Things you can do to help small businesses, including your own

We all know there are a lot of things we shouldn’t believe or do just because we’ve seen other people do them and Personal Trainers are great when it comes to correcting training and nutrition misinformation on social media.  Unfortunately, when it comes to anything marketing related, it’s easy to fall into the traps and follow the actions of others without realising they are wrong.

The current trend for asking everyone to send their entire friend list invitations to like a business page is a great example of where it is tempting to copy what others are doing but where it is, in fact, a bad idea to do so.

 

The purpose of a business page is a bit like an interactive shop window.  It allows you to let people who are interested in your service know about what’s going on, it gives you a platform to demonstrate what you do and how you do it, it helps you engage with people for whom your service is relevant and of interest and allows you to run adverts and boost posts to catch the attention of people who might find the service useful.

“Great so if I get more page likes then more people will see my stuff?  That’s got to be a good thing, right?”

No, unfortunately merely liking the page generally isn’t enough for people to be able to see the posts.  If they aren’t engaging with the page, they are unlikely to see much given the competition for space in their feed. People need to show they are interested in your content by engaging with your posts in order to see more of it.  If it’s not something they are interested in in the first place then they won’t engage. This could also signal to Facebook that your content is boring and not of interest.

Having loads of people from outside of your target demographic liking your page may mess with your audience algorithms and mean that Facebook decides to show the page to more people who you aren’t interested in.   It can also cause confusion and dilute your message to those who are interested.  It is much better to have a smaller audience of people who are genuinely in your target market than thousands of likes from random people.   Your goal is to build an audience who are genuinely interested in and engage with your content.

If you get loads of people from outside your target audience liking the page the only positive is that you get to look at higher numbers when you review your metrics.  Unfortunately, it’s not the numbers we want to grow.  Relevant reach beats maximum reach in the context of in-person services, and by watering down relevant you stand to lose, not win.

 

So, what can you do that can help?

Surviving Covid 19 is going to look different for every business but here are some things that you can do that will be more useful than sharing your page to people it’s not relevant to.

 

1) If you are still providing a service

Share what you are doing, let your audience know that it is “business as usual” and address any concerns your audience have about trying it.  Share what your clients are getting out of the service, the positives it’s bringing to their lives right now and the results they are getting (whatever form those results are taking for them in current circumstances).

This will act as both internal and external marketing, reinforcing the great decision clients who are continuing to work with you are making, reminding those who have left what they are missing out on and potentially attracting new people to your service.

Encouraging your clients to engage with the page, check in to your business, add a review and / or post about their experiences (tagging the page) are also great ideas as these activities give context to what you do, are more likely to come to the attention of a relevant audience and provide useful social proof.

 

2) Whether you are currently delivering a service or not

Provide helpful, actionable information that your target audience can use in the current circumstances.  Make sure you are coming from an understanding, non judgemental stand point,  provide genuinely useful ideas and acknowledge that things are different right now (See my blog on the impact of the current situation on our psychological needs).  Keep it relevant to the people you normally aim to help and don’t worry about giving away “valuable information” for free, I guarantee you won’t be saying anything that can’t be found online already.

 

3) If you want to support other businesses

There are a few options here depending on the business and the position you are in.

You can share the business page / a relevant post on your profile or with specific individuals who you think would like it and for whom it is appropriate.  Add a personal recommendation to it to make it more effective.

You can purchase from the business if it is currently providing goods or a service.  If you do then don’t forget to add a review, check in and / or post about it and tag the page.

You can purchase vouchers for future purchase of good or service to use yourself or for client presents / rewards / incentives

You can partner to share skills and knowledge with your audiences e.g. a lot of people are looking at how to cut hair, maybe your audience or client base would like a webinar from a hairdresser and maybe their audience would appreciate some workout tips.  This could be on a paid or skill share basis.

 

Whenever you are tempted to try something you see someone else doing online ask yourself how it applies to your audience and if it will benefit your business.  Also consider if there are any potential downsides.

Will it bring the existence of your business to the attention of more of your target audience in a positive way?

Is it something that will help you start a meaningful communication with someone who could be interested in your service?

Will it negatively impact your audience or cause confusion?

If it won’t help, then don’t follow the crowd, put your time and energy into more useful measures.  Unfortunately there aren’t any quick fixes when it comes to a successful business but there are always steps you can take to help in any circumstances.