For small businesses, Facebook marketing is an ever-changing landscape. Staying on top of updates and new features isn’t easy. It is, however, essential.
Chances are you already know about Facebook ads campaigns, the Facebook pixel for retargeting, and the type of content you need on Facebook pages—like a professional cover photo and powerful calls to action.
What you might not know is that marketing your small business to Facebook users is easier than ever before thanks to the latest redesign.
To help you stay current, let’s explore how to take advantage of three updates announced at the F8 2019 Conference:
- Emphasizing community with Groups
- Discovering local businesses via Events
- Connecting with customers through Messenger
Create a genuine community via ‘Groups’
Make no mistake about it, Facebook is swinging for the fences when it comes to Groups. Groups have always been one of the most critical and frequently used features on the social media platform.
In response, a large part of the redesign has been centered around making more it convenient for users to discover Groups based on their interests. The newsfeed now emphasizes activity from Groups that a user is a part of over their personal network.
While SMBs using Groups as a way to engage with customers and potential customers is nothing new, this redesign does present an exciting opportunity to tap into the power of community marketing.
According to research by Deloitte and American Express, it’s become increasingly clear that modern customers want more than just a transactional relationship with a brand. These days, they want to feel as if they are a part of a larger community and that they are able to have authentic interactions with the brand itself.
Business pages that create a community around their brand forge longer-lasting relationships with their customers. They also report higher levels of customer satisfaction and generate significantly more revenue.
In order to do so, owners need to create a community that is worth following and participating in. Having a Group that merely posts business updates and constantly promotes its own products is more likely to alienate your audience than it is to attract them.
Start thinking of Groups as a party: you want people to come in and see other people having fun, not an empty house with a few people awkwardly standing by the walls.
You can start developing your own engaged community by making it a priority to routinely provide content that your audience finds valuable and is relevant to their interests. This can be anything from helpful articles, interactive quizzes, to even discussions about current events.
Take advantage of small business ‘Events’
Another major announcement surrounds the renewed focus on helping users find and participate in more offline events. To achieve this, Facebook has introduced the Events tab.
The Events tab helps people to locate events relevant to their interests, see what events are happening nearby, and even find events that their friends might be interested in.
This move really should come as no surprise as up to 74% of American consumers have begun prioritizing experiences over products.
Start taking advantage of this new marketing opportunity by hosting or participating in Events as a business.
Events create a fun and highly-engaging space for customers to directly interact and build that ever-important relationship with a brand. They also provide a golden opportunity to build a larger audience and attract new customers.
Furthermore, according to Statista, up to 74% of consumers say that they were more likely to purchase after having a positive experience at a branded event.
The great news is that there are a variety of Events you can host thanks to Facebook’s redesign:
- Launch parties and new product showcases
- Classes and workshops that deliver value to your audience
- Pop-up experiences for retailers without brick-and-mortar stores
- Co-hosting or sponsoring pre-existing events to raise brand awareness
You can even increase the impact of your events by live streaming it through Facebook and encouraging attendees to post about it through a social network.
Invest in influencer and micro-influencer marketing
Unfortunately, Facebook’s new features still don’t offer businesses many alternatives to their pay-to-play model of advertising. The good news is that Facebook’s redesign has also bolstered the potential for small businesses to achieve powerful results through influencer marketing.
The emphasis on Groups means that users can expect to see fewer updates from people they have little interaction with and more content from Groups and individuals they engage with.
Translation, the opportunity to get your business and products in front of more people through influencers and especially micro-influencers are huge.
Collaborating with micro-influencers—individuals who have amassed a small but highly engaged following—raises you above the noise and appeals directly to your target audience.
According to a survey by CPC, nearly 70% of consumers find out about new products and services through Facebook.
To take advantage of influencer marketing on Facebook is, first, locate topic and interest groups that are related to your niche. From there, it’s a matter of spending some time in those groups to determine if there are any notable individuals that align with your brand’s identity and values.
To help you with this process, you can also use Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager tool.
After that, how can you connect?
One way is to offer influencers a unique discount code that they can share with their audience. Other effective influencer marketing tactics include asking them to leave a review of your product (after sending them something for free) or asking influencers to run a competition with your product as a prize.
Get conversational with Messenger
Lastly, Facebook is connecting all of its various messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Instagram, into one unified platform.
This is important for you because customers are getting more and more comfortable with reaching out to business through messenger platforms. In fact, a recent Nielsen report found that messaging is the second-most preferred way for people to talk to a business.
By implementing a simple chatbot function into their Facebook Messenger, small businesses will be able to automatically answer their audience’s most frequently asked questions, make bookings and appointments, and even make direct sales.
Currently, Facebook offers a native tool to create your own custom chatbot on Messenger, with plans to roll out even more updates before the end of the year. There are also a number of third-party apps, like Chatfuel and MobileMonkey.
Best of all, before the end of the year, businesses will be able to create a targeted ad that drives people to Messenger. Recently, General Motors has used this exact tactic to drive over 3,000 leads in eight weeks, with a 30% higher conversion rate than any other digital marketing channel.
Facebook’s redesign: More opportunities for small businesses
There is no denying that the announcements at F8 promise a number of opportunities for small businesses to grow through Facebook.
Whether that’s organically through Groups, hosting Events, collaborating with influencers, or via Messenger start preparing and honing a marketing strategy for these new changes.