Many of you may have seen the announcement from Facebook last week stating that big changes lay ahead for the social site. The context of this message seemed to denote that business posts would be ranked as less of a priority as part of these changes.
This created a huge hub of ‘what ifs and ‘what will happen’ theories buzzing around the internet with a key phrase of ‘Facebook Zero’ being coined.
In reality, we don’t really know what will happen at all yet, as the changes have not been made and are likely to be implemented over a period of time. What we do know, is Facebook as a social Chanel for business has been on a downturn for some time.
Those of us that regularly use Facebook for business will have probably noticed engagement rates drop significantly. This will have happened for a number of reasons. Facebook restricting post views for one (done for a number of reasons, but mostly to tidy up everyone’s chaotic news feeds), but also because audiences are failing to engage with being advertised to in the most blatant way. There is no big surprise that audiences are moving toward channels such as Instagram and snapchat, where engagement is more about being social and engaging with peers. This is what Facebook are aiming to rectify with the changes.
I have seen Facebook still working reasonably well for some businesses, but those businesses have had to really put some hard work into their page to get any return. For most small businesses this is often not a viable and sustainable option to add into their busy schedules. It’s also important to remember why we use social sites such as Facebook for our businesses in the first place, and that is to navigate traffic to our websites, shops and services to generate sales. Your engagement on social media may be ok, but is that converting into enquiries and sales for your business? If that’s a no, then a re-think about how you use social media for your business is needed. Is it more about brand awareness for you?
So, how do we fix this problem? The simple answer is, we continue to use Facebook and other social sites and navigate it remembering the points above. If it isn't driving sales for you, is it offering another tangible benefit to your business? We should never put all of our eggs in one basket when it comes to our marketing activities. If our sales channel lets us down and we are only using one, our business dries up. Instead, we need to think about using a range of available marketing tools. Below are some ideas to consider for broadening your marketing tools and sales channels:
Utilise a range of social sites that are relative to your business and audience.
Grow your mailing list. Create your own engaged community and keep in touch with them.
Think about your website and ensuring it’s optimised for search engines. Can someone find you via google easier that Facebook?
Look at some paid for advertising online. Tools such as re-marketing have the same drip feed effect that seeing something pop up on a social site would have. Remember, social media marketing isn't free, it costs your time, so by spending a small amount on this activity, you could be saving valuable time.
As a small business, head out into your community, face to face where possible, join events and sell your products and services in person. You are likely to create a stronger bond and a more loyal customer base; and after all, aren’t we all just longing for the simplicity of the good old days!?