So what is the real deal with Facebook? Everyone tells me I need to be on it, I try it…but I don’t see any results. Am I wasting my time? This is the same pain the majority of local small business owners are experiencing. So here is your Facebook for Small Business 101 crash course with the top secrets local businesses are missing.

Secret 1: Facebook is about telling your story – not a quick sale

Before you engage in a Facebook campaign for your business, it is important to fully understand what exactly Facebook can do for your organization. Are businesses making a lot of money on Facebook? Absolutely, but it is something that is acquired over time.

Think of a TV ad for a moment. If you purchase just one :30 second spot, will people be flying through your door? Of course not. In fact, it normally takes 1-3 months of repetition and frequency before a TV ad sees fruit. Facebook works in a similar manner.

Facebook is about sharing your story and engagement, not a means to be a salesman online. This is the main mistake local businesses owners make. Think of it like this, how many people like to deal with a used car salesman at the end of their month when they are under a tight quota? Very few, unfortunately the majority of local business owners position themselves as pesky sales reps on Facebook desperate to make a sale.

Now think of this, how many of you love to hear a good story…everyone, right? Facebook gives you the channel to tell your story where your customers are the main character, they face a problem, and you are the hero that allows their hope to come alive.

This is how you want to position yourself on Facebook, guiding your customers through their problems and show them an ideal situation they can achieve after they do business with you. In essence you are positioning yourself as a consulting expert – not a sales rep. However, consistency and patience is the key to see results.

Secret 2: Focus on one post at a time to increase your Edge Score

Have you ever noticed that you continue to post on your Facebook business page and it seems like no one is seeing it? Well that is probably because they aren’t. In the beginning of 2014, Facebook changed their algorithm where only 3% of your followers will view your post – that is it. And pretty soon, if not already, that number will go down to 1%. Why are they doing this? “If you want to play you gotta pay.”

So how can you ensure you are not wasting your time and more people actually see your posts? To understand this you want to know of the term Edge Score. Facebook gives each post a score; the more likes, shares, and comments a post receives in the shortest amount of time, the higher the score. The higher the score, the more people will see your post.

Facebook does this because they want to reward relevant content, if a post is receiving a lot of engagement this tells Facebook people are interested in this post. On the flipside, if people are not interacting with your post it tells Facebook people are not interested in your post, and will limit the times it is displayed.

So how can you increase your Edge Score? There are a couple of tricks. First, post when you know a large percent of your followers are online. If you post at 11:30 at night and your clientele is business owners, most likely no one will see it. The same goes if you post at 6 am and your target is college students.  Find out when your target market is active online, and post during those times.

Another trick is as soon as you post on your business page, share it on your personal page. You can also like the post on your business page as your personal profile. To do this, locate the icon on the bottom right of your post with a downward arrow (see the image below). Click on the arrow and select your personal page.

 

The key is to get as many engagements as possible in the 1st 10 minutes. Now this 10 minute number is not scientific, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

Secret 3: Understand the Technology Adoption Life Cycle

The technology adoption cycle is a model that describes how a new product gains popularity in the marketplace. This model helps a business break down the market into different segments, and provides a sequence of when each segment should be targeted.

If you think about it, your Facebook page and social media campaign can be viewed as a new product you are launching. There are specific groups you should target to make your page go viral, and there is a specific order in which they should be targeted. According to the theory, each group has its own characteristics and motivations. Here is an excerpt from http://www.ondigitalmarketing.com/learn/odm/foundations/5-customer-segments-technology-adoption/ describing.

 

Below is a brief description of the different segments. As you read them, think of different groups in your clientele base who might fit each descriptions.

Innovators (2.5%)

  • Technology enthusiasts, first individuals to adopt a product
  • Willing to take risks because they believe new technology is better than existing technology
  • Personally close to your businesses, willing to try a new product just because it’s you
  • Risk tolerance has them trying products which may ultimately fail

Early Adopters (13.5%)

  • Believe in technology as a path to competitive advantage and convenience
  • Socially forward and connected
  • Passionate for products they believe in and an open advocate
  • Active on social media

Early Majority (34%)

  • Adopt an innovation significantly after early adopters
  • Do not trust early adopters as a reference
  • Need social proof from peers before making a purchase

Late Majority (34%)

  • Will adopt an innovation after the majority
  • Skeptical of new products

Laggards (16%)

  • Only accepts a new product when their current product is obsolete
  • Resistant to change

Secret 4: Solidify your base

The first group of people you want to focus on in your Facebook page is the Innovator segment who will be the first to “take the risk” and interact with your Facebook page. In your case, it is called your friends and family. Another big mistake local businesses make is they target a main stream group without solidifying their base. This is why this is a mistake – Edge Score.

