With over 1 billion people on Facebook worldwide, and over 30 million in the UK alone, it might seem strange to even question if using Facebook for the small business is worth it. It’s free and relatively easy to set up. But by the second page of the Facebook for business overview there is mention of your “advertising budget”…

Facebook for the small business - is it worth it?It’s claimed people connected with you on Facebook will spend more money with you than those who aren’t. However, the average page only reaches 7% of its fans daily, which is pretty sobering. A fan may “like” your page but this does not guarantee they will see your posts – an annoyance for both page owners and fans alike.

This is due to Facebook EdgeRank - which contains a level of detail most page owners do not pay close attention to. Essentially a ‘like’ for your page does not guarantee a captive audience for your content and to increase the reach of your page (more people seeing your content) you need to engage with your fans on a regular basis – which of course takes time. You can promote your posts to increase the chances of your fans seeing them, but you will have to pay for that.

Then there are the rules and regulations concerning what you can and can’t put on your Facebook cover image for your page, the rules you have to follow for any promotions you may be running and the numerous ‘improvements’ Facebook make on a regular basis that you have to stay aware of or run the risk of having elements of your page removed with little or no notice.

How to get the best from you Facebook page

However, there are always going to be some rules and regulations you have to follow, so what can you do to get the best out of your page?

QR CodeTell your customers you have a Facebook page – it might sound obvious but plenty of businesses take the time to create a page but then don’t tell anyone they’re on Facebook. Tell people your Facebook page name, display a QR code for people to scan to take them to your page, make it easy for them to find you.

Post something! – many businesses have a Facebook page and then hardly ever post anything. You’re not going to engage with anyone or promote your business at all if you don’t use it.

Post photos – people like looking at images more than reading text. People engage with and share images far more than they do with plain text. Well written posts asking for a response will also increase your engagement, rather than just posting marketing messages to promote your business.

Post at the right time – users don’t always scroll down to see everything in their timeline. If you post something in the morning and your customers aren’t checking Facebook until the evening, it might get lost in amongst everyone else’s post. It is possible to schedule your Facebook posts in the future to reach your audience at the right time for your page.

It’s not always easy to determine what works for your particular page, but look at your Facebook insights to help determine the type of content posted and the timing of posts that have worked best for you.

Get into the habit of checking your Facebook account at different points in the day to enable you to quickly respond to any comments or questions and post new updates so it doesn’t become a chore later in the day or week – you can do this quickly and easily from the Facebook smart phone app.

Use the scheduling facilities in Facebook to post content to your page to appear in the future at a time when you know you will be busy.

So is it worth it?

Facebook for the small business is not free – it’s going to cost you at least some of your time to set up and maintain a Facebook page. For it to be successful you need to post interesting content and engage with your fans on a regular basis, taking up more time. And you may well get more out of your Facebook page if you spend money on advertising. So if you have the time, then yes it is worth it, a Facebook page will help to increase the visibility of your business and engage with your customers.

However, if you do not have the time to post to your page and engage with your fans, you should consider whether it’s an appropriate social media network for you to be using. There are many advantages to using Facebook for your business, but it’s not going to make or break your business by having a Facebook page or not. Either way, it’s important to remember a Facebook page should not be your only online presence.

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