Three Reasons Facebook Fails Small Businesses

For small businesses, Facebook is an alluring marketing tool. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and their customers are already using Facebook. Small businesses use Facebook to get their customers to act and hopefully get endorsements (e.g. “Like”) to reach new customers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always produce results, and there can be many reasons for this. This article lists three reasons Facebook fails small businesses, and what you can do about it.

Reason #1 – Lack of Investment

Apparently, many small businesses don’t invest in social media marketing. According to a poll (Zoomerang, 2011) 74% of small businesses don’t employ anyone to handle social media marketing. According to the same source, 42% of small businesses spend no money to market using social media. With that kind of investment, it’s no wonder that only 7% of companies interviewed in a Forrester Report (2011) found that a social media presence was an effective source of customers.

I’m not sure what people’s expectations are, but it’s difficult to achieve anything without some commitment. Like the media of old, Facebook requires the investment of time and money to promote yourself and your ideas effectively. However, Facebook offers much more bang for your buck, and all you have to do is focus on your message content. With a little extra effort, you can also gain insights into your customers that will help you connect with them better.

Reason #2 – Missing Customer Connections

Depending on your type of business, who your customers are, and when you post, you may be missing your customers on Facebook.

Customer Demographics

If your customers are mostly older individuals, they may not even see a fan endorsement that came from a friend, much less your attempts to connect with them. How do your customers use Facebook? Customer usage data is essential for planning where and how to spend your time on marketing.

For example, check out the following chart of age demographics for US Facebook users. It shows that from 2010 to 2011, the number of 18 to 25 year old users grew tremendously. I would feel very good about marketing on Facebook if my customers where mostly 18 to 25 years old.

Data Sources: facebook.com, insidefacebook.com, socialmediatoday.com

The first thing you need to do before using Facebook to promote your business is to understand who your customers are, look at some data, and decide if Facebook even makes sense as a marketing tool. There are a number of great measurement firms out there that claim to have the best Facebook data, or you can just get the data straight from Facebook’s advertising tool. Data tells you about the usage behaviors of your customers so you can focus your marketing efforts in the right place and right times for maximum effectiveness.

Timing is Everything

When you post content to your Facebook page matters. Time of day and day of the week play a significant role in the number of responses you are likely to get.

Time of Day

Most business post content to their Facebook pages during business hours (the middle of the day). But that is not when most people are looking. Most people will see your content before or after business hours. Consider people with over a hundred friends (that’s most Facebook users, BTW). You need to get your posts to appear near the top of their news feeds at a time when they are most likely to be looking. Services like HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to schedule your posts to appear when you want. Make use of a scheduling service and post your content before or after business hours for better effect.

Day of the Week

Depending on your business, day of the week also makes a big difference. For example, for most businesses, Saturday and Monday are statistically the worst days to post content. People are less likely to respond to business posts on Saturday, and since most content is posted on Monday, that day contains lots of competition for your customer’s attention. Different types of business get better customer engagement on different days of the week. For example, the best day to post content is Sunday for an auto-related business. Most auto-related business occurs on the weekend, and Sunday is statistically the peak day for customer engagement (BizBest, 2011).

Reason #3 – Tactics

According to a recent study, most small business owners think that Facebook wall posts are the most effective tactic to reach customers on Facebook. According to the same study, most consumers thought special offers and discounts were the most effective. In fact, one of the top-most reasons consumers “like” a brand on Facebook is to receive discounts and promotions (Chadwick Martin Bailey, 2011). I think it’s safe to say that the consumer is right, especially considering the lack of success many small businesses are having on Facebook. One reason might be that they just are not using the right tactics.

Your customers are not just Facebook users, they also have a problem or need that your business solves or satisfies – with or without Facebook. So give them a reason to act! It’s up to you to create actionable moments for them on Facebook to tap into the power of social media.

Got Time?

If you’re ready to sink some time into Facebook, a great place to start is the facebook marketing page. They have lots of tips and information to educate you on making your business more successful using Facebook. If you’re ready to advertise, check out the Facebook Advertising FAQ. This has links to common questions on Facebook advertising.

No Time

If you don’t have the time, Contact LocalNerve. We can help you get started and drive the whole thing for you. We have unique tools that increase customer engagement, give your customers incentives to participate, and create actionable moments – the very things they are looking for from you!

An upcoming post on our blog details some of the tools and techniques we use to increase Facebook customer engagement. Stay tuned!

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