How Facebook is Helping Small, Local Businesses

Opening a business may be exciting at first, but it can come with overwhelming obligations that were not initially anticipated. Advertising and marketing, for example, is a crucial part of a business’ success in the marketplace – especially for small, local ones who are struggling to get their name out there. The fees and time required for this can be expensive for those starting out and many simply do not have the extra funds in their budget to spend on the cost of advertisements.

This is where Facebook comes in. While previously seen as just a place for you to reach out and engage with family and old friends, it is now proving to be much more than that. This is thanks to their inclusion of a wide array of features for users including boosting posts, check-ins and more. Logging in can open a vast amount of advertising opportunities – no matter how big or small your business or budget is.

Creating Local Awareness with the Ads Create ToolBlank Card holded by hand and thumbs up

A recent study discovered 78% of customers say that posts made by companies on social media impact their purchasing decisions. With over ¾ of consumers being influenced online, it makes sense why Facebook is capitalizing on this opportunity.

One of the most effective tools offered by Facebook is the Ads Create tool. Once opened the owner is prompted with the simple question, “What’s your marketing objective?” For example, if your goal is to drive more sales leads from people interested in your business you would select “Lead Generation” and if your goal is to promote your business to potential customers in the area, you would choose the “Local Awareness” option. Whether your business’ goal is to increase traffic, engagement or video views, there is a format specifically designed for it.

Once an objective is chosen, you will discover that everything is customizable and allows for complete control. You are able to choose how large of a radius you want to target, the age and gender of your desired audience, and a call-to-action button that allows users to ask for directions or ‘like’ the page.

According to Chron, a single 30-second television commercial played locally can cost $200-$1,500 – without considering the costs of production rates or any additional fees. Also, because television advertising relies heavily on third party audience tracking companies for their analytics, it is extremely difficult to monitor the ROI. Because of this, you will not know if the ad you played was effective or not until days after it was already aired.

With Facebook ads however, performance can be tracked in real time, allowing you to adjust the campaign as needed. You can set a specific duration and budget and get way more bang for your buck. For just $50, a business can have their ad shown locally online for a week and expect to reach 2,300 to 6,100 users.


Boost it Up

If you are regularly posting on your business’ page while also running frequent ads yet are still receiving low interaction with your content, it could be the work of Facebook’s algorithm. woman and tablet computer in hand sliding on touching screen use for people and lifestyle in digital technologyThe code takes every post intended for a users’ feed and ranks them according to what they believe the user will find the most worthwhile. Due to this, most users will only see the top few hundred posts.

You can help combat this issue by boosting posts. By clicking ‘Boost Post’ in the lower right hand corner, the post will be seen higher in the news feed. The option to choose who exactly you want to target is also available. You can choose to target people who have already liked your page or choose certain demographics involving location, interests, age and gender – similar to Local Awareness ads. By setting a budget and duration you are able to see a rough estimate of how many people the ad will reach.

The likelihood of your business’ post getting lost among a vast amount of other content is very high. Although boosting a post is not necessary for small businesses, it can prove to be beneficial by allowing you to have a better shot at gaining exposure.


Offer Claims: A Win/Win

Another efficient tactic Facebook presents to small businesses is Offer Claims. When a local owner is struggling with low sales, a strategic move to make is promoting a limited-time deal or discount. This draws in buyers’ attentions and encourages them to act quickly. These offers can be redeemed in store with a barcode or QR code, or online with a discount code. The feature differs from Groupon due to the fact that it is much easier and quicker to share the post with Facebook friends since they are already on the site they are sharing to. Additionally, a post will automatically go on a user’s page when they redeem an offer, allowing all their friends to see and possibly redeem it as well.

 SocialCode tested how successful Facebook Offer Claims are in comparison to link ads and their results were impressive. They used a client who wanted to improve e-commerce sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this past November, providing equal spend and targeting for both features. The results showed that Offer Claims gave 40% higher return on advertising spending, 28% lower cost per purchase and 160% higher conversion rate. The business got more revenue and customers got good deals, it was a win for both sides.

Event Pages and Check-Ins

As if the previously mentioned tactics were not enough, Facebook also allows businesses to create event pages while giving users the ability to ‘check-in’ to places.

When local businesses want to advertise a special event coming up, such as a Grand Opening, they can either post an ad in the newspaper for around $200 or they can make a Facebook event page for free. Facebook will even include design recommendations for both optimal image sizes and character count to make the event page looks professional and appealing. Beautiful woman having breakfast and texting on a mobile phone.By creating an event page, you are able to reach a majority of your customers and get a response quickly. In turn, this will also allow you to communicate any additional information or changes and answer any questions from attendees in an efficient way. The customers that click “going” will even get a reminder the day of the event, increasing the chances they will actually attend. As an owner, this feature allows you to have a good estimate of how many people to expect at the event and be prepared.

Check-ins go hand-in-hand with event pages. When Facebook users are at a store or a restaurant they can click the ‘check-in’ button and type in the name of the business. Some businesses, like Vale Food Co in Tallahassee, Florida, take advantage of this feature and offer customers 10% off their meal for checking-in on Facebook. The post will be seen by all of the customer’s friends and can spark a conversation in the comment section allowing for a positive review. This is an easy way for you to receive free advertising without putting in any time or effort.

            If you are a small business owner, you already have enough to stress about daily -from managing a company to various tasks like ensuring product quality. No matter who your business’ target audience is, it is almost guaranteed that they are on Facebook. It is essential to learn how to utilize Facebook features, like the ad tool and event pages, in order to keep up – especially in this day and age as social media is increasingly dominating the advertising industry.