There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t get questions about social media. Is it really beneficial? What works? How do you do it? Social media is one of the marketing strategies that most small business owners know they need to use, but it is a miasma of unknown for them.
We can certainly appreciate that because we see it in your faces and questions. We also know that it’s in the marketing news all the time about how social media platforms are changing their algorithms and making it much more difficult for businesses with a limited ad budget to be successful. Although there is some truth to that, there are also some facts that have never changed.
What has remained constant in social media?
Let’s talk primarily about Facebook here. Most businesses have a Facebook business page first before they ever talk about Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest. And that is good because not every business needs to be on all social platforms.
Every small business owner wants to do well and wants for their peers to do well, too. Most often, competition is friendly. There is a mindset of abundance in that owners believe there is enough business for everyone to succeed. That is one of the reasons small business community thrives in towns and counties around the nation. People help each other and support each other.
You see that play out on Facebook as well. In an effort to support each other, they do what they think will help. Let’s look at the different interactions that help.
First, connect with Business Pages
The first step is for owners to like (and follow) another owner’s Facebook business page. There is a difference between Liking and Following and you can do one and not the other. Generally speaking, when you like a page, you automatically follow it.
However, you can click unfollow. That means you won’t see all the page’s posts. Likewise, you can follow a page and not like it. It is a personal preference but with the establishment of EdgeRank, and all the algorithm changes, chances are pretty good that your feed will not get all the posts anyway.
However, and this important, if you change your preference to See First it overrides EdgeRank and makes sure that you DO see a page’s posts. This is the most valuable kind of like and follow you can have for your page. It means that more people will see more of your posts.
What about social media posts on Facebook?
The point of Facebook is interaction. And it is interaction with individual posts that spread the word about your business and make your page successful. That being said, there is quite a bit of confusion about how to handle posts so what you do is beneficial for the page owner. There are three kinds of interaction you can have with a post:
- Like the post (or use an emoticon to show your love, hate, or sadness).
- Comment on the post (responding and adding your two cents into a conversation).
- Share the post (giving the post legs by adding to your feed for your followers to see).
Most people believe they are being supportive when they like a post or add a heart, red-faced emoji, or crying emoji.They are, but that support is not translating into improved reach for the post. It’s kind of like getting noticed with a nod of a head when you walk into a networking event. You are being acknowledged, but not brought into a conversation or introduced to someone new. It’s nice.
When you really want to support a business, you can add to the impact of your like with a comment. Adding a comment means you are creating a conversation or becoming part of it. It adds to the richness of the post and, just like at a networking luncheon, invites authentic discussion, and increases the likelihood of developing a relationship. Think of it this way, how many people are on your Facebook feed that you have never met in person, but you feel like they are close friends? You get to know each other by comments and that is what happens for a business as well.
If you really want to spread the word about a business or business owner, share the post. When you share it, most often you will write a comment that appears on your profile (if you are responding as a person, not a business) or your page (if you are responding as a business.). This action gives the post exposure to a new audience – yours. You are essentially introducing one page to another. It’s like introducing someone to another person at a networking event.
What is the point?
The point is that by increasing interactions to a Facebook post, you are increasing the reach and spreading the word about a business. It’s not a referral or a recommendation, it’s simply increasing the network and exposing the post to a new set of “friends.” That is the gold in marketing. More eyeballs and more fans and followers.
When business owners share this information with each other and use it on each other’s pages, social media becomes the most effective. It’s not about being underhanded or developing strategies to promote a business, it’s simply being as friendly online as you are offline. If you would interact with a business owner at a networking event and introduce them to others, you can do the same on Facebook.
The big bonus is that, just like in developing relationships offline with people, the effort becomes reciprocal. If you interact with a page, chances are good that they will like and follow your page, and then interact with your posts. It becomes exponential in reach for everyone involved. Most business owners are friends out of the goodness of their heart, or in a desire to grow the entire community, and social media is simply an online version of the same thing.
It isn’t a big drain of time, either. Chances are good you are already online checking posts, so adding a comment is just a simple extension. Comments can be brief and fun. They don’t have to be a deep thought. They are just the same as when you are talking with someone and make a reply in a conversation.
Start some conversations to help your friends and let them help you. You hear it all the time at small business gatherings. We are in this thing together and a rising tide lifts all boats. If you need help with your website or social media, call NuMedia Marketing at 317-563-7235.
Are you on Facebook? We are, too. Let’s be friends.