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Why Facebook is an Essential Marketing Tool for any Small or Local Business

Gone are the days when Facebook could be passed off as the latest fad. With 1.87 billion active users each month and four million active advertisers, the social platform is not only here to stay, it’s also completely dominating the world of social networking.

What’s more, it’s entirely transforming the way small and local businesses market themselves. As a business leader, if you don’t want to fall behind and lose out to your numerous competitors, ignoring the phenomenon that is Facebook advertising is a seriously bad move. Here’s why you really should consider jumping on the social media bandwagon.

It’s Got the Numbers

Not only are Facebook’s user-numbers ridiculously high, but people are engaging. According to Facebook's own data from December 2016, 78% of users return to the site daily and check their Newsfeed 15-20 times a day1. You’re probably thinking, “Pfft... I don’t check mine nearly that much”. You may well be right. So, then think about just how many times some people must be sneaking little peeks at their News Feed throughout the day to bring that average up. Frankly, the level to which some people engage with Facebook is a little scary.

Plus, despite nearly everything moving online, Facebook is still managing to take up a fifth of all time spent on the internet (again, according to Facebook's own data from Dec 2016). What’s more, users are no longer just mindlessly scrolling, nor are they simply posting selfies and checking what their mates are up to anymore.

Instead, they’re diversifying the way they use the platform; they’re actually engaging with the content. From consuming relevant news articles, searching for events, and clicking on promotions and sales, there’s no end to what this multifaceted site has to offer. As a result, Facebook ads have an average click-through-rate that is almost ten times higher than regular web ads.

Amazingly, the platform generates a quarter of all website traffic. And users aren’t just clicking; they’re more than happy to engage and convert so long as you provide them with the right content to drive your desired outcome. With intelligent targeting and content that ties in with the interests and purchasing habits of your typical customer, it could be easier than you think to open up a treasure chest full of new prospects, as well as re-engage your existing customer base.

It Works

Businesses are continuing to see success from Facebook Ads. Sixty-five million businesses have used Facebook Pages in the last 30 days (an increase of around 15 million from this time last year, according to Business Insider) and at the last count, the platform reported four million active advertisers – almost double that of 2015.

While these numbers are increasing, there’s also a shift in the amount that people are willing to spend on the platform. The truth of the matter is that many savvy businesses are moving their marketing budget from other, arguably less effective channels, to where they are seeing the highest ROI – on Facebook.

But does all this actually convert to real money-in-the-bank results? Well, take it from the horse’s mouth – 42% of Americans say Facebook is their number one influencer of purchases, while a recent study by Facebook (of US shoppers who recently made a purchase) found that:

  • 30% discovered a new product on Facebook
  • ⅓ said Facebook & Instagram were good places to find out about a new product or service
  • 20% said Facebook led them to buy a new product/service online

What do these stats tell us? Well, not only are Facebook ads proving successful when talking growth, user-numbers, click-through-rates and the like, but it’s also translating into real, successful business results.

It Boosts Other Media

While Facebook ads are an amazing tool, they are the not the magic solution to all your problems. It would be naive to believe that they are. Sure, they can be effective as a stand-alone marketing method; however, they work best when supporting other media, and have been proven to boost other efforts and help propel other channels towards greater success.

For example, if you’re currently running TV ads, you could back them up with video ads on Facebook. There’s a 30% increase in brand awareness and consideration when using Facebook video to complement other media.

Or, on the other hand, if you’re trying to improve your SEO and boost traffic to your website, you could backup your search ads with Facebook ads. People who see ads on Facebook are more likely to search and click through to an advertiser’s website, with campaigns experiencing a 6.3% lift in mobile search traffic.

No matter what your current objective, chances are there’s an ad type for it. Soft-sell, hard-sell, raise awareness, find new subscribers, get more traffic to your website, get more people into your store, get more downloads of your app, find a new member of staff, run a competition…I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. There’s little limit to what you can do with Facebook ads – the trick is figuring out how to nail them, and allowing them to slot in nicely to your current marketing strategy.

Convinced Yet?

The reality is that Facebook isn’t going away. The sheer numbers can’t be ignored and the fact of the matter is, your audience is on Facebook.

While Facebook ads do work on the same pay-per-click/pay-per-impression idea as most online advertising does, there’s one striking difference. The scary amount of data that Facebook has on each user means that your ads can be put in front of people that are much more likely to actually engage with your ad, and take the action you want them to. Facebook knows who’s more likely to click, who likes to watch videos through to the end, who’s happy to leave the app and do a bit of mobile-shopping, and so on. This means that when you choose to run ads on this platform you’re essentially spending your advertising dollars far more efficiently, by reaching those most relevant to your offering.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and why wouldn’t you when there’s so little to lose? Organic content is all well and good for representing who you are on your social platforms, but with the average reach for posts by Facebook Pages being 2.6%, you really have to pay to play.

Likes, comments and shares might make you look good amongst your peers, but do they mean more customers? Not necessarily. If you focus on getting real business results on Facebook through clever targeting and ad types that tie in with your existing strategies, you’ll be amazed how quickly you start to see the value.

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