Is Your Facebook Business Page Hurting Your Small Business?

Posted on: 10.06.2020
Written by: Karen

Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is by far the most popular. More than one-quarter of the entire population of the planet is on Facebook. Seventy percent of adults in the United States are on Facebook. There are over 60 million business pages on Facebook.

Despite Facebook’s ubiquity, there are very few genuine advantages to having a well-maintained business page, especially if you are not planning on running paid advertising. In fact, choosing even an active Facebook page over a website could actually hurt your small business in the long run.

What Exactly is Facebook?

While it is not the original social media site – that dubious honor belongs to SixDegrees – Facebook is the most popular and most enduring of all social platforms. Before dropping the “the” and rebranding itself simply as “Facebook” in 2005, more than a million people already had an account and were sharing the banalities of their days with each other. By 2012, that number had grown to more than one billion worldwide users.

With so many people using the platform, businesses began to notice. By the end of 2007, more than 100,000 businesses were taking advantage of the new Pages for Businesses feature. While the basic pages remained free, many businesses also chose to purchase the new on-site advertising and boosted posts which allowed them to target specific user groups.

Despite coming under criticism regarding its stance on political advertising and the question of censorship, Facebook continues to grow and is expected to reach 1.69 billion users by the end of 2020.

Can My Small Business Reach Customers Organically on Facebook?

Facebook itself defines organic reach as “the number of people who had an unpaid post from your Page enter their screen,” and break that down into viral and nonviral categories. The chances of your business’ post going viral is very low, so we’ll stick to the nonviral type for now, which Facebook defines as “the number of people who had any content from your Page enter their screen. This doesn’t include when someone’s friend likes or follows your Page, engages with a post, shares a photo of your Page and checks into your Page.” [source]

All of this basically means that organic reach is eyes on your post that you didn’t pay for.

This sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the most recent numbers indicate that only about 6% of your followers will even see, much less interact with, any given post.

Think that’s bad? Studies show that you need to make a minimum of 7 impressions on a customer before they will even consider making a purchase from your business. Facebook’s algorithm is biased towards prioritizing posts that receive a lot of engagement, so achieving that goal organically is, unfortunately, unlikely.

Can Facebook Advertising Work for My Small Business?

There was a time when there was less competition and Facebook advertising was the way to go, but it has become more and more difficult to reach customers with most small business’ limited advertising budgets.

Of course, everything depends on how specifically you can target your ideal customer and the amount of competition in your advertising area. For example, the average conversion rate is 9.21% across all types of ads, but fitness ads tend to do much better with a 14.29% than, say, travel ads at 2.82%. Presumably this is because fitness ads may encompass anything from downloading a free workout PDF to signing up for an online class to actually visiting a local gym, but travel ads are more likely to be focused on booking a specific trip or stay. [source]

It’s important to note that Facebook ad conversion rates do not refer specifically to purchases, as you might expect. Rather, they indicate whether or not the ad achieved its express goal, which may be a purchase, but it may also include signing up for an email list, downloading a free guide, or even simply visiting a website. 

Alternatives to a Facebook Business Page

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have and maintain a Facebook Business page, but it should it should not be treated as a one-and-done marketing shop.

Your Own Website

One of the biggest disadvantages of having a Facebook Business page is that it is not searchable. If your customer remembers a link or wants to return to a post that you made, it can be virtually impossible to find if you post prolifically.

No matter what type of business you’re running, a well-designed website can help you stand out and present your message the way you want to instead of being at the mercy of a platform’s ever-changing algorithm.

Build an Email List

A great way to stay in contact with your customers without getting lost in their social media feed is by collecting email addresses and sending out messages. While Facebook and other platforms value regular posting, your customers may appreciate only receiving messages regarding information they are truly interested in.

Depending on your business, you may prefer to send a weekly update, a monthly newsletter, or even just the occassional quick note if you are running a semi-annual sale. No matter what, your email has a much, much higher likelihood of being seen than a single Facebook post.

Maintain Several Social Platforms

While we do not think most small businesses would benefit from focusing their entire marketing attention on Facebook (or any single platform), we do recommend that you maintain a minor presence on all major social media platforms that you curstomer may try to reach you through.

The worst thing you can be for your customer is unavailable, so even if you do not post regularly, ensure that you are able to receive and reply promptly to any messages your customers may send you through their preferred platform.