Do you use Facebook for business? Depending on your target market and your marketing objectives, Facebook can be an important channel for business marketing. That’s true whether you’re focus is Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C).
Why use Facebook for business?
In today’s marketing landscape it makes sense to promote yourself using the channels that your target audience already uses. I’ve previously posted about Why You Should Use Social Media to Promote Your Brand, but why Facebook in particular?
Facebook is by far the biggest social media network globally with over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Statista also reports the total number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) in January 2017, by age group and gender. The highest number of Facebook users was found among 25 to 34-year-olds, of which 5.2 million women and 5.5 million men were using Facebook in January 2017.
In terms of frequency of usage, the 25 to 34 years age group has the largest share of use and the group between 45 and 54 years has the smallest share.
Therefore, as a business, unless you are targeting the very young or the 55+ market it is fair to say that a high volume of your target users are likely to be using Facebook.
Is it appropriate to use Facebook for Business?
Just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use Facebook for business.
If you are marketing to consumers, then most products and services are going to find Facebook a good channel. If your product or service is aimed at the business market then the answer is not straightforward.
Most people use Facebook during their leisure time and consequently are not necessarily in a buying mindset whilst browsing social media. Will your buyer consider it an intrusion on their personal space if you start promoting your company whilst their browsing their friend’s holiday snaps? It may be too much of a stretch to make your product relevant to them on Facebook – a case of right person, wrong time.
That said, there are a number of different ways in which companies can engage with users on Facebook, and some of all of these probably apply to your organisation.
Facebook for business page
Any company can establish a Facebook page to represent their business. For example, our company page is here.
A Facebook page is effectively a mini-website for your business, listing your address, opening hours, contact details and link to your own website.
It’s a great way to post regular content such as news and special offers and engage followers by posting content relevant to your niche. Facebook will suggest your page to people it thinks might be relevant, and your Facebook page may show up in Google search results, thereby giving you extra, free exposure.
Take care to set your profile up fully and to have a social media strategy and content plan before you commit. An empty Facebook page with out of date posts will do your business no favours.
Having a page is in itself not enough as without followers you will be speaking to an audience of zero. Link to the page from your website, emails and let your customers know why they should follow you on social media. There must be a benefit for them – access to special offers for instance.
Anything you post should, in theory, be seen by your followers, however not everything you post on your Facebook business page will be visible to your followers. Facebook’s algorithms select which of your followers will see each post, which the cynics amongst us put down to the desire to generate more advertising revenue (see below).
People can private message you or even post to your wall, but these messages will not be automatically shown in other people’s newsfeeds.
Facebook group for business
A group is different from a page in that it creates a community that can all post to your page and discuss among themselves. A business Facebook group can be a great way to create a community around a topic which is relevant to your niche. For instance, a publisher might create a group to discuss creative writing, or a music tutor might create a community for local musicians.
There are three main types of Facebook groups:
- Public – Anyone can see the group, its members and their posts.
- Closed – Anyone can find the group and see who’s in it. Only members can see posts.
- Secret – Only members can find the group and see posts.
Some effort will need to be put in to growing the membership of the group and ensuring that the discussions stay on topic. Moderation of the group is an important consideration before you set up a Facebook Group for business.
From a Facebook page or group, you can set up events on Facebook which can really spread the word about your activities. Anyone showing interest in your event will help disseminate news of the event throughout their networks as 60% of people discover events through their news feed.
Integrations with Eventbrite mean that a business Facebook event can lead the user straight through to event ticketing, payments and Eventbrite’s reminder features, making it an easy, integrated event solution.
Advertising is where Facebook comes into its own, and why Facebook advertising revenue exceeded $9 billion in the second quarter of 2017.
There are various options for advertising on Facebook:
- Boosted post – shows a post from your Facebook Page to a wider target market
- Boosted event – shows an event from your Facebook Page or Group to a wider target market
- Advert – a separate advert which can be made up of images, text or video, and can be shown to a target market. An advert has to be originated from a Facebook Page.
- Canvas – an interactive ad format designed specifically for mobile devices
All Facebook Advertising types will give you options to advertise on desktop, mobile, and now Instagram.
Of particular interest are Facebook’s targeting options. Using this feature you can finely target your boosted posts, events or adverts to specific demographics including user’s interests. Therefore, if your event is only likely to attract people from a specific location with particular interests you can select the audience features that match your target demographic.
A Facebook Custom Audience is the tool to use for any business with an existing customer list. You can upload your data to Facebook’s Advertiser portal and Facebook will identify your customer’s Facebook accounts, then find a lookalike audience of similar accounts. This will create a custom audience for you to find new customers that have similar characteristics to your known customer base.
I’ve had huge successes for clients using Facebook Advertising, using quite limited budgets. More information about Facebook Advertising is available in their guide.
- A large number of UK consumers use Facebook regularly so your customers will be using the channel
- Businesses can own a Facebook Page and/or Group to widen their reach
- Facebook is great for promoting events
- Facebook Advertising allows niche targeting to reach new audiences
For advice and guidance on how your company or organisation can use Facebook for business please get in touch.
Also published on Medium.