Over 750 million people are on Facebook at the time of writing this article. There are users all over the world, in every age group, with every imaginable hobby and interest. If your business has customers they are probably on Facebook; but should your business be on Facebook? Below is a 4 step process that will give you the data to answer that question.
Step 1 – Find businesses related to yours in Facebook by searching for “pages” in your industry. No matter how obscure the business, you will probably find examples from your industry in Facebook. In fact, you may be surprised at just how many related businesses you find.
Step 2 – Analyze how similar businesses are using Facebook. Go through a number of pages and look at the wall posts. What type of content are they posting? How frequently are they posting the content? Are they simply pushing messages out, or are they actively engaging in a discussion with a community? Are they offering discounts or some other form of unique content exclusively to their Facebook audience? The goal here is to get a feeling for how you might be able to use Facebook for your small business. Ultimately you’ll want to create an experience that is unique, but it helps to start by understanding how other businesses are using Facebook.
Step 3 – Analyze the success of other businesses in your field. How many people “like” typical pages in your industry and how many people “like” the most popular pages in your industry? Pay particular attention to the difference in the number of “likes” between the businesses that are engaging in a conversation with their audience (what we would recommend) vs. the businesses that are simply broadcasting a one way message. Look closely to see how the frequency of posting is affecting the number of “likes”. The goal is to get a feel for what is required to maintain a successful page and how big that success can be.
Step 4 – Decide if Facebook can help you achieve your business goals. Doing the research outlined above will tell you how your business can use Facebook, how much time it will take, and how large of an audience you can expect. That should be the core data required to make an educated decision.
Too many small businesses fall into the trap of using Facebook simply because “everyone else is doing it”. More often than not, a haphazard approach is going to result in suboptimal results and frustrated business owners. If you are interested in using Facebook for your business, a little research up front is likely to yield far better results.
Image Credit: Sean MacEntee