Survival Tips For Small Businesses With The Constant Facebook Algorithm Changes
You may have heard that Facebook has done yet another update to their algorithm. This time, there seems to be major damage control going on since the recent public press from former employees and how Facebook knowingly manipulated their platform for social programming and pressure from the government to explain how they are handling their ad revenue and tax reporting practices. Facebook wants their users to have a more positive experience when using it's platform therefore the focus with this new algorithm update is to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.
The bottom line for businesses, your organic reach will continue to take a hit. You may have already noticed a decline in the organic reach of your posts but this "pay to play" writing has been on this wall for more than 2 years and changes like this will only continue.
So what is a small business to do? Well first of all, it's important for small business owners to acknowledge that running a business comes with costs and some of that cost should include an advertising budget. It's also important for small businesses to be mindful of putting all of their eggs in one basket. There are lots of ways to market your business that should extend well beyond a Facebook business page.
In this blog post we are going to cover some survival tips to help you feel less anxious about how this latest Facebook update and future updates will affect your business. We are going to break down these tips for local businesses and online businesses to help you create a well-rounded approach to your creative marketing game.
So let's dive in!
LOCAL BUSINESS SURVIVAL TIPS
As a local business, you have a number of advantages and tools available to help you market your business. We are often surprised at the number of business owners who are not fully leveraging these tools.
Google Business Listing - As a local business, ensure that you have created a Google business listing. Think about how people are going to search for your business, the key words they will use. A local client of ours also has a wedding venue. When a bride turns to Google and searches for "wedding venue, College Station TX" to see what is available in her area their business Wind Dancer Retreat comes up in this Google search. Have you googled your business to ensure it is coming up? If it's not you are missing out on this valuable free traffic.
Google reviews are gold so it's important to ask your clients and customers to leave a review. Your potential client is going to use these reviews to help narrow down which businesses they call and check into. Get creative and offer an incentive for their time and effort. Reviews greatly help with your local Google listing and how it is ranked in the search results. Reach out to past clients and customers and ask them to leave you a review. Offer to send them a gift card or free gift for their time. Make it a priority moving forward to routinely ask for Google reviews.
Social Media - As a local business, social media helps to act as social proof of your business so it's important to be active daily if possible. Using Wind Dancer Retreat again as an example, we would safely bet that every potential bride is going to go scope them out on social media. Are they posting daily? Consistently? Are they providing content that a potential bride would find helpful in making a decision about whether to reach out to them to learn more about their venue, pricing and to schedule a tour?
Post behind the scenes photos Instagram and run giveaways. On Facebook, go Live to share a tip or what's happening at your local that week to build trust with potential clients and customers. Social media is a powerful tool for building trust. Going live on your Facebook page gets seen 6x's more than a post so take advantage of this and build trust around your brand. If people are landing on your social media pages and see that you have not posted in several weeks or several months, they are not going to have a warm and fuzzy feeling about checking out your business beyond a Google search.
Trust us, social media content matters.
You should also run Facebook ads targeting local people in your area. Boost a Facebook live video to more people in your town and surrounding areas to bring more traffic to your business page.
Email Marketing - People still use emails to subscribe to content they want to see and to receive deals from their favorite brands. Email is not going away anytime soon and should still be an important part of your marketing strategy as a local business. Use email to promote sales, special customer deals, etc. While it's important to share daily what is going on at your local on social media, not everyone will see it therefore email ensures more of your customers don't miss what is happening at your business.
To build your email list offer a one time discount shopping pass or a free service. If you running a boutique offer 20% off on their next in store shopping purchase. If you run a salon, offer a free eye brow waxing. For people to give up their email address it will need to be something of value and stretch beyond "subscribe to our newsletter". Make being on your email list attract by offering exclusive deals and sales only to your email subscribers.
ONLINE BUSINESS SURVIVAL TIPS
As an online business owner, your reach is much broader than a local business owner but you don't have the advantage of a local Google business listing so your social media strategy has to be broader and more strategic.
Social Media - It's important to think about where your online audience is hanging out. You don't need to be seen and heard everywhere but you also can't put all of your eggs into the Facebook business page basket. Be strategic with your marketing by choosing 2-3 platforms that you can be very focused and consistent with that also make sense for your business.
Keep in mind that it's important to understand how each platform works and the "shelf life" of the content.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat have a very short shelf life for content. While Instagram stories are fun and can build trust with your audience, for example, they disappear after 24 hours. A post to your Facebook business page will have an average of reaching 2% of your followers organically unless it is stellar content that gets a lot of shares and comments or you pay to boost it so more of your followers can see it.
Platforms like YouTube and Pinterest are more evergreen which means the content is indexed by Google and has a longer shelf life. A blog post pinned to a blog board that you create for your account will be indexed by Google and has the potential to be repinned over and over.
A video that you post to your YouTube account that is titled with SEO enriched keywords is also indexed by Google and searchable.
So it's important to have a well rounded social media strategy based on where your audience is likely to search for you and you to connect with them in order to provide the type of content they will love and resonate with on a consistent basis.
Email Markteting - Just like a local business, people still use emails to subscribe to content they want to see and to receive deals from their favorite online brands and bloggers. Email is not going away anytime soon and should still be an important part of your marketing strategy, especially as an online business. Use email to build a relationship with your followers.
To build your email list offer a valuable free resource as an opt-in. For people to give up their email address it will need to be something of value and stretch beyond "subscribe to my newsletter". Think about the urgent problems your audience is facing and how you can put together a free resource that can help address those problems and give them tips to solving it. Be creative and think outside the box. Use social media to promote your free opt-in like pinning it to the top of your Facebook business page and run a Facebook business ad.
Create a YouTube Video about your opt-in or write a blog post to dive deeper and pin it to Pinterest to leverage more evergreen marketing to create buzz around your free resource.
You can offer a free eBook, a free 20 minute disovery call, a free video that is not available any where else, a quiz that can help them dive deeper into their self discovery, a free consultation. Use your email list to give regular free value 80% of the time and to upsell into your paid services and/or products the other 20% of the time.
There are a variety of marketing tools out there that don't have to break the small business bank. The goal is to create a marketing plan that you can stick with daily. The consistency is what is going to yield big results.
Were these tips helpful? Do you feel more empowered to up your online and local marketing game as a small business owner? We hope so but would love to hear your thoughts so be sure to leave us a comment!
P.S. Are you feeling unsure about your online marketing strategy? Do you need a website or need to rebrand your current website to help you feel more confident in your marketing? Check out our web design services and shoot us a message. We would love to chat with you more.
Welcome! I am April Williams a freelance writer and Squarespace web designer working with creative small business owners. I am passionate about God, family, spoiling my Boxers and coffee...in that order. Here you will find practical tips for branding, marketing and social media so be sure to check out the blog for more free training and resources.