Is Facebook finally a worthwhile tool for business? I have been reticent to recommend using a Facebook-focused strategy in the past as Facebook is not a platform that you can control. Furthermore, the company makes changes at will and they don’t generally benefit your business. But there are ways to make Facebook make sense for your business.
Facebook Business Page
As a prerequisite your business should have an owned business page. This will put your business face forward in the largest online community of record in the world. Here is information on Facebook Pages and Groups and I also have an article on why it’s good to have a Facebook Business Page. In the past I’ve shared ideas for how to use a Page to your benefit and also how not to extinguish your message by firehosing.
Groups - An Opportunity
There are groups for just about everything under the sun. For example, I co-host a weekly podcast about vintage cars. There are Facebook groups for podcasters, for auto enthusiasts which can get so specific that there are multiple groups even about specific car models and automotive designers. There are inevitably groups where your peers hang out but also ones where your customers might be.
One Facebook group for podcasters is over 18,000 people strong. While there is a tremendous number of posts that are repetitive there are actually useful posts and some influential people lurk in the group. There are definitely learning opportunities in the various Facebook groups and groups can also be private so you can establish a group only for certain clients or customers and have “secret benefits.”
Facebook has recently allowed Business Pages to join groups so your business’ Facebook Page may be able to join a group and participate. If it makes sense to use this as a promotional tool, it could really be a benefit. I will warn you that this functionality is super buggy and I’ve been a very vocal voice to Facebook about this function working only sporadically so be forewarned.
When I post a new post on this blog I go out and find groups and topics that are relevant to the blog and share it there. This is another reason to have a blog as I wrote about last week. By sharing the blog posts or other updates you can further the reach of your marketing with only a time investment - no dollars spent.
So, for example, when we talked about automotive designer Virgil Exner on my automotive podcast, I went and found groups about him and about the cars he designed and shared links to the podcast there.
What happened was I got a tremendous amount of traffic for that specific episode of the podcast from these posts.
Let’s say you’re a local business and you source some of your product from a specific local farm. You can use the power of sharing to share the finished product you have created on that farm’s page and they can share their component on yours. There is a restaurant locally that buys much of their wine from local wineries and the cross-promotion between the two is terrific, benefitting both businesses.
Or what if your business sells a certain product and there are rabid fans of that product in a Facebook Group? That would be a good place to share where they can get it. Or if you’re an architect there are plenty of groups on Facebook with people who are remodeling or designing places - being the “go to” person for questions there could be beneficial.
Best of all all this promotional opportunity is absolutely and completely free.
I know Facebook is doing everything it can to extract dollars from us in the form of boosted posts and promotions on Facebook itself but you can certainly use your stealthy marketing presence to get the most out of this guerrilla marketing technique.