As a small business owner, you are well aware that social media – and especially Facebook – has revolutionized the business world. There are more than 40 million small businesses on Facebook, which means most people would say it’s obviously the right social media platform for your business.
But is it really?
Deciding if Facebook is the right social media platform for your business can be frustrating and overwhelming – especially as Facebook continues to evolve.
But understanding the reasoning behind the answers to these top three Facebook frequently asked questions can help you simplify that decision.
1. Will Facebook be worth the investment for me?
We’ve commonly heard, “I understand the importance of Facebook advertising, but I am not sure it’s worth it to me. How can I track the ROI?”
While Facebook analytics does provide numbers that can help define ROI, social media is meant to be an indirect sales tactic.
At IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, our purpose for our clients’ Facebook pages is to (1) build their brand, (2) position their company as a thought leader in the industry, and (3) build credibility among both their clients and prospects. We believe that if one of our client’s prospects is interested in them, that person will likely look at their social media accounts, and will be much more interested in them if they have thousands of followers with great engagement than if they have only 10 followers and little to no engagement on their posts.
In short, social media creates more favorable attitudes that will likely lead to sales, but similar to other marketing tactics, it is an indirect tactic – which does make defining the ROI difficult.
But think about this: Your competitor is (almost definitely) on Facebook. If you do not have a good social media presence, you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars you may never even know about. Is that investment worth it to you?
2. What can I expect from Facebook?
If you decide to have a Facebook page for your business, it is important to also have a realistic set of expectations for Facebook.
If you’re running a B2B company, it will be more difficult to implement an excellent social media strategy. Why? Your business prospects simply do not have as much time to spend on Facebook as the average consumer does. With a B2C company, you will have a much better opportunity to build interaction among your followers. While Facebook is still the right platform for many small businesses, this is something to consider.
Another consideration is that because so many small businesses are on Facebook, thousands of posts are flooding users’ news streams and competing for your target market’s attention.
Whereas Facebook’s algorithm previously limited an average post’s reach to 16 percent of a brand’s fans, an Ogilvy study says that number has now dropped to approximately 6 percent, and will likely continue to decline. According to the author of the Ogilvy study article, “Increasingly, Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero.”
Translation: If your brand is on Facebook, you MUST be committed to the approach.
3. How much money can I commit to Facebook?
Gone are the days when a company can simply publish a post and then check back a couple days later to see that there are 29 likes and 14 comments on it. Now, even companies that have thousands of Facebook fans can publish a post that reaches as little as 4 people.
Following Facebook best practices and sharing engaging content can certainly help increase organic reach – a bit. But the unfortunate truth is that success on Facebook is no longer just about time – it’s also about money.
Facebook has more than doubled its advertising revenue over the past two years, earning over $5,000,000,000 in ad money in 2014. According to the CEO of HootSuite, as Facebook’s algorithm continually values promoted pages and posts over organic ones, “staying relevant on Facebook will require doubling down on paid social ad spending.”
We recognize that this is a challenge for many small business owners with limited budgets.
But for many of our clients who have (literally) bought into the importance of Facebook advertising, the investment has been worth it to them. One client went from 0 to nearly 4,000 Facebook fans in less than two months – at an investment of just $500 per month.
What It All Comes Down To….
As you can see, these three questions are very integrated with each other. Calculating how much money you can commit to the Facebook begs the question of how much you can expect from Facebook, if the investment will be worth it, and so on. The circle can be seemingly neverending.
But what each of these three questions comes down to is opportunity cost. You have to determine what you could be missing out on if you do not have a good social media presence, and what that is worth to you.
We are happy to help you think through these questions and more. If you are confused, excited, frustrated, or curious about the way Facebook can be part of your marketing initiatives, email us, give us a call, or send us a Facebook message!
– Emily Crider, Social Media & Project Manager