Business Insights

Business Insights

Is Facebook Right For My Business?

December 2015 statistics from Zephoria show that usage of Facebook is huge, with 1.55 billion monthly active users across the globe - a 14% year on year increase. With a highly engaged, eminently targetable user base, it’s a marketer’s dream.

However, Facebook is not necessarily right for every business.

Around 16 million local business pages have been created since May 2013 alone: a 100% increase from 2012. And for many marketers, Facebook’s evolution is playing right into their hands, with recent additions including the “buy button”, allowing purchases directly through the social media giant.

For businesses, these stats and evolutions can be tempting - but Facebook doesn’t work for every brand.

1. Your target audience matters.

B2C brands from Disney to Domino’s Pizza find that huge swathes of their customer bases use the social network, meaning plenty of opportunity to interact.

This interaction is key: it is the social element of Facebook that is its primary use. Users will happily connect with brands if they interact in the same way as a user would with a friend or relative, focusing on interesting content and conversation.

For B2C brands, this is simple. B2B brands, however, may struggle. Facebook is simply not the right environment in which to pitch the sale of equipment to manufacturing businesses, or IT support solutions to large corporates.

2. There is a need to embrace social.

The primary purpose of Facebook is to facilitate social behaviour: connections between friends and family. For this reason, businesses that wish to use the service as a marketing tool should focus on brand awareness and engagement over conversions: “buy now” ads on their news feeds will not be seen favourably.

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Be social: Facebook users are there to interact, not to be sold to

 
Research from Axonn in late 2015 showed that 56% of social media users have unfollowed a brand for being too boring or “salesy”. This type of advertising is very different from Google’s Adwords: the focus is on driving demand, rather than immediate sales. In the context of connecting with friends, only those B2C brands who can demonstrate engaging interaction will succeed. The thing to remember is this - Facebook knows who you are, Google knows what you want.

Facebook knows who you are, Google knows what you want...

3. Facebook works with mobile audiences.

In the summer of 2015, Facebook announced that 655 million of their active users only access the service via a mobile device - approximately 44% of their user base. While this is perfect for brands whose target audiences demonstrate heavy usage of mobile devices, a Facebook presence may not work so well for those whose marketing activity is aimed at, for example, post-retirement age consumers or young children.

4. Facebook requires ongoing, high quality content.

Brands that simply post updates on the quality of their products will find that their Facebook pages have no appeal.

Compelling content will ensure that a brand is noticed on Facebook, and will also encourage interaction. Therefore, those brands with plenty to share and whose target audience is interested should see success.

Video content performs well on Facebook (and is now challenging YouTube), while competitions can also bolster interaction and page likes. Those brands who have created high-quality blog posts may also find that sharing these on Facebook can initiate conversations with consumers.

Those businesses who sell products such as cable ties or insulation may find creating engaging content to be a challenge - although this is not always the case.

5. Facebook requires data.

A brand creating a new Facebook business page from scratch will want to build followers quickly - and the easiest way to do so is by using existing “friendly” leads. Those with a database of email addresses (for example, a newsletter subscriber list) will be able to target those people directly and encourage them to interact with the page.

Facebook’s Power Editor enables brands to direct targeted ads at those who have shown previous interaction - as well as targeting those who resemble a brand’s top customers or subscribers. It is possible to target by age, gender, locations, interests, job, page likes and more, directing marketing efforts at existing customers, those who resemble existing customers, or those who are fans of a brand’s competitors. With data, the sky is the limit.

Is Facebook right for my business?

While Facebook’s engaged, targetable and vast user base is a marketer’s dream, it will not work for every single business. But for those who have the necessary know how, niche, data and content, Facebook is a fantastic marketing opportunity.

If you’re unsure as to how your current marketing activity is performing, including social media, take our free Marketing 360 Healthcheck  to find out.

 

Topics:
Business Growth

Written by Brian Hardie

Brian Hardie is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. He has over 30 years’ experience working with clients in logistics, media, technology and outsourcing.

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