There are more than two million small businesses in Australia. With so much competition, it can be hard to stand out – especially when it comes to reaching new customers. In fact in Facebook’s recent Future of Business Survey – Australia, nearly three quarters (73%) of small businesses rated attracting customers as one their top five challenges.
More than 14 million Australians use Facebook every month and 83% are connected to at least one small, or medium sized business. However, while setting up a Facebook Page is free and easy to do, many small business owners don’t know where to get started or how to make it work once it’s up and running.
With this is mind, below are our top tips for building your profile on Facebook and maximising its presence once you’ve done so.
1. Be present
The first step to getting your small business on Facebook is to start a Facebook Page.
A Page is different to a personal profile. It is an extension of your business and an easy way to share updates about your product, service or business with the people who matter most. 95% of small businesses that already have a Facebook Page simply use it to provide information such as opening hours and contact information to current and potential customers.
However, you can also use a range of business related tools such as Facebook adverts to help you manage and get the most out of your Page. One useful way to tell if your Posts are resonating with the customers you want to reach is by accessing insights directly from Facebook.
Once your Page is up and running you can verify it with a grey tick. This tells your customers that your business is genuine. To do this you’ll need a phone number and a business document (like a bank statement or bill) so have these documents ready before you start the process
2. Not all Facebook Posts are created equal
Now your Page is up and running, you’ll need to start developing Facebook Posts.
When it comes to posting on your Page, a good rule of thumb is to think about the objective for the Post. What do you want your current or potential customers to think or do when they read it? If you want customers to know you have a new product, you can Post about its launch and features. If you want customers to visit your website, you can include a link to your site in the Post so they can click through directly for more information.
A good way to capture the attention of new customers is to tell an interesting story about your business, your customers or your products. Do you have a customer that has a unique story about how your product or service made their life better or easier? Or do you have an exciting promotion on offer? Post about it!
3. Think about mobile
More than 11 million Aussies access Facebook on their mobile every day, so it’s important to consider this when you’re posting on your Page. Is your Post quick and easy to read? Will it capture their attention if they’re quickly scrolling through the Facebook News Feed?
Images help to draw in people’s attention so it’s a good idea to share pictures or graphics to accompany your Posts.
Remember to think about what you want your customers to think or feel when they look at your Posts, and share images that relate to your business and what’s unique about your product or service.
4. Try video
Video is a great way to grab the attention and interest of your customers on Facebook. Video can capture the personality of your business and tell more complex stories about your product or service in an engaging way. For example, it’s much more interesting to watch a short video about how your product works, than read a 200 word online brochure.
If you’re going to try video, our advice is to make it short and sweet and ensure it’s as exciting as possible from the beginning. Research shows that 65 per cent of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch for at least ten seconds longer, so if you get them at the beginning you have a better chance of keeping them until the end.
5. Use the tools available to you
Facebook offers a number of different tools to help small business owners get started on Facebook, and make the most of their Facebook Page. The best place to start is the Facebook for Business site which has lots of information about business pages and relevant tools.
We recently launched a Page Presence tool that helps businesses showcase the range of products and services they have available by listing them on separate tabs on their Facebook Page. If you’re a hardware store you can list a selection of the different product types you have available for sale and their prices. If you’re a hairdressing salon you can list all of the different services. The tool makes it easy for businesses to show off the product and services they offer, and simple for customers to find what they’re looking for.
The Lookalike Audience tool is also a valuable tool for small businesses. It allows you to take all of the information you know about your existing customers – age, location, interests etc. and find people on Facebook that behave similarly, are at a similar life stage, or have common interests with existing customers. The tool can then help you grow your customer base by targeting your Posts and adverts to people who are likely to be interested in your product or service in the first place.
Remember, Facebook is one of the most commonly adopted marketing tools for small businesses – in fact there are more than 60 million small businesses already using Facebook across the globe. Follow our tips, and you can build your business on Facebook too.
For more details on any of these tips or if you have any other questions before you get started, visit the Facebook for Business website.
Example small business success stories:
A renowned fitness industry figure with over 20 years’ experience, Michelle Bridges first shot to fame on the reality show The Biggest Loser. Her 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) programme provides a supportive online community and helps people on their fitness journey. The fitness industry in Australia is very crowded, so 12WBT needed to reach people when they first began searching for a fitness program. Its lead quality had also decreased, so the team hoped Facebook could help it target ads to the right people and in a cost-effective way.
The organisation decided to highlight 12WBT’s key asset: its founder, Michelle Bridges. It wanted to help people get to know the woman behind the program and turn her into an influential and trusted fitness thought leader.
12WBT used video ads at the start of its campaign to introduce Michelle (or “Mish”, as she’s known in the community). In the bite-sized videos, Michelle shared everything from what was in her fridge to tips on running in the rain. Video testimonials also helped build trust and authentically communicate the programme benefits.
Results: 9% more signups than the target.
Quad Lock is a brand of smartphone mounts adaptable for armbands, bikes or cars. The business was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
In 2012, Quad Lock wanted to use Facebook to understand the market in Australia and start expanding into America and Britain. In 2013, it hoped to achieve a 3X growth in revenue and expand into Europe. In 2014, it wanted to achieve 2X year-on-year growth and start selling its products to businesses.
Quad Lock has evolved its marketing approach through the years, experimenting with Facebook products and solutions to drive its business expansion. The brand’s commitment in listening to and understanding its customers through Facebook targeting tools has been critical to its success.
Quad Lock’s content strategy was to post customer testimonials, product information and interesting stories on its Page about four times a week. It also ran targeted link ads, photo ads and video ads (containing information about Quad Lock’s product range) in the mobile and desktop News Feed to maximise reach.
Results: 4x increase in revenue from 2012 – 2013, 2x increase in revenue from 2013 – 2014, 3,700 website visits from one video post in one week.
About the author
Mia Garlick, Head of Policy for Facebook Australia and New Zealand
 For more information, see www.futureofbusinesssurvey.org
 For more information, see www.futureofbusinesssurvey.org