Social Media Examiner have compiled a list of their top ten small business Facebook Pages. See the list here
It was interesting to note that not one of the winning small businesses had its focus on local. They were all offering products or services that could scale to nationwide and, indeed, that’s what they did. There were no local businesses with a limited geographic reach.
Being available to that much bigger national demographic makes it easier to run competitions and do all the things that Facebook suggests you should do to get more visibility – because there are that many more people for them to market to.
Think of it like this – your local yoga centre is only ever going to be able to market to its immediate geographic area. People are unlikely to come to a weekly class on a regular basis when they live more than 30 miles away, no matter how good the teacher.
Your local solicitor has a better chance because they can travel to the client and also to the court in whose jurisdiction any case might be heard.
Therapists are a moot point. Lorna Withers told me about a client that she had been seeing for several years in her London clinic. When Lorna’s growing family meant that she needed to focus her attentions on her local clinics in Leigh and Southend, the client told her that he would still travel to see her there – even though it meant an hour’s train ride. ‘When you find a therapist that works for you, you don’t want to have to start the search again.’ But there are still limitations because new clients will prefer to look closer to home.
Businesses that supply and fit home security products also tend to be limited to a geographic area – albeit much larger than that covered by a local gym. Again, it’s because the fitters can travel to the client. But for maintenance and after-care, it is not always feasible to have your supplier several hours drive away in an emergency.
My favourite example of a successful Facebook page is Cake Maker Supplies. Sarah is able to send out all those bits and pieces that are needed for baking and decorating to addresses nationwide. And cake making is an extremely popular hobby.
We recently ran a photo competition which saw her increase her likes by over 2000. People wanted the chance to win more cake making goodies… but they also liked having the opportunity to show off their creations and have people vote for them. They shared Sarah’s page to the walls of all their friends and family and cake makers who might not have known Sarah before were suddenly aware of what she had to offer.
If you are a local restaurant or entertainment venue, I think there is a real chance for you. If you have regular visitors, you can offer sufficient incentives to get them to come back more often and recommend you to their friends. With check ins, photos and offers, you can use mobile marketing and Facebook together to build lists of people that can share those offers on their Facebook walls. You need to make Facebook part of your marketing literature. It is possible but it requires a concerted effort.
So, yes, this type of marketing can work for small businesses but that statement comes with a caveat. At the end of the day, a successful Facebook page is about having committed fans who interact regularly. If you can’t offer deals and discounts and you don’t have a broad target market, it makes it much harder to succeed.