30 Low Budget Tactics To Maximize Small Business Reach
Since January 1st, organic visibility in Facebook news feeds decreased for businesses.
Facebook made this change to reduce the use of push marketing messages. (For the details, see Facebook’s announcement.)
Specifically, Facebook is moving from being a business publishing platform to become an integral element of a business’s social media based identity.
Don’t read this the wrong way. Facebook pages still provide an attractive environment for marketers. In October 2014, 1 billion people visited Facebook pages and 75% of these visits were via a mobile device. (For current Facebook data, check: 5 Key Facebook Marketing Trends for 2015; it’s based on the 2014 earnings report.)
While over time Facebook has produced results for many businesses, both big and small, it’s important to realize that without owning the platform, you’ll always be at the mercy of these modifications because Facebook has consistently changed its feeds.
For small businesses that invested in building a strong community on Facebook to drive leads, this change will lead to decreased prospects and revenues.
Small businesses must rethink their Facebook marketing strategy.
- Remove the blatant promotion from your Facebook content.
- Provide product support, customer service and engagement.
- Support your Facebook content with advertising.
The small business challenge:
- Non-promotional content and interactions are more difficult to associate with lead generation and sales.
What’s a small business to do?
With limited resources and time, many small businesses and solopreneurs have to focus their prospecting efforts on a few select options.
- Upside: Focus on the lead generating options that yield the most results.
- Downside: Risk that if something goes wrong, you can have a big hole in your acquisitions and revenues.
To minimize your risk from Facebook’s change in algorithms, you must diversify your lead generation strategies. Understand that the time and money that you’ve invested to-date in your Facebook community is a sunk cost. This means it’s already spent and any decision you make going forward shouldn’t include these costs.
Where appropriate, you can try to encourage your Facebook community to interact with you on another platform or channel without being promotional or pushy.
5 Low budget tactics to mitigate decreased Facebook visibility
To minimize your risks from current and future decreases in Facebook visibility, you must build your owned media and diversify your social media use.
1. Build your email house file.
Most marketers consider this is the gold standard of owned media. It’s people who’ve raised their hands to receive more information from you.
The key to email list success is to start your list from day 1. (Of course, do as I say, not as I did. It took me a while to start proactively working on my list. BTW—I’d be thrilled if you signed up for our newsletter. Click here to get our 2015 Ultimate Marketing Checklist, free with your subscription.)
To that end, leverage the power of your various communications channels to attract new subscribers.
Here are 9 low budget ways to build your small business email list.
- Promote your email list on your website. Ideally in the navigation bar and/or a link in your footer.
- Add a targeted promotion in your sidebar. When I was at The Economist, I created ads that were in line with our brand but didn’t look like Economist ads.
- Use Hellobar. This is a great way to promote your email or whatever’s hot in your offering. (Even better, it’s free!!!)
- Leverage employee email signature files. While promotional emailings can have trouble getting into recipients main inboxes, personal correspondence doesn’t. Handle your business email signature files centrally to ensure that a consistent message is broadcast and can be modified.
- Enhance customer service emails. This is another form of information your audience is actively seeking because they need the answer to a specific question.
- Include an email registration link in your post-purchase emailings. People always review receipts. Add a link to your email registration and give them a reason to sign up.
- Use a site exit tool like Optin Monster. This works to capture email registrants as they leave your site. We’ve found that it’s provided a big boost. (BTW-we’d be thrilled if you’d use our affiliate link.)
- Go low tech. Add an email signup next to your cash register. They’ve already purchased from you.
- Add email newsletter information on your business cards. It’s a piece of information people tend to keep and read.
BTW—Don’t underestimate your ability to link to further information on your website or blog from your non-promotional Facebook posts. To maximize your ability to collect email addresses, use a tailored landing page.
2. Create a blog.
As far back as 2009, Chris Brogan made the case for building your social media homepage on owned media, namely a blog.
Your blog has to provide useful information for your prospects on a regular basis or it’s not much better than brochureware.
For many small businesses, this can be a challenge. Here are 3 easy ways to fill your blog calendar. (BTW—Here are 21 small business social media and content marketing ideas.)
