As a small business owner, you should be thinking about getting active on social media – that’s a given. However, you may be a little baffled by the choice. Which is the best social media website for small businesses? But particularly, which is the best social media website for your small business?
In a series of blogs I’m going to run through the pros and cons of the biggest and best options out there. I’ll start with the biggest of the lot: Facebook.
The king of all social media websites, Facebook commands an audience of a whopping 1.79 billion! With an audience that big – over a billion of which log in every day – you’re spoilt for choice. Surely your customers hang out here…
Massive opportunity with a huge audience
1.79 billion is about as big as it gets, no?
A worldwide audience
Facebook may be an American invention but there are supposedly well over 300 million active users in Europe. This means that there’s a worldwide market available through Facebook, if you fancy taking your small business global.
Diverse age range
Facebook’s biggest age group is 25-34 year olds, but even these guys only represent 29.7% of users. Truthfully Facebook has significant numbers in all ages – from teenagers to pensioners.
Pages can hold a lot of content
If you spend a bit of time at the start adding all the information you can – a bio, opening hours, location, image galleries etc – you’ll find that your Facebook page quickly becomes a sort of mini website.
Widest variety of content
Of all the social media platforms, Facebook probably allows you to post the widest variety of content. There are no harsh limitations on character count and users are accustomed to seeing photos, videos, news articles, blogs, offers, polls etc pop up in their feed. It’s also one of the few social channels that’s geared up to support 360-degree videos.
Facebook has become a huge advertising powerhouse over the last couple of years, and it’s achieved this through being able to offer its users a cheap solution (on a per click/engagement level) that can be very cleverly targeted (there’s a great how to guide here). There’s no minimum spend either; you can spend £2 if that’s all you want to risk, or £100,000 if you got the cash to spare… These three factors should be very appealing for a small businesses who want to reach a specific audience on a limited budget.
Can be good for driving clicks to your website
The combination of advertising options combined with Facebook’s link preview cards means that pages can end up sending a decent amount of traffic to a brand’s website. If you’re website’s got the right message, a portion of these should turn into conversions.
Facebook is innovative
It’s always developing. New features keep coming thick and fast, and that’s great. If you’re going to commit to one social platform, you want it to be one that keeps its users engaged.
You can schedule content in advance, meaning you can sit down for an hour during a quite spell and sort the bulk of the content for the week.
Facebook offers chat functionality through Messenger, which seems to be going from strength-to-strength in the last year or so. They now encourage consumers to get in touch with brands through Messenger for customer service, which is only going to increase its use and popularity.
Facebook also comes packaged with insightful analytics. You can get accurate information and demographics on who has liked your page and who has engaged with your content. If you keep an eye on the information, you can use it to post better content and it will act as a useful indicator on who your customers are.
Organic is tough
It used to be simple, but now Facebook’s cheeky algorithm makes it hard for brand pages to reach their audience organically (i.e. for free). That is, unless you can create incredible content of course. But then that’s never (realistically) going to be free…
Hurry up already
It can take forever to build a sizeable audience without investment. There is a definite snowball effect with Facebook – the bigger your audience, the more engagement and reach you generate, which in turn generates a bigger audience.
Because content is so diverse and there are so many big players posting it, the picture you took on your iPhone is competing with that 360-degree video that Nike spent £50k on…
An ageing audience
Some think that the likes of Instagram and Snapchat are robbing Facebook of the younger generation. This may be true, and if it is you should consider these alternatives if your customers are youngsters. My view, however, is that it’s only a case of the younger audience using Facebook less, rather than not at all.
Is Facebook the best for small businesses?
Facebook’s awesome. There’s a huge audience and with the advertising on offer there’s a real opportunity for a small business to reach their niche affordably.
The innovation is critical too. If a social media site doesn’t keep their audience excited (that’s consumers and businesses), their growth will be limited.
What do you reckon? Is Facebook the best for small businesses?