I'm seeing a lot of gripes about Facebook lately.
People are saying Facebook is dying because of the new restrictions on the news feed and the drop in Reach.
Some "experts" are even claiming there's no longer a reason to even have a Facebook business page.
Facebook is dead, they say.
I completely disagree!
Facebook continues to be the best social network to set up camp on as a business. It's an absolute no-brainer to be on there.
What exactly are the benefits of having a Facebook business page?
Glad you asked. ;)
Top 10 Benefits of a Facebook Business Page
1. Increased Exposure to Potential Customers
1.19 BILLION USERS.
Need I say more?
If your business can't find new customers on Facebook, maybe you should rethink your line of work.
2. Gather More Leads
Just having people Like your page isn't enough to provide yourself with a long-term, sustainable business. Sure you can make a good living short-term off just using your Facebook page.
But what if Facebook does actually disappear one day?
If you haven't made a connection with your followers outside of Facebook, then you'll be in trouble.
That's why smart businesses gather leads in the form of email addresses -- so they can contact their community outside of Facebook.
Most do this through contests, giveaways and newsletters -- and it's a proven system.
But you also need to be careful how you use your leads.
For example, don't hammer fans with daily emails peddling affiliate products and other junk -- unless that's what they signed up for.
Email them consistently once or twice a week with helpful information that also leads them to your website -- where they hopefully will become customers.
3. Lower Your Marketing Expenses
Starting a Facebook business page costs you exactly $0.
Sure, you may pay a graphic artist to design a profile picture and cover photo -- but that's not a necessity.
Simply using photographs you take of your business will work -- and in some cases that's better than a creative image from a designer.
My point is that getting rolling with a page costs you nothing until you start paying for ads to get page Likes, boosting posts and running Sponsored Stories -- all of which you should be doing with your page.
Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional print, radio or TV ads -- and are 1,000x more targeted.
Just last week I started a page called Fans of Bigfoot -- the creature not the monster truck. I started it for fun, but to also test ads and monetization tactics.
Plus, I have a slight Bigfoot addiction/fascination.
Check out my result after running Page Like Ads for just over 3 days:
(The duration isn't accurate. I stopped the ad on January 1).
Yes, I got more than 1,400 Likes and only spent $34! That's 2 cents per Like!
And now the page has grown by an additional 600 Likes organically because of the engagement from those 1,400 paid fans.
Can every page find new Likes for 2 cents each?
Maybe not, but by targeting your ads to people interested in your page's topic, you can definitely keep costs low.
4. Reach a Targeted Audience
This is carry over from #3 -- and it's super important.
Just because there are 1.19 billion Facebook users, it doesn't mean they all want to Like your page.
In fact, I wouldn't want all of them to Like my page -- because only a small percentage of them would actually engage with my posts.
As shown in my example above, I was able to get inexpensive Likes by targeting my ads.
I targeted people who already had an interest in Bigfoot -- almost guaranteeing that many of them will give my page a Like.
Same is true for your page and business.
If you're a local business, direct your ads to target customers within a 10-15 mile radius. The ads might cost you more, but the Likes and potential customers are laser targeted.
If you run an ad on TV, during say an airing of "Seinfeld," you'd be hard pressed to know with certainty whether your ad targeted the right kinds of people for your business.
With Facebook ads, you can be certain -- if you target the ad correctly.
5. Use Facebook Insights
I've admitted countless times that I'm not a numbers guy -- I just don't get my jollies by digging through stats.
But I love the new Facebook Insights provided on Facebook business pages.
Because they're easy to understand -- even for non-technical people like me. And they provide great information for business owners.
Taking a quick look at the insights of my new Bigfoot page, I see:
- How many page Likes I have
- The Reach of my posts & page (take a look at that Reach & tell me Reach is dead!)
- Engagement of the page
- Post Performance... and more
You can dig around and find out how specific posts are performing, the demographics of your fans, etc.
And as Jon Loomer would point out, you can download your insights to really dive in deep. But you don't have to -- and most of you don't need to worry about that.
The results provided are usually sufficient.
Compare this to running an ad in your local paper. Are you given any such stats as to how many people visited your store/website based on the ad?
6. Build Brand Loyalty
Besides being a place to build a customer base and sell products, a Facebook business page can do wonders for helping you build brand loyalty.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, if you consistently provide valuable and entertaining content, your followers will stay loyal -- even when you make mistakes.
These days, people look online to find businesses to buy from -- and they predominately search social media.
