Lots of small town business have turned to Facebook for a big part of their online presence. It’s easy to create a page, easy to post photos and updates, and easy to attract locals as fans. The problem is that Facebook is changing the rules so that almost no one sees what you share, and you don’t have any say about it.
Facebook is cutting down on how many posts from business pages actually appear where fans can see them. Facebook says they want more businesses to purchase paid ads and pay to promote or boost their posts. For small rural businesses that were using this as a no-out-of-pocket-cost form of advertising and staying in touch with customers, this is a blow.
So what can you do?
1. Use Facebook for the specific purposes it is good for: sharing things people want to re-share.
Share photos of happy customers, boost your community events and generally share good news. You’ll make fewer posts, but more people will act on them with likes and reshares. That activity will make the posts more visible to more of your audience, at least according to how Facebook is doing things now.
2. Use email to stay in touch with your existing customers.
Ask them to join your list where you share useful information. Collect their email address with their permission. Email them regularly with information that is helpful for them. Imagine that you are speaking one-on-one with a single customer. Help that one person. Yes, you can share specials or news, but talk more about them than you do about yourself.
3. Build a website where you answer customer questions.
Best bet: a blog where you can post regular updates. This is the place to post the information that possible customers might search for. What questions do they need answered? You can get ideas by writing down every question a customer asks you for two weeks. Answer those questions on your website.
Remember those three rules:
- Facebook is for sharing fun stuff.
- Email is for staying connected.
- Website is for answering questions.
Sound like a plan?
- About the Author
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.