Small Businesses Need to Do More to Get the Most Out of Facebook

These days, tens of millions of people across the country use Facebook every day, and that obviously presents businesses large and small with the opportunity to reach a massive audience if they can just use the social network correctly. However, some experts now point out that some of the company's policies could be trouble for those enterprises using it.

Facebook itself recently acknowledged that as a business page grows older, the occurrences of its posts showing up in users' feeds tends to decline, according to a report from Business 2 Community. The reason for this appears to be relatively simple: If the site wants businesses to buy ads which appear in more users' feeds, rather than post updates that are more or less tantamount to such for free, it could theoretically begin discouraging them from doing so in this way. Some experts say that this is a troubling move by the company, and could simply lead many smaller businesses to discontinue or significantly scale back their use of the site, but others think that might not be the best idea.

Of course, because each small business is different, how they approach this new reality in using their Facebook page to reach both current and future customers is going to necessarily vary, the report said. For instance, those who think they've had success with the site in the past, it might be wise to continue using it through ad purchases; these are often not all that expensive, and companies that have it in the budget may therefore find their investment in further ads to be worthwhile. Of course, when undertaking such an effort, it becomes more necessary than ever to keep close tabs on impressions and sales as a result of this increased paid advertising effort, as any changes to their effectiveness should necessarily come with corrections to the ongoing plan.

What if buying ads isn't in the cards?
On the other hand, companies don't necessarily always have the money to expand their advertising budgets beyond where they are, and thus may need to take a different approach to their use of Facebook in general, the report said. For example, it could be advisable to start using updates on the social network to drive consumers to the business' website, or perhaps to a page on another social network, like Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn, which could help to keep them updated on the company's goings-on in the right way, without increasing the amount being paid to Facebook. Along similar, and potentially more effective lines, it may be helpful use the site to promote email lists by spelling out how this can help consumers find the best deals a small business offers.

Finally, companies can also opt to discontinue their use of Facebook altogether, the report said. However, this is probably not the wisest idea, as even if a significant percentage of your updates aren't getting through, some still will, and thus abandoning the site – which remains the most-used social network by far – is likely only going to hurt. On the other hand, that doesn't mean companies can't focus on other areas while still maintaining a Facebook presence.

Owners worried about their bottom lines when it comes to advertising might want to take the time to examine their internal costs first. They might find that they are paying more than they need to for small business insurance, and those that take the time to find more affordable coverage can benefit significantly. For instance, cutting costs for liability insurance, among others, might save companies as much as a few thousand dollars per year.