Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Harness Facebook's advertising pull to grow your small business [Infographic]

Facebook have released an infographic highlighting the positive effect Facebook advertising can have on your business. With a share price that is now worth half of what it was when first launched and a newly announced ad campaign that will see advertisements appearing within users newsfeeds, Facebook are looking to develop new advertising streams in order to give themselves some increase revenue.

However, while this infographic can be seen as a sales pitch to get businesses to advertise with Facebook, how can a small business use Facebook to help increase the traffic and sales their online store can receive? 

Well the most obvious advertising for any business on Facebook is creating a Facebook business page. With 955 million active monthly users, there is a substantial audience for you to advertise your products to. The true success of the Facebook business page comes not in the ability to provide your audience with status updates, but the ease in which your business can be spread to various users through word of mouth and content sharing. When deciding on marketing channels for your business, Facebook can be a much better option than other channels for a number of reasons.

When setting up a small business, the budget you have to spend on marketing could be rather limited. This means that anything you can get for free is going to be very beneficial. In terms of cost per person that your brand reaches, Facebook is head and shoulders above any other marketing channel. If you run an ecommerce store, you may decide to advertise your business with local newspapers and on local TV. While this will allow you to reach thousands of people, the cost to advertise on these platforms would most likely be more than a newly established business would be willing to pay. 

According to Facebook, 92% of people are willing to trust something shown to them by friends or family, whereas only 47% would trust something advertised on TV or in newspapers. Now while you shouldn't discount TV and newspaper advertising altogether, as depending on the business you run, these can still be beneficial marketing tools in generating sales, you are most likely going to see the most success through Facebook. When a customer finds a product on your store that they really like, one of the first things they do is share that product on to their Facebook news feed. This social commerce then allows everyone related to that person to see that product, gaining instant exposure for your store. Generally, friends tend to have similar interests meaning if one person likes a particular product, you will probably find that their friends will too.

Facebook also boasts over 500 million users regularly accessing the social media site through their mobile devices. This gives you a great opportunity to draw traffic to your mobile commerce site. However, to do this you must first place a URL link directly to your mobile site on your Facebook business page. Placing your normal web address on the page will just result in your regular ecommerce website loading up on the user's mobile device.   

While you may not have the budget to take advantage of some of Facebook's larger advertising platforms, one of the features you can look to take advantage of is the 'Promote' feature. What this does is place one posts on to the newsfeed of certain users. Depending on what and where you sell, you can tailor which users these posts appear to based on features such as gender and location. However, the one major drawback for this is that you can't use this feature unless you already have an established audience. To use the Promote feature for your Facebook business page you must already have at least 400 likes and no more than 1000. What this means is that if you are a newly established business, you must use other marketing techniques for Facebook to first get your account to 400 likes before you can then begin using this feature.

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