Free Game: Your Small Business on Facebook

Backlit Facebook sign.
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Recently I’ve noticed my friends on Facebook running into challenges while trying to market their small business on the platform. I honestly loathe using Facebook for business, which is why you see me use my own business page {link opens in new tab: Monique Anna Elizabeth} so infrequently, but for most people and their businesses Facebook is a necessary evil {even if it’s just to use Facebook space to send customers to a different platform}.

Here are some things I’ve seen, am seeing, and should be rectified – as well as a few general tips for establishing your small business on Facebook initially.

1: The friends you’ve accumulated on your personal Facebook profile are not obligated to engage with, or share, your work. And most will not, for their own valid and acceptable reasons. Be fine with that.
The best way for word of work to likely catch on, is through a Facebook page, where “business” is expected, and can still be shared.

If you are conducting business via Facebook at all, you should have a business page. Invite all of your friends to “Like/Follow” – is that annoying? Totally. Do it anyway.

These invitations are easily ignorable, and carry less weight of obligation. It also allows your friends who may still be in the dark about you even owning a business {or simply selling a product, etc} to see what you offer, and to opt in to hearing about your business. Profile is for friends and family {who, again, are not obligated to engage with your work, buy from you, or help sell your goods – regardless of how much they love you}, page is for business.

1a: To reiterate – you need a Facebook Page for pretty much any business. And YES, it should be complete: cover photo, your personality, full information regarding the services you offer. Allow feedback from your clients and customers, engage with their comments, and tags, respond to negative feedback with tact and diplomacy – but do respond to it.

2: If you are going to ignore rule #1 and share your work solely on your profile space anyway – use friendship words and not manipulative ones. “Y’all share celebrities’ businesses, but not your friend’s.” isn’t going to garner you the sincere and genuine support you’re looking for, full stop.

3: “PM for price”, “You name the price” asks too much of your potential customers. Put all of the necessary information: price for item, cost of shipping, relevant fees directly in the post. Exceptions: “$30, OBO” is fine, you’ve given a jumping off point. And it’s also fine to note if the price varies, though having estimates for clients to manage expectations is truly helpful.

4: Don’t pay for reach until you know your audience, otherwise you’re throwing money into the void.

5: Facebook is not the be all, end all, for business. There are other platforms that may suit your business type, and targeted audience well.

6: It takes time and consistent effort. Social media is not for direct selling, it is for relationship building, and you will not see success overnight. Month 1 should see you experimenting heavily:

  • What times are you seeing most engagement
  • How does your reach change when you add a link, or an image, ask a question
  • What kinds of images fare best
  • Who are you seeing most frequently engaging
  • Are Stories helping

Use Facebook’s internal analytics to gather information, develop your strategy {or (link opens in new tab) hire someone to do it for you} and grow from there. Expect three months, as an average, to truly get established.

7: Some useful tools to help you begin {links open in new tabs}:

  • Canva: Easy to use program for creating compelling content
  • Unsplash: High resolution, freely usable imagery
  • A URL shortener that also provides limited analytics
  • {I can’t believe I’m saying this} Facebook Creator Studio: Often buggy and unreliable, but also allows for the scheduling of Facebook Page and Instagram posts, and has accessibility features baked in. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve heard me berate the software before.

Good luck!

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