At one point, Facebook seemed to be the perfect solution for small businesses. You could reach customers on a platform they were already engaged with and interact with them in a new way. Even better - it gave you a chance to show some personality in a way that didn't require writing blog posts. It was faster, easier, and streamlined!
Over time, Facebook has refined its algorithms, and business pages have seen their organic reach (this is the views their followers see without a company paying to "boost" a post) nosedive. It is frustrating to know that only 78 of your 1000 followers saw the picture of your new inventory item or announcement of new hours.
Should you boost Facebook posts?
If you have 500 followers and a 10% organic reach (people who see your posts naturally, without any boosting), then only 50 fans of your page have the opportunity to see what you post. These are people who, in theory, WANT to see what you share - but they don't. Facebook doesn't show it to them. Of course, your posts should always be engaging and interesting for your customers. You don't want to read boring Facebook posts, so why would they?
You could always boost your posts – that is, pay Facebook to show your posts to more people. But advertising works best with repetition - most people will need to see your name or post several times in order to remember it, let alone act on it. Depending on your budget, it may or may not be possible. If you do pay to boost posts, do it in a way that allows you to track your customers' response. Use a coupon code, giveaway or contest so you can see how many responses come directly from Facebook rather than the general public.
Should you abandon Facebook?
No. Don’t do that! A Facebook page is still a great way to communicate with customers and give them a feel for what your business is about. Think of it as a modern, interactive yellow pages or secondary webpage. When someone searches for your business name online, your Facebook page will appear. Which is why keeping your Facebook posting schedule and details up-to-date is important.
But at the end of the day, relying on Facebook as your only social media platform isn't enough. Sure, it has millions and millions of users, but limiting yourself to Facebook means that you are limiting yourself and your business. There are other social media platforms - some of which may be a better option for your business. Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, mailing lists, and blogs are just a few of the ways to connect with customers directly.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.