Many of us will remember the moral of the story about the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race.
While slow and steady may not seem to fit in our fast paced world, sometimes it does. For instance, in a world where instant gratification is sometimes par for the course we can forget that some things really only do come to those who wait. Make that, those who wait and work hard to achieve the goal or vision they have in mind.
For small businesses this waiting game can be extremely stressful. We invest a lot of time, often money, and usually long hours in building a business that we are convinced given time will be successful. When results don’t come as quickly as we like it can be disheartening to say the least. But the truth is: time is needed along with our best efforts to product results, particularly long-term sustainable results.
Investing in Facebook
Facebook is no different. For most of us, it takes time, hard work, attention to detail coupled with perseverance to build a following. It doesn’t happen overnight!
Unfortunately, often in our attempt to handle all our various responsibilities, we don’t invest the time and attention needed to not only launch our Facebook Page but to keep it continuing to grow and develop. It’s understandable really but understandable or not it means that all our earlier efforts and any initial capital we expended are in vain if we don’t steadfastly work the plan.
Facebook offers small business a tremendous tool to build brand recognition, grow our network of potential customers and expand our influence with existing customers. While at one time virtually free, today to really benefit from Facebook one needs to invest cash in promoting posts and advertising. For most businesses, if they aren’t able or willing to do this, the value of Facebook for them is questionable.
But for those businesses where Facebook is a good fit, and who are willing to invest cash in expanding how many people their content reaches, Facebook can have a positive impact on the bottom line, over time. An initial capital investment may be required to hire someone to set things up, secure your branded URL, create a custom cover image and profile picture and set up profile details, but the benefits can far outweigh the costs, assuming your target audience is on Facebook. For some, this is something they can easily do themselves. For others, where they lack the time to do so and/or the computer savvy, hiring someone is a good option.
Hiring Outside Help
Some individuals or businesses may also need to hire someone to manage and share content to their Facebook Page, if staff are not able to do so. Some ‘experts’ believe you should manage all of your content in-house. I disagree with this premise. The key as to whether it works for you or someone else to write and share content on your Page, is the someone else you hire. If the person or company you hire understand your vision, your values, your philosophy of business and if they are the type of individual(s) that feel a sense of partnership with you as they work with your account. In other words, these are ‘we’ people not ‘you’ people, when discussing your business (“we could do this” as opposed to “you could do this”).
Once you enlist the right firm or individuals they see themselves as part of your team and have your business’ best interests at heart. They’re not just doing a job, their own integrity is tied up in how they do it. Find someone like this, who is also intuitive and service oriented, and you’ve likely found someone who can do a bang up job managing your social media presence.
A Nice Looking Page Is Not Enough
Here’s the thing: It’s no good making your Facebook Page attractive, both visually and with information, but then not post content to your Page. Most people will only visit your Facebook Page once. On that first visit they will decide whether to like it or not – thus, it should be both attractive and prove it is worth following.
After that first visit, if they’ve liked your Page, any post they may see will be through their newsfeed. So, if you don’t share content, they’ll never see your brand pop-up in their newsfeeed. And, unfortunately, if you never pay to promote your content chances are what you share will only reach between 6% and 10% of those who have liked your Page. Not so good!!
A Page without a regular investment of time and energy to maintain it and keep it going and growing is a waste of precious time and energy. A neglected Facebook Page also reflects poorly on your business.
Commitment, Time & Attention
Once you commit to a Facebook Page for your business, persevere.
- Give it time to work and give it the attention it needs.
- Post content regularly (including links, visual images or videos with your content).
- Respond to fan comments and inquiries.
- Look for ways to engage with fans. Often, this may be as simple as liking a comment someone has made on something you have shared or adding a short comment to their comment.
- Share content that fans, those who have liked your Page, find helpful, valuable and/or interesting. This is extremely important.
Make your Page all about your customers, and their needs and wants, and they will reward you for it with their loyalty and by periodically sharing what you post. Again, assuming you pay to periodically make it into their newsfeed and assuming you are sharing content that they like and find helpful/valuable/informative.
When it comes to social media, persevere, engage and adapt where needed. Occasionally something you post may get a good number of people ‘liking’ it or commenting on it. But for the most part this will be the exception rather than the rule. If you are promoting your posts and no one is liking, commenting or sharing, ask a few people you know to give you some honest feedback about your posts. Not every post will be a home run, but periodically they should be. The numbers are important but don’t become obsessed with them. Many of those who like your posts will never actually indicate this. You have to look for other signs to determine whether your content is hitting the mark. This is where Facebook analytics, especially for promoted posts and ads, comes in handy.
Reaching Beyond Your Fans
There’s one other benefit to paying to promote your content. And that is that you can help your content reach far beyond those who have already liked your Page by targeting each post to specific age groups, countries/cities, genders and interests, etc.
Thus, if you’re sharing interesting and helpful content and you pay to promote some of these posts from time to time, you’re helping to build brand recognition for your business. And you can target posts to certain groups of people or geographic areas – to those who are already fans and their friends or to others who may have no idea who you are. Promoting your posts can help build your brand name recognition.
This is important because when people are deciding who to deal with, chances are the one they know the most about, assuming it’s positive, will get their business. Or, at least a call about their business. The businesses they know little about are less likely to get the call or an opportunity to get their business.
It’s Not About Pushing Your Wares
Facebook is not about pushing your wares … it’s about meeting the needs and wants of your audience. The vast majority of people are on Facebook to connect with friends and family, not businesses. That said, if you think through what you will post, how you will post and when you will post and what your customers and potential customers will find helpful, valuable and interesting, then there is room for you in the Facebook newsfeed.
The opportunities that Facebook presents for business are significant, especially when it comes to building brand name recognition, and right now they’re relatively affordable. This may not always be the case, so take advantage of the opportunity while it is still available – and don’t expect overnight results.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!