You’re Doing It Wrong: Facebook Marketing for Small Business

Facebook Marketing

With 9 billion users, Facebook is far and away the most popular social network on the planet. If Facebook were a country, it would contain the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook has its own unique customs and norms, and you need to understand them to be able to fully leverage the site’s potential as a marketing tool. When I see businesses go wrong on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t bother to find out the local customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook so unique among all social networks? It’s the fact users of the site have strong connections with each other. Folks are connected with their best friends, their immediate family and their close relatives. They share intimate aspects of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • High school graduation footage
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements

What does this mean for small businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you should be low-key and conscientious in your technique. You can’t use the old kinds of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to hear your hard sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and welcomed.

Keep it real (for real)

If you attempt to port the old model of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. The natives can get irritated and shun you. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, so if your small business is not being authentic or engaging with customers in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

Don’t be fooled: It’s meant to be hard

Marketing on Facebook is incredibly effective. But it’s also very hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it right. Many organizations believe that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. But it takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make ridiculous promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence—which takes time. However the payback is well worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of companies engaged in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation, as per a study from Social Media Examiner.