By Rosh Sillars
We have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. There are almost 2.5 billion users worldwide on the platform. Yet, we hear about a Facebook controversy in the news and don’t see results from our Facebook business pages. You may begin to wonder if you should care about Facebook for your business.
The short answer is “yes.” But there is a “however” to that answer, that being that you may be doing Facebook wrong.
Despite the fact a generation has grown up with social media, we are still in the wild west of the rules, regulations, and data sharing guidelines for social media. The European Union is trying with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), yet we are still years away from stable and sustainable solutions.
Still, with all the controversy, we can’t ignore the fact that a large number of our customers are on Facebook.
There are better platforms for specific needs. Instagram, owned by Facebook, is a visual platform, yet all of your relatives are not there chatting about the latest family news. Twitter is a powerful media stream and an excellent communication tool. YouTube is fantastic, but it’s not the gathering place for family videos, and LinkedIn is geared toward business relationships.
You may not like Facebook, your friends may claim they don’t use the platform, and your kids may say Facebook is for old people. Still, if you want to connect with friends, family, and associates everyone needs to check in on Facebook.
This means Facebook is our global town hall, like it or not.
How NOT to do Facebook for business
If you post generic stuff to your Facebook business page every once in a while, not check in very often, ignore comments as they come in and not engage on other Pages, you’re doing Facebook wrong.
Facebook is social media. If you post and run, you are taking the social out of social media. True, there is some value to show people you are open for business when they visit your Facebook page. But to do so means you’re not earning the full value and opportunity available to your business.
This is true with any social media platform.
Hiring a millennial to run your social media because they are a millennial is often a big mistake, not because they are a millennial, just that being a millennial is not the best qualification.
The real question is, would you place your intern, new hire or friend’s son in front of your best prospect to present to and represent your company? Especially without training? Then why would you place such a person to represent your business to the world?
How to use Facebook for business in 2019
One of the biggest frustrations with Facebook is that it’s hard for a business to gain traction when Facebook only shows your status updates to about 2 percent of the people who like your page.
The reason is, ultimately, that Facebook wants you to use their advertising system to reach your customers. It’s not impossible to make your Facebook page work for your business in 2019. However, you must work the page hard and, more critically — creatively.
Facebook algorithms reward engaging and active Facebook pages. This means posting random information once in a while will not get you where you want to go.
One of my favorite examples of Facebook success is Jake Ryan Landscaping in White Lake, Michigan. They have a small page with about 100 Likes. Yet, without boosting (advertising) their updates, Facebook shows their posts to hundreds and even thousands of people. And yes, they do get leads and jobs from their efforts.
You might get about five views with the same size Facebook Page.
Jake Ryan Landscaping, among many other companies, understands the importance of post relevance, engagement, and developing a community. The fact remains, it’s hard to do, and there is a better way on Facebook.
The power of Facebook Groups
No matter how you cut it, community development is important on Facebook. The good news is
that Facebook groups give you a better opportunity to develop an engaged following. Groups offer far more opportunities to attract people who care about your expertise, your industry, product, or service.
You can’t advertise to your Facebook group. So, currently, Facebook has little incentive to throttle reach as they do on your Facebook Business Page although reach does fluctuate with algorithm changes.
Facebook has stated it’s making Groups a development priority. This focus allows us to develop custom communities outside our personal and business Facebook pages.
Newer options such as Units within groups allow you to create education modules, courses and how to instructions about your product, or service. You may want to create a section of answers to your most common customer questions.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook is still an excellent place to advertise if you do it right.
Although businesses do find success with direct advertising on Facebook, it is tougher to find success. Unlike Google search advertising, which places ads in front of people searching for solutions., Facebook advertising is more passive and needs nurturing and development.
Rather than sell your product or service directly on Facebook, consider offering a lead magnet such as a webinar, helpful download, or sample in exchange for their name and email.
Prospects who give you their email can be immediately marketed to via a strategic email campaign. If you use video or a landing page, you can retarget advertising to people who watch 25, 50, or 75 percent of your video or visit specific pages on your website.
Facebook, over the last few years, continues to get good at placing the right ad in front of the best prospect. No matter your opinion of Facebook, advertising on the platform can significantly impact your business bottom line.
Should you care about Facebook?
Facebook is different than it was five or 10 years ago. It will be different in 2025 since the platform is always evolving and changing. So should your Facebook strategies.
This is the platform where you can find most of your customers. You have a choice, you can use either time or money to connect with your customer, yet there is always a price. It’s up to you to decide which is right for you.
All things considered, you shouldn’t let your personal opinion about Facebook dictate the potential value of the platform for your business.