For a small business, marketing can be a time-consuming activity that mustn’t be allowed to get in the way of delivering your products. The dilemma is that without marketing you will not reach new customers. A Facebook Page can help with your marketing, but you need to have the resources to drive up engagement with your followers. There’s very little you can do to ensure your messages are seen consistently. The number of people who see a post is limited, typically to around 16% or less of your followers will. So, you need to do the math, monitor results, and see if your investment of time is worthwhile.
Depending on your market, Pinterest could be more worthwhile. It has been significantly outstripping Facebook for referrals on some of the sites we look after.
From our observations, a well shared Facebook post may reach up to 30% of your followers, though there are no hard-and-fast rules. There was a time when posting pictures and having them shared was a good way of getting your message to a wider Facebook audience. Facebook apparently caught on to that loophole very quickly. Now it seems that they actively reduce the number of people who see pictures posted on pages. This is really disappointing for businesses whose pages rely on imagery. Photographers and jewelry makers for example. We’ve seen some businesses resorting to posting a text update first and then adding a picture in the comments as a way to circumvent Facebook’s strategy.
The unpredictability in Facebook’s message delivery has resulted in us finding ways to reduce our customers’ reliance on it. If you have a Facebook Page our advice is to keep on posting and see what works. Use every opportunity to direct people to your website where you have complete control. Once there, give visitors incentives to sign up for email updates. With email at least you can guarantee your message will be delivered, though not necessarily read by the people who have signed up.
Continually monitor and review your results. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change things. Use the tools that Facebook provides to see what people are doing. Make sure that you have Google Analytics or a similar product enabled on your website. Even more important, learn how to read and use the reports. By using the information available you can start building a marketing base around your website, independent of the whims of the likes of Facebook.