COMM0011 – Blog Post #1 Facebook for small local business not only an opportunity but a challenge.  

I wasn’t surprised to read in the article Social media marketing trends for small business that only 35% of self-employed find that Facebook efforts are effective .

When I looked for Facebook pages of small organizations I noticed that a lot of local businesses have a Facebook page.  Generally, they have placed a couple of posts and gave up for over a year. I even found that big local chains with strong marketing retail support such as MacEwen, Mr. Gas and Quickie do not even have a corporate Facebook page.

What kind of challenges might face small local business and is it possible to find solutions? I attached some Facebook posts which I find can illustrate some examples of good practice.

  • The goal achievement. The owner of small business should not only believe that social media can help to improve the business but also understand why this particular business needs to be presented in these channels of communication. This problem was described in one of article  Social media marketing trends for small business from the Social media examiner website. Answering simple questions can help to create an individual goal. Why do you need to be present on Facebook?  Would you like to increase your offline sales? Do you need to attract more customers to your offline store? Do you want to have some feedback of your business?  Would you like to have an additional avenue to inform people about a new service or new product? Do you want to have an easy way to share the information with your loyal customers?
  • Consequently owners of small businesses might have a contest problem. What kind of information can be interesting for their target audience? There are some every day practices about content filling for businesses.

–  Sharing information about new products or services, contests or promotions of the business and announcements and results.

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– Sharing useful information in relations to basic goals of the business. For example a hair salon can post information about hair care tips, the bakery can post an interesting recipe, grocery stores can tell about beneficial features of some products etc…

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– Sharing information about business news.

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– Reminding people about products and services that can be interesting to potential customers.

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– Calling to the action by asking audience direct questions.

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– Placing entertainment information, funny pictures, jokes, interesting videos related to the business and interests of target audience.

joke

  • Creativity. Undoubtedly the owners of small business are too busy to create an interesting contest, search for pictures and information.  Checking other businesses Facebook pages or Facebook best practices might help to resolve this problem. The owners shouldn’t copy and paste an interesting contest but they can see some ideas that can help improve their Facebook page.  Another option is to work with business suppliers who always have logos or promotional material that can easily be adapted and customized to the owner’s theme or target audience. I find it is a great and creative post example from local convenience store from Gatineau.

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  • Risks of loosing the business’s reputation. Other side of quick direct communication with customers is the responsibility to follow up with negative comments from irate customers. The Social Media Examiner can help to learn more about crisis management and explains how to deal with upset customers how to deal with upset customers. And of course it is a big mistake to ignore the negativity on Social media. Here are some examples how Mac’s milk stores answer to negative feedback.

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  • Consistency. Very often we can see that a business’s Facebook page is not updated on a regular basis. Placing post frequently is probably a big challenge for busy owners. As an option this function can be delegated to one of their creative employees who likes to spend time in social media and would love to be involved in managing this aspect of the business to ensure continues improvement and engagement.

There are probably more challenges for small local businesses that are in this area. Please leave a comment if you, as a small business owner, encounter other difficulties or challenges that come along with managing a Facebook page or other social media network for your business.

 

6 thoughts on “COMM0011 – Blog Post #1 Facebook for small local business not only an opportunity but a challenge.  

  1. Excellent examination of social media and small business Arina. I work with health professionals who in essence are small business owners themselves. The areas time, creativity and protecting their reputation are always brought up when I speak to them about what they’re doing to be part of the online world. Depending on the size and budget of the business many are working with agencies in order to get their message out there.

  2. A lot of the small business owners I’ve talked to have social media accounts that sit there and collect dust. I really appreciate your analysis and guidelines you’ve shared. I am as guilty as the next entrepreneur: trying to keep up with the next best thing in social media without really doing any homework/research, planning and/or monitoring to see what works.

    Social media is a lot of work… Like never before, it presents us with a more transparent approach to building meaningful relationships with clientele and customers. In loud of an immediate, direct path the selling something, I think that businesses also need to consider that sales might not always come directly for our audience/readers. Referrals come from reputation and we need to keep that in mind at all times. The community we build and nurture can also help sell our product or service for us.

  3. Thank you for your comment Melissa, I agree with you and also prefer to trust people for their commitment and reputation as it is a more tangible process than the postings on “www” pages.

  4. Impressive post. I think small business owners might have fear of using social media. This could be due to their lack of awareness of the social media effect. I am sure that the risk of losing reputation is a pressing factor as well. If a small business owner has customers’ trust, I think, trust could be a good motif. But I know how difficult it is for them; it seems like making the decision of driving through the desert, when you do not have to. I also would add to the challenges: the New social media platforms: A business owner who uses the Facebook may find the number of customers/comments dropping if some customers decide to abandon the Facebook. The business owner has no choice I think. She/he has to know how to use all social media platforms.

  5. Thank you for the comments. I agree that other platforms can open new opportunities for business owners if they will so choose to “drive through the desert”…

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