If your followers see you being active & responsive, they're much more likely to do business with you than a company with no Facebook presence or a poorly run page.
Today, for example, I delivered a bounce house to a family for a birthday party for their son. I have a bounce house business through Space Walk -- which I use to test Facebook ads.
Her exact words to me were:
I decided to rent from you because I'm on Facebook more than anything else & I see your page consistently posting about the business & being responsive. Plus you have pictures of your units for me to look at before renting. And I can do it from my phone!
I only started the Facebook page for the bounce house company 2 months ago, but I already have brand loyalty above and beyond my competitors -- businesses that have been working in my area for more than a decade!
Guess what? They aren't active on Facebook.
7. Increase Your Web Traffic
Smart Facebook page owners use their pages to drive traffic to their websites.
If all you're doing on Facebook is getting engagement on your posts, then you're really just an entertainer -- not a marketer.
So start using link posts to drive traffic to your site.
The great thing about link posts is Facebook now generates a full-width thumbnail image if your website makes one available.
Because they draw more attention, these wider images are more likely to get clicked.
This example from Starbucks looks like a photo post, but is actually a link. Clicking the photo takes you to the CNN article.
Posting links to your website is an essential part of any Facebook content strategy.
On the Post Planner page, you'll notice we post links to blog posts 2-3 times per day and mix in 2-3 light-hearted posts to get people talking.
The Likes, comments and shares are lower on the link posts -- and that's fine -- because our goal is to drive traffic with those posts, not necessarily get engagement on Facebook.
Let's look at these Google Analytics for the Post Planner website:
The stats above are from Dec. 2 through Jan. 2.
As you can see, our #4 and #5 traffic source are Facebook -- which represent roughly 15% of our web traffic.
I should also point out that our newsletter drives almost as much traffic -- showing why you must gather emails!
Bottom line -- having a Facebook page will greatly increase your web traffic if you use the right posting strategies.
8. Boost SEO
The topic of SEO and Facebook gets debated quite a bit.
Some argue that the information in the About section of a business page is scraped and thus searchable by Google.
It's hard to accurately verify or dispute this claim.
I've tried searching with various keywords for our page and do not find results related to Post Planner's Facebook page.
But when someone searches for "Post Planner" -- our Facebook page shows up on page 1 of the Google search results.
I believe the more ways people can find you the better!
9. Be Mobile Ready
The vast majority of Facebook users are accessing the site via their mobile devices -- many of them only with a mobile device.
As this trend grows -- it becomes more and more important for your business to have a presence on Facebook.
The great thing about a Facebook page is Facebook does the heavy lifting for you! -- optimizing your page for both desktop and mobile devices.
The exception are the custom apps (tabs) on your page that are seen on the desktop but not on mobile devices (unless you supply the mobile friendly link created by an app provider like ShortStack).
When people view your Facebook page on a mobile device it shows users:
- Hours of operation
- Phone number to call directly from the Facebook mobile app
Below is a screenshot from my Galaxy S3 showing the business page for my favorite sushi restaurant -- Fuji's Steakhouse.
Tapping "More" results in a 2nd image -- which lets me call the business.
10. Spy on Your Competition!
An interesting new feature on Facebook pages lets businesses spy on competitors.
Now this doesn't mean you can look over their shoulders and check out sales or results from their ads -- but it's a great way to see how others in your area and niche are growing on Facebook.
Just above your cover photo you should see something like the image below:
Click "+ Add 5 Pages" and you'll be taken to a lightbox. I did this via the local business page for Hornets' Nest -- my wife's baking business:
Facebook makes suggestions based on competition in my area in my same (or a similar) niche. I choose those pages by clicking "Watch Page" or search for pages in the search box.
Facebook lets you select more than 5 if you want -- and it should look like this when you're done:
After clicking "Done" the original image shown above your cover photo is replaced with a box showing the Like count of the competitor's pages and how much that count has increased this week:
Why is this useful?
If you look at the Pages to Watch and see a page has exploded and gained lots of new Likes, you can visit that page to see what they're doing right.
Perhaps a post had huge success and you can copy what they are doing on your page to gain more Likes.
This may not give you a ton of insight, but sometimes just a little motivation can cause you to break bad habits on Facebook and improve your posting and advertising.
After all, no company wants a competitor beating them to Likes!
Are you convinced?
Hopefully these 10 benefits have convinced you that having a Facebook business page is an absolute no-brainer.
I personally can't imagine running a business and NOT having a Facebook page.
For those of you who already have pages -- I hope you've been motivated to improve your page and post better content using Post Planner! :)