Remember you have 10 minutes to get as many engagements in your post as possible, and who are those most likely to engage in your post as you are starting out? Those who already know you and your current customers.

Send an email to all of your contacts and customers asking them to like your Facebook page. Invite all your Facebook friends to like your page. And place your Facebook page on your email signature, website, and business cards. These are simple ways to solidify your base. A simple 7-day strategy to penetrate your base can be found here.

Secret 5: Target your most passionate customers’ base (Early Adapters) 

Who is the most passionate and loyal group of customers you currently have? This should be the group who is always telling everyone about how great your latest products are, and the group that gives you the most referrals. After you have identified who this group is, define what they want; not what you think they want, but what they truly want. What are their hopes, what problems do they face, and what motivates them?

Make one post per day catering to this group. Here is the objective: define the niche in your current customer base who are your biggest advocates, and motivate them to share your Facebook posts by providing them with content they directly can relate to.

Here is a link of different types of Facebook posts to help you out. Simply select a different style for each day, and relate it to your passionate customer base. This will be tricky at first, however if you stay with it in a couple of weeks you will notice your Facebook activity skyrocket.

This stage should only take 5-10 minutes per day, however you want to be consistent and focus one to two months on this stage. You can monitor the success of your content by the amount of engagements (like, comments, shares).

Be observant on what types of post are getting more activity than others. By the end of one to two months you should have a decent idea on what types of content your target market relates to.

Secret 6: Penetrate a Main Stream Segment (Early Majority)

By this point you should have solidified a passionate segment in your current customer base on your Facebook page to the point where they are actively interacting with your post (you do not want to move onto this stage until this is complete).

Being able to jump from an early adopter segment into a main stream majority segment is very difficult. In fact, the number of businesses that fail in making this leap is so large that it has been given the nickname “the chasm”.

Though it is difficult, it is possible. What you want to do is identify one niche in the main stream market that is under duress, has exhausted conventional products, is the path of least resistance, will benefit greatly from your products, and is now open to try a new solution.

The key is to only select one niche. A common mistake the majority of business owners make is they try to tackle multiple segments at once and their resources are so spread out it becomes ineffective.

Once you have selected this niche, identify who the market maven groups are within that niche. A market maven is someone who:

  • Comes in contact with a large amount of people every day (for example non-profit board members, business associations, and local hair stylists fit this example)
  • Whose opinion is valued
  • Are actively advocating on social media (for example, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both pinpointed a niche who are disgruntled with politics, and have no problem sharing content online)

Once you have identified the market mavens in this main stream niche, you are going to follow the same exact process you followed in penetrating your current clientele. What are their hopes, what problems do they face, and what motivates them?

At this stage you are going to jump up to 2 posts per day. One to focus on your most passionate niche, and the other to focus on market mavens in the main stream market.

Secret 7: You Make Money from Facebook by Guiding your Customers through the Buying Cycle

As we discussed earlier, Facebook is not an effective sales tool; however it is very effective in guiding customers through the buying cycle. Let’s think about this for a second:

Before a customer even thinks about making a purchase, they need to recognize a problem or want exists. Yet, I think we can all agree that the majority of potential customers do not even fully understand the extent of this need or want. You can use Facebook to properly educate them. Blogs, images, and videos shared on Facebook are very effective.

After they understand a want or problem exists, the next thing a potential customer does is research online. Before a customer makes a purchase, what questions do they have and what answers are they seeking? You can write an expert blog to answer the questions your customers have and share it on Facebook. Here is an article that teaches how to do this.

The third stage in the buying cycle is deciding what company to buy from. This is more than price. Sharing testimonies, images of people enjoying the benefits your company offers, and behind the scenes posts displaying how hard you work are all ways to develop trust and expertise.

Finally we get to the stage of making a sale. Yes you can promote a sale or special offer on Facebook. But more importantly display how easy it is for a potential customer to contact you. Always remember to position yourself as a consultant and not a sales rep. Even though it is ok to post sales content, this should only consist of 5-10% of your posts.

I know this can all be very confusing, this is normal. But with consistency, you will get the hang of it in no time. If you could use some guidance, Main St Rock hosts a complimentary seminar the 4th Tuesday of every month at 8 am at the Harbour Club located in downtown Charleston, SC. For more information visit Seminar.MainStRock.com. Main St Rock also has a suite of tools to help you post credible content on social media. You can learn more at Business.MainStRock.com.