- Follow the Marcus Sheridan, “They ask, you answer” rule. Simply capture the questions your prospects ask and employees answer. This reduces your content creation to presentation. Sheridan estimates that he made $2 million from one article!!!
- Show your prospects how to use your products. Think fun education.
- Spotlight your customers. Take photographs of your customers wearing or using your products. Add a few insightful questions and voila you’ve got content.
Here are 6 low budget ways to build your blog following:
- Link to your blog in your social media profiles. Let people know about your blog.
- Distribute your blog posts via email. You can use a free service like Google or get an email provider. (Note: We use AWeber for our emailing.)
- Provide feeds for those readers who still like them. While an older format, people who like feeds are a hardcore group.
- Add social sharing buttons. Let your readers help you share your content.
- Tap into influencers. Reference people in your blog posts and let them know about it via email. Don’t assume that they’ll be paying attention.
- Get a blogging buddy. Help each other build your blogs and share content.
3. Leverage the power of LinkedIn
Research by UMass Dartmouth has shown that Inc 500 businesses get the most power of out of LinkedIn.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that LinkedIn is just for job seekers. Get active and interact with people who have similar interests to build relationships.
Here are 5 low budget tips to maximize your content reach via LinkedIn. (BTW–Here are 39 LinkedIn Marketing Tactics.)
- Enhance your LinkedIn profile. Make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward so that appropriate people can find you.
- Spend time on LinkedIn actively connecting with people who are important to your business. Don’t just send an email blast. Tailor your interaction.
- Contribute to select LinkedIn Groups related to your business to build relationships. Contribute useful information where appropriate.
- Add content to LinkedIn Publishing on a regular basis to expand your reach. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s new platform to publish and distribute your content.
- Include SlideShare in your mix. It’s particularly useful for B2B marketers.
4. Tap into YouTube.
2015 is the year of video content and YouTube is a great place to showcase yours (although Facebook has passed it in terms of the number of views.)
Further, YouTube ranks as the second biggest search engine after Google. This alone makes YouTube a must-have in any marketer’s plans. Think about the types of information your audience will seek on YouTube and the words they’ll use.
Don’t have the budget for high quality video production?
Don’t worry. Even Convince and Convert’s Jay Baer’s creating short videos for under $125.
Here are 7 low budget ways to leverage YouTube to engage with prospects.
- Develop how-to videos to show prospects how to use your product. People turn to YouTube to figure out how to do stuff.
- Create a red carpet for your products. Show your product in action.
- Talk to your audience, but don’t over do it. Jay Baer keeps his videos to 3 minutes.
- Become the Ellen or Larry King of your niche. Interview people of interest to your audience.
- Put your employees on camera. It doesn’t have to be a sale. They can make complex ideas about your business simple or just offer a daily inspiration.
- Get your customers talking. Let your buyers explain what they like about your products.
- Entertain your prospects. Find a way to make your business engaging for your audience.
Don’t underestimate the value of testing video on other platforms including Facebook as well as shorter formats like Instagram Video and Vine.
5. Spotlight your content on Pinterest
While Pinterest is the home of the couch shopper looking for inspiration, it’s also a bonanza for showcasing your existing content. BuzzFeed is Pinterest’s poster child; Pinterest was its #2 source of social media traffic.
(BTW–Here’s how to improve your content distribution based on 2.6 billion shares.)
Here are 3 low budget ways to leverage Pinterest to increase content visibility.
- Create pinboards around your key content areas. Use creative names.
- Pin your top content. Make your content attractive for Pinterest. This means a long image.
- Keep the pages your pins link to live. In other words, redirect all of your old merchandise to the current season’s models.
The bottom line: Facebook will continue to make changes to their algorithms potentially decreasing visibility in their feeds.
As a small businesses you can’t assume that you’ll be able to maintain full control of any following you’ve built on Facebook or other third party platform.
Therefore, diversify your risk by creating your own media platforms where possible.
What other suggestions do you have for dealing with decreased Facebook visibility?
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