Did you know that one in every five mobile minutes is spent on Facebook or Instagram? If you’re a business owner, it’s a statistic you can’t afford to ignore. But if you’re not already marketing your enterprise on these platforms — which are accessed by a combined 307 million users every month — it’s not too late to get started.
Nearly 200 business owners and managers learned best practices for promoting their businesses at Facebook’s “Boost Your Business” event in Boise sponsored by Zions Bank and the Small Business Development Center.
“Forty percent of small businesses don’t have a mobile-friendly website, so Facebook allows them to create an online presence to reach customers,” explained Facebook’s Chris Curtis.
Karen Appelgren, director of Zions Bank’s Business Resource Center, speaks during a small business panel at Facebook’s “Boost Your Business” event in Boise on Aug. 24.
Start at the beginning
The first step for any business is to set up a business page. It’s important to note that you or another administrator must already have a personal profile on Facebook in order to manage a business page — but your personal profile isn’t made public to visitors.
Once you set up your business page, Facebook’s page insights provides key data about how ads and posts are performing, as well as who is engaging with your page. Other tabs show you the trends and demographics about local Facebook users, such as times of day they are on Facebook, so that you can schedule your posts accordingly.
Facebook also allows users to monitor and manage their business page from their mobile device with the Pages Manager app.
The jobs tool allows businesses to post job openings and search for employees, including reviewing and responding to applications.
Pay to play
When creating ads on Facebook, you have two options. You can pay to boost a post — which allows you to extend the reach of a post you’ve authored — or you can use the Ads Create Tool, which offers greater creative flexibility and ability to measure results.
The beauty of advertising on Facebook, according to Curtis, is the ability to target your message to specific groups of consumers by leveraging data that Facebook collects from its millions of users. That includes demographics (age, gender, etc.), interests, behavior and location. Facebook can pinpoint users who possess these various characteristics, and serve your ad to them.
“Small businesses have success on Facebook when they are able to get a targeted message in front of a targeted audience,” Curtis said.
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch discusses the importance of small businesses to the Gem State economy with Katie Sewell of the Small Business Development Center.
At the Boise event, local businesses shared their Facebook success stories. Paige Coyle, marketing director for Payette Brewing Co., explained how they use Facebook advertising to raise awareness about the brand throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as to increase foot traffic at their taproom events in the Treasure Valley.
Facebook allows Payette Brewing Co. to target its promotions to people interested in active, outdoor activities. Overall, Coyle said that Facebook has allowed Payette Brewing Co. to dramatically increase the attendance at local events. Their brand awareness ads result in more messages from potential clients in their target region asking where to find their beer.
North End Organic Nursery, founded in 2009, has established itself as a local authority on gardening. As an information-based business, Facebook gives the company an outlet to publish videos that provide tips and tricks for local gardeners, according to owner Lindsay Schramm. She said they allocate funds to boost posts and videos to a larger audience, which helps them attract more spontaneous customers to their location.
As a result, Schramm said they have eliminated almost all other forms of advertising because they don’t see the same ability to drive foot traffic like Facebook does. The business constantly receives comments that people know of the business through their Facebook page, and they recently advertised a flash sale that allowed them to double their day-to-day sales by noon.
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