Is Facebook worth the effort for small businesses?

Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s start with a fact: Facebook reach has declined in recent years.

Of course, there’s no point in trying to have a conversation when no one’s there, so should small businesses be paying for advertising, or looking elsewhere?

Back in 2012, a Facebook post from a Business Page reached an average of 16 percent of fans, whilst in 2014 the average is closer to 5 percent. There’s plenty of speculation about the reasons behind this, but with more and more content being shared, there simply isn’t enough room to show it all.

Users that have a lot of friends and like a lot of Pages can have up to 15,000 Posts competing for space in their News Feed every time they log on. Facebook can’t show all of it, so it tries to pick the most interesting posts along with the posts that businesses are paying for.

I believe that Facebook still represents a huge opportunity for small businesses. Here’s why:

The numbers add up

If you post to Facebook once a day and reach 5 percent of your fans every time you do so, this can add up to a respectable figure over the course of a week. After all, you’re not going to reach the exact same audience every time you post – it depends who’s online at that moment.

For the small businesses that I work with, I often find that the total reach adds up to over 50 percent of the Page’s fans over the course of a week.

Reach the fans that matter most

The majority of your fans will be ‘casual’ – they’ve expressed an interest by ‘liking’ your business but they rarely take any action. Do you really need to reach all of those people every time you post? You want to reach the ones that are most likely to talk about your business, tell their friends about you, and buy your stuff.

The more someone clicks on your posts the more likely they are to see your posts in the future, so it stands to reason that your most engaged and valuable customers are the ones most likely to see your content.

Facebook advertising is great value

If you have something that you really want to shout about, Facebook advertising remains a cost-effective way to reach a highly targeted audience. Possible targeting options include:

  • Users that have visited your website (FBX)
  • Users that have liked your Page.
  • Users similar to your fans (lookalike audiences).
  • Demographics such as location, age, gender, education, occupation, relationship status and home ownership.
  • Online and offline shopping habits (partner categories)

With all of those options, you can directly target your ideal customer and for only a few pounds a day you can reach that customer with content designed especially for them.

So don’t give up on Facebook just yet! By regularly posting content and promoting select posts to a specific audience, this social media tool will soon prove its value by engaging loyal fans and getting your business in front of new prospects.

Have you had success marketing your business on Facebook? Are Facebook ads working for you? Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments.

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