No one can deny that over the last decade social media has irrevocably changed the way businesses interact with consumers in almost all sectors. A driving force of this change has been the Facebook, has grown from its modest beginning as a student project to the goliath we see today. Facebook as a company has also cleverly deployed its purchasing power to acquire many smaller innovative social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. This has meant that despite its original brand maturing the company has a whole is more powerful than ever.
With all this considered it is no wonder that many businesses see Facebook as a core aspect of their digital marketing strategy. Moreover, many smaller businesses see Facebook as the be-all and end-all of social media marketing. Many small firms are unable to create consistent and effective content for the whole array of social media platforms now available. Due to this, there is a need to choose a select number of platforms which are likely to be most effective for that business. However, many small businesses blindly choose to put their eggs in the Facebook basket without first considering if this is the right platform for them.
It is often proclaimed that marketing your business on Facebook is a cheap and easy way for small businesses to grow in fame and size. There is talk of how a few pounds on a boost or ad can change your business’s fortunes. How the fans will flock to support you and your little business. Facebook marketing was touted as easy money like taking candy from a baby. If one was to listen to the most extreme of these claims, it would seem as if Facebook was Robin Hood giving money to the small folk (businesses) and taking air time from the large multinationals.
But in recent years the tide seems to of turned and I would suggest Facebook is not more Sheriff of Locksley than Robin Hood. As the capabilities of Facebook as a social media marketing platform have increased so have the costs both in terms of time invested and pounds spent. Facebook is now a crowded marketplace where only the loudest are often heard. And Facebook knows this, it is what makes them their money.
Step one; reduce the number of business posts in the newsfeed, proclaim that this is Facebook making things better for users as they want to see family and friends, not businesses. Step two; allow businesses to show up more in the feed for a small fee. Ah, that is easy for the big boys to pay so the feed is filled with advertising and boosted content from the big brands. But those small businesses they can afford the odd boost or advert yes but can they really compete with the huge budgets of the multinational, of course not. Gone are the days when it was a simple as setting up a Facebook page with some ‘’ok’’ photos and waiting for the sales to roll in.
Small businesses can counter this by using their boosting or advertising budget carefully and in a targeted manner. Good quality content and posts which encourage engagement with the audience help as well. But this means both the time cost and the real cost have increased significantly for these businesses.
An alternative approach for small businesses is to review whether Facebook is truly the right platform for their business. If you sell a product directly to consumers than Facebook may suit your business but if you are a B2B business or a service, rather than a product, business you may find there are better platforms for you. The key is to do your research, spend some time working out who your ideal client is and then think about where they hang out online and how they best engage with brands. And if you are still struggling to pick a platform have a chat with a marketing expert for some basic advice as a starting point.