8 Ways Small Businesses Are Using Facebook.

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site with 1.23 billion monthly active users as of September 2013. Statistics show that 1 in every 5 page views comes from Facebook (Kapost). Although most people use this for personal reasons, there are many ways small businesses can utilize Facebook to their advantage. If your goal is to make money on Facebook, here are 8 routes you can take:

1) Host Contests and Offers Through Your Facebook Page

One way companies like Pepsi and Target have used Facebook successfully is by offering virtual coupons or contests through Facebook pages. Although this might not be an essential part of your business plan, if done correctly it could provide a strategic move for promotion. For example, you can partner up with comparable businesses and, as a team, provide Facebook users with virtual coupons or discounts for products/services.

For example: if you were running a movie theatre, you could host a contest through Facebook and include other local theatre companies like Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres. All participants would have to do is “like” your Facebook page in order to enter the contest or receive their voucher. This way, you’re gaining more exposure for not only your business but also the ones that are competing against you.

2) Meet People One-on-One with Facebook Live

With Facebook live people are able to meet others one-on-one using facebook’s live video chat feature. Although it might seem slightly invasive at first glance, Facebook Live has been a successful promotional tool for those who are willing to take the leap.

For example, Facebook users can set up a live chat through their page and open it to the public. In addition, Facebook live is free to use and very simple to navigate – all you have to do is hit “live video” at the top of your Facebook profile feed and you’re good to go! Once that’s done, this will give you a few tips on what your audience might like or not like depending on how they respond during the live chat. For instance, Facebook Live allows viewers to comment within seconds which often leads businesses down two separate paths: either letting people comment freely or restricting comments only from those who have subscribed. Although Facebook Live is relatively new, it’s already become a successful promotional tool for many businesses.

3) Advertise on Facebook with Different Types of Ads

Running Facebook ads can be quite an investment but in some cases, companies find that its ads work well when marketed to the correct target audience. For example, you could offer Facebook users unique coupons or discounts if they like your page and share it with their friends/followers. Although this might sound slightly invasive, ads are said to be more effective than most people think.

For example, FB offers two types of advertisements – sponsored stories & promoted posts. Sponsored stories appear in news feeds while promoted posts can either show up in news feeds or right under an individual post. (Depending on how Facebook users are interacting with your Facebook page).

4) Use Facebook’s Insights to Track Your Likes & Revenue

Another great thing Facebook has to offer is its insights. If you or someone else manages your Facebook page, it might be useful to keep track of the number of people liking your Facebook page and the demographics which coincide. For example, It allows businesses to see how many likes they have, where their fans are located, what types of devices their fans are using, etc. This information can help you get a better understanding of your target audience so that way you’re able to market yourself in the most appealing way possible. Not only does Facebook allow businesses to access these insightful reports. But it also lets them know if certain ads are more effective than others. For example, Facebook shows businesses the number of conversions their Facebook ads receive. With that, It allows you to better understand your target audience and increase revenue in the process.

5) Promote Products & Services Through Giveaways

Giveaways are yet another way small businesses can use Facebook to increase exposure and market themselves efficiently. For example: if you were running a stationery store, you could host a contest that includes giving away an assortment of free stationery products or gift cards to random Facebook users who like your page and share it with friends/followers. This way, competitors get involved (since they’re bound to like other business’ pages anyway). Facebook users would feel more inclined to enter your contest since there’s less competition. (as opposed to a contest which places you against its users who have more Facebook friends). And Facebook is able to help its users win something since the winner would most likely advertise with their friends/followers.

6) Create Facebook Content & Use it as an SEO Booster

Content is key when it comes to marketing on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, tumble with, etc. However, if you’re struggling with coming up with ideas for Facebook content. There are some great ways you can approach this without having to spend too much time thinking about what topics interest your target audience the most. For example: if you were running a children’s clothing store that specializes in newborn fashion. Then creating Facebook content like maternity photoshoots or newborn fashion tips might be relevant to your target audience. Since Facebook users are likely looking for something new-born related which you can help promote.

7) Use Facebook Ads to Capture Leads & Create a Viral Loop

Running Facebook ads may not work in every case but it’s worth mentioning that it is one of the best sites. When it comes to capturing leads. For example, it allows you to create an ad targeting only those who have Facebook emails/mobile phone numbers/etc. Allowing companies to capture data from users who would otherwise not allow a website. Or third-party app access to their contact information. In addition, both types of Facebook ads (sponsored stories & promoted posts) create a kind of “viral loop”. Where targeted users see its ads, click on them (either by commenting or like). And their FB friends see both their comments/likes as well as the ad itself. This ultimately creates a snowball effect where Facebook users are seeing your Facebook ad. More frequently and ultimately clicking on it.

8) Use Facebook to Expand Your Reach & Connect with Customers

Last but not least, another great way Facebook can help businesses connect with their customers is through Facebook groups. For example: if you were running a seniors’ center for those aged 50+, you could create a group. A group that allows seniors from around your area to join. For those who might need its services, but it also allows Facebook users to connect with you in a more private setting. This could give your business the upper hand in creating new Facebook fans. Who will be inclined to share your Facebook page with others since they’re now part of your Facebook group. Plus, Groups are great for customer service seeing as once someone posts something within the group.

In conclusion, It is one of the most widely used social media sites in existence. And nearly every small business would do well. To integrate Facebook into its marketing strategy. With so many features, Facebook can prove extremely useful for businesses. Who want an easy way to acquire new customers without having to spend as much as they might. Otherwise on marketing (such as ads, contests, pages). From generating leads to creating a “viral loop” to expanding one’s reach and providing better customer service. Facebook can be extremely useful for small businesses.

With this article, I hope you’ve gained knowledge of how it can help you and your business. And that it will prove useful in your day-to-day activities.