local-advertising-facebook

This is based purely on actual experience; it’s not a quick fact-gathering web harvest, but based on a working ‘local’ business, a hairdressers that I co-own and upon top of which my web design studio sits. We primarily use Facebook to advertise our local business.

Facebook For Business

Advertising any business, anywhere, involves knowing your core demographic. If you’re a bricks and mortar business that operates within a given radius, you’ve just found one facet of that demographic – location. No-one wants to travel to the next town or city to have their hair done, so lets say we have a given town, and the surrounding villages out to a given area. Using Facebook for business is winner, in that you can narrow traffic down to a given sub-set of the population.

Whilst we’re a unisex salon, we do view our bread ’n butter clientele as ‘female’, and as for age, we cater for everyone from 16 up.

The moment you have a firm idea of who you are marketing to, the job of marketing via a Facebook likes page is much, much easier. You have a good idea of your core demographic and access to a specific radius of Facebook users.

Getting a Facebook like is an entire business model away from Twitter – someone liking your page on Facebook tends to be a real living person, and if you’ve attracted them via your business or targeted ads at a selective demographic, it’s a genuine, local person that may well be interested in your services.

A Facebook likes page serves much the same role as an email newsletter…

…but with much more immediacy. With the ‘constant on’ and interconnectivity of Facebook across desktops and mobile devices, information that you post on your page can often generate responses straight away, be it a post share or take-up of a special offer. This makes for much easier tracking of the worth of that post.

Throw in Facebook’s pretty extensive tracking tools (naturally, linked in to Google Analytics) and you’re in campaign heaven. You can even set ‘pages to watch’ and get an insider view of your competition and the amount of likes they’re getting. It’s always nice to have a sneaky tech spy.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility – reply to queries as soon as possible, and even if it’s just a comment that doesn’t need action, at least like it!

How do I get my first Facebook likes?

Your very first targets are your present clientele. Never, ever be afraid to ask a regular customer to pop on over to the website and follow the Facebook links. Not everyone will do it; like mowing the grass or sorting out that suspicious squeak in the loft, some things get left on paper.

Make absolutely sure that you have a clear link to your Facebook page from your website. Don’t hide it away down in the footer – get it up the top. Traffic from your website could easily start building those likes for you.

Getting likes with Facebook Ads

Step away from the mindset that considers ads as a cynical, worthless vanity ‘like’. This isn’t Twitter, and Facebook spends the gross GDP of small countries in order to know members better than you know the inside of your own skin. Pushing aside the privacy issues for another post, building a campaign leverages all this information to target your ads at a granular level.

For a small business (such as yourself) the budget doesn’t have to be enough to organise the next moonshot; play around with it and get that perfect balance of CPC (cost per click) and actual likes. Or forgo CPC altogether and simply pay to display.

Cover photos and design

The first thing you’ll want to be doing is getting a cover photo organised. I like to think of this as the ‘headline’ of the page. You need something eye-catching, but not too in your face. The usual design sensibilities apply here – keep to your branding.

  • If you sell a service, use an image that reflects it.
  • Selling products? Maybe a nice little collage.

Rather than telling what you do with rambling text, you need to show. In our case, a great haircut – here’s a quick though experiment; you sell sweets (candy for American readers). get those jelly beans and piled up and used them as a background. For a little more inspiration, wix.com have a great article, with lots of examples of killer cover photos.

What should I be posting to my Facebook business page?

Content is king, with your OWN content being the best option. Your goal is to grow your audience organically, and it’s an excellent chance to show your business in the best light possible. Amongst others, here are some possibilities:

  • Do you run a blog? Then get your posts onto your facebook page.
  • If you sell products, post them with an inviting write-up.
  • Special offers and discounts.

Try to avoid too much posting of links to other websites – the odd post to related content is OK, but the name of the game is to feature yourself, not Jimmy Five Bellies down at the pool hall. Remember, in the background Google is making a bigger deal of socially shared content as a ranking factor and it’d be a shame to waste this chance.

Levarage the reviews functionality

Now, I’m assuming you’re a really great business with fantastic reviews and feedback. Welcome to the star rating system – an at a glance chance for people to check out the overall greatness of your business. Beware! This is open to abuse; after all, what’s to stop a competitor leaping in and marking you down? If you do leave it running, keep a close eye; we’re in the business of attracting people, not driving them away. Another case of Facebook introducing ‘features’ without thought.

You’ll be glad to know this can be hidden if need be – here’s a youtube video on how to disable it.

Facebook for business – what are the benefits and how has it changed things?

Hugely is an excellent way of beginning! Our Facebook business page has provided an excellent sounding board for customers and queries. As soon as we have a special offer or event, I get immediate response.

It’s a little like having a forum, except that the forum is already populated by a large swathe of the local human race. Using Facebook for business is an ongoing task which should be kept up for the lifetime of the business (or Facebook!). Above all, have fun with it and get to know your customers. Give it the personal touch and bend over backwards to keep the information and answers flowing.

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