate or otherwise can have your Facebook presence removed…. (Have YOU read their terms and conditions documents?). Also, Facebook is more of an open forum. Your [WordPress] website can display sales-related items or articles which are totally under your control.
As a local hairdressing Salon owner mentioned to me recently. “Around half my new business business comes via my simple WordPress website with people doing a Google search. The other half via referrals from my Facebook page. I couldn’t do without either of them.”
Facebook vs email
But wait there’s more! Latest research from eMarketer (click left) is telling us that Facebook, is becoming more important and effective than email! It’s interesting to note where the other channels fit too in this report.
In many markets all this isn’t surprising. More and more people are using their Facebook accounts to communicate. Email is too hard and not interactive. Young people especially often use their mobile phones to update their Twitter feed and Facebook pages, something most websites can’t offer (unless you’re running a WordPress site). Facebook is their own online community, hence a far better tool than email to converse with a crowd. As the eMarketer article says, Facebook is more cost-effective and convenient.
And don’t forget to read Mari Smith’s articles.