3 Cost-Effective Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners
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by Elena Velikova
December 19, 2014
Facebook first announced in April 2012 that business pages only reach about 16 percent of their followers. Part of this is due to the organic loss of exposure from your followers not being logged into Facebook when you post, and part of it is due to the ranking algorithm of newsfeed. The following month, the company rolled out its Promoted Posts tool that enables business to reach more followers for a fee. The more followers you want to reach, the more you have to pay.
Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, had a very public feud with Facebook over their insistence that he pay $3,000 to reach 1 million of his 2.3 million followers at the time. Facebook responded by saying its EdgeRank algorithm had not changed so that they could charge businesses for a previously free service, as many accused them of doing. But those who've had business pages on the network since before April 2012 have watched the "evolution" with their own eyes.
Despite both Facebook and Twitter making it harder for businesses to reach followers organically, social media remains a great bargain for marketing purposes. Companies simply need to adapt to this new environment to take full advantage of what social media has to offer.
Take Extra Steps
It's great that new followers "like" your Facebook page daily. But as mentioned earlier, that doesn't necessarily mean they will see your post in their timelines. One way to boost page impressions is by telling your followers to specifically ask for notifications from you.
On your Facebook page, hover the cursor over the "Like" button and you'll reveal an option to "Get Notifications." Once followers do that, they will get that red reminder at the top of the screen on the globe that you have posted something new. Write a quick post explaining this and pin it to the top of your feed, so it's the first thing followers see when they click your page.
Another option is to tag individuals and other companies in relevant posts. Don't bombard people. But if certain individuals frequently engage your content, tag them every now and then. This is also a good customer service move, as it lets them know you recognize their contributions to the company.
Use Memes And Videos
A 2012 Hubspot study found that photos generate 53 percent more "likes" on Facebook and 104 percent more comments than text and link posts. This is part of the reason Facebook-owned Instagram has become so popular.
People have simply evolved into visual consumers as opposed to readers of block text. But you can still get your points across with memes. There are several free meme generators to choose from. Make certain to keep the messages short and on point. You can also place your company logo on the meme in case it goes viral.
Another untapped resources is Youtube. The video hosting site is not only powered by Google, but it gets 1 billion unique users every month. Though people typically do not mention Youtube in the same breath as Facebook and Twitter, it is in fact a social media platform, complete with subscribers. Make sure to use the description field and include a link to your website and social media channels in all videos.
Takes Money to Make Money
Many business owners are angry over Facebook charging them, but it's still a good idea to pony up some funds regardless. A 2014 study conducted by marketing developer Kenshoo found that paid Facebook advertising lead to higher conversions among people who saw the ads versus those only exposed to the organic timeline. Twitter also has a promoted Tweets program that can be equally effective.
It doesn't hurt to try these options out and continue if they work. Small businesses can get creative to expand their market budgets. Apply for a small business credit card if you don't have immediate cash on hand. Business owners currently receiving structured settlement payments may qualify to sell their future payments for a lump sum of cash now. These funds could then help buy paid advertising on social media.
The game has changed a bit in the past couple years, but the bottom line is still the same. Social media is a low-cost, effective way to disseminate and grow your brand.