How Small Business Owners Can Benefit From The “New” Facebook

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facebook
Image by: Anoka County Library
By Josie Alexander

If you haven’t noticed the new ads on Facebook, it’s probably because you don’t have a Facebook account. These things are hard to miss. In addition to the ads, there have been a surge of small business Facebook storefronts lately. What (as business owners) can we learn from the way that they operate? How are they different and what can small businesses do to make themselves stand out more?

#1) ”Got What It Cakes”

I’m going to start this off with a great success story. A couple of years ago a small baking business (started up by a woman named Mandie Miller) was born. She was a stay-at-home mom who decided that it was time to jump back into the workforce wagon. After her friends encouraged her to start up a business based on her passion (baking), “Got What It Cakes” was born.

Because of having a Facebook storefront, her orders tripled in two years. She was now bringing in about $40,000. Why was it that she thrived on Facebook?

To tell you the truth, passionate small business owners have a tendency of standing out amongst all of the businesses on Facebook.

#1) Big Business vs. Small Business

Passionate small business owners that are looking to grow on Facebook will thrive. Some “Negative Nancy’s” argue that big business can obtain things that small businesses can’t; mainly people that are hired to work with social media. I don’t agree.

The difference between the two types of businesses is that as a small business owner, generally social media posts are treated like regular Facebook posts. These passionate owners engage with their fans. I don’t think they realize that these conversations that they have with people are like unintentional ads.

As a potential customer, I find it annoying to be bombarded with advertising all of the time. If a big coffee company puts up a post that says “Come check out our new blond roast.” I’m more likely to gloss over it.

However, if the drive-thru coffee stand says, “Come say hi to Steph! She’s back from vacay with stories to tell!” I’m more likely to show up and say hi. Then, when I get there, I’ll probably get sucked in by their special of the day.

#2) Newest Facebook Changes

The two biggest (and most recent) changes in the world of Facebook advertising and newsfeeds are story bumping and “last actor”. Don’t know what these mean? Let me elaborate.

“Story Bumping” is when organic stories get bumped up to the top of peoples’ newsfeeds. This was brought into effect because users weren’t scrolling far enough to get the latest information. Because of this, sometimes posts would get lost but not anymore.

“Last Actor” keeps track of a user’s last 50 interactions: likes, comments, shares, etc. Facebook uses that information to rank the posts on that person or business’ page.

Okay, so how do small businesses use this information?

#3) Post Multiple Times A Day

Since new stories are likely to show up on top of a fan’s feed, make sure that you are updating often. If you don’t keep your page updated, most likely your new information will get lost in all of the hustle and bustle of everyday Facebook updates.

#4) Look At The Data

Check out the Insights section of your dashboard to look at the data. When are people looking at your page? Make sure to make new updates around these times. Make sure to update the page tabs that were visited the most. It also helps to look at which types of posts fans are engaging with. Are people looking at the fabulous pictures of cakes on your Facebook page?

Are they not as engaged with your status updates? How can you change it up? Are you asking them questions and engaging with them?

#5) Fans Are Visual People

People are more likely to click on a picture than a status update. In fact, photos generally get 53 percent more likes than update posts. Take advantage of this by updating your photo tab often. Take pictures of yourselves with fans (don’t forget to tag your fans as well), take pictures of your newest products, your latest changes in your actual storefront, your sale items, and even yourselves.

I love being able to recognize my favorite employees at my favorite stores. I’ll comment that fact as well:

“Yay! So glad Steph is back from vacay! We missed you! <3”

#6) Contests and Special Offers

Facebook has an option (right from your status update dialog box) to add special offers. You’ll have to pay a bit for it, but it is a handy tool.

Even if you don’t use their handy, dandy “special offers” button, special offers and contests are great to add to your Facebook storefront. Make it personal too. Have the contests be about your fans interacting with your products or employees.

That’s what really makes small businesses stand out on Facebook: fan/customer interactions, personable status updates, and their personalities. Sure, big business can offer great websites and fancy ads, but Facebook is all about interactions, different personalities, and keeping up with your friends.

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