Tips on Using Facebook as a Business Tool from a Reluctant User of Facebook


I don't often talk about 'the marketing side' of skincare on this blog, but have been getting an increasing amount of questions about branding and marketing - not least from folks who book consultations with me.

Today, I'm going to share a few tips with you about one platform I admittedly have a less than positive relationship with: Facebook.

To put it very diplomatically, I am a reluctant user of Facebook.

Reluctant is Putting it Nicely

There are several reasons I am not enamored with this application. It is not for lack of trying either. I do generally try to give things (and people) a few chances before passing judgement.

But despite ongoing efforts, I find Facebook's platform confusing and non-intuitive - a mish mash of personal, business, and group pages where it is not immediately apparent what you are visiting or how you got there. Features are constantly changing; new ones are rolled out, then removed, and there is no useful, helpful, or clear instruction about settings or functions to be found anywhere. Trolls seem to thrive on Facebook as it is possible (and apparently easy) to create an entire catalogue of false profiles (really, Facebook? Why is this even possible?).

I could go on for much longer but I think you get the drift. Facebook is not (and will probably never be) my favorite platform.

So when a lovely lady in the indie beauty industry asked me if I would be willing to share a few tips about using Facebook as a business tool the other day, my knee-jerk reaction was to run.

But.

In all honesty, I have to admit this annoying, frustrating, non-intuitive platform has its positive sides.

A Few Facebook Positives

For one thing, Facebook has allowed me to connect with people around the globe who are just as passionate about developing and making natural cosmetics as I am. When you think about how niche that particular interest has been until quite recently, that's a pretty big positive.

So after working my way past my initial reaction to run away, I thought I'd jot down a few things I have learned about using Facebook as a business tool and share them with you.

And if you've just popped in, let me point out that I am speaking from a small business point of view where money is tight, time is precious, and results are pretty much life-necessary.


Facebook Tip 1: Manage Your Time

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in personal things when visiting Facebook because the feed is a seamless blend of posts from friends, family, groups, businesses and advertisements.

Try and keep 'personal Facebook time' completely separate from 'business Facebook time' - scroll past whatever is not relevant to the purpose of your visit.

Does this always work? No, but if you have set yourself this goal, you might find it easier to control as you are entering the platform with a specific purpose each time you log in.


Facebook Tip 2: Buy Advertising at Your Own Risk

Buying ads on Facebook is great if you have unlimited resources but in my experience it is a bottomless pit of expenses (and time spent). My own trials and efforts buying placement ads was – to put it nicely – an education.

The results were so disappointing I assumed I was doing something completely wrong. Instead of hiding away in embarrassment (as we humans tend to do when things don't succeed), I started reaching out to fellow small business colleagues and asking them about how they advertised on Facebook and what their experiences were. The negatives outweighed the positives in spades. This was about a year ago, so at this point I am estimating, but I think I was in contact with just around 1500 other indie skincare businesses where about 100 of them offered feedback. Almost everyone had the same impressions and experiences: lots of time wasted and too much money spent with no results to speak of.

This was a bit of an eye opener and got me curious enough to dig around for some more input, so I also asked a few contacts with larger businesses (also in other fields) and the feedback from them was markedly different. One fellow (with a rather large business) was kind enough to share with me that they saw optimal results when they used about 15k (usd) a month.

Fifteen thousand dollars a month.

That's a yearly budget of $180.000 for advertising on ONE platform.

I'll just leave that tidbit of information right there.


Facebook Tip 3: Don’t use Facebook as Your Sole Business Page

Never forget that Facebook is a free platform. Using it as your sole business page places your business completely at the mercy of any changes Facebook may decide to make. Unexpected changes can (and do) happen at any given time.

That makes Facebook an unstable foundation.

Go ahead and create a business page on Facebook, but use that page as a vehicle to direct traffic to your own website. In that respect, Facebook is offering you free advertising that's definitely worth taking advantage of. You can advertise new products, special offers, or upcoming events by simply changing the banner graphic on your page. You can also set up a 'mirror' shop on Facebook that links directly to the products on your own website. These options are relatively easy to implement. You can probably even 'recycle' the graphics you already have on your own website.

Facebook Tip 4: Expand Your Reach

Your Facebook business page is ideal for announcing a new product, sharing news, or asking your customers for feedback.

Use it to create community, connect with your customers and expand your reach. Maintaining a Facebook business page costs you nothing more than the time you are willing to put into it. And with that in mind, re-read tip 1.

Enjoy!

Do Tell

Do you have any additional tips on using Facebook for business that you're willing to share? Please post a comment below.

Comments

Ellie said…
You are correct it is a complete waste of time and money. I tried Amazon, but it too was expensive and time-consuming: I spent 3 months, getting approval and spent over $2400 to make less than $30 sale the next 5 months. Maybe I did the thing wrong? I am using Instagram now, but you are right it is a free platform own by Facebook...and that can change too.
LisaLise said…
HI Ellie - thanks for sharing. I can imagine Amazon is also difficult to navigate but haven't been down that road myself. From your experience here, I'm not very motivated to try either!
Gabree said…
Love the piece! Thank you for sharing.

An online advertising expert once told me, as a small business owner, it’s about investing little and playing the long game. Results will eventually get well if you have good products. A $15-$30 boost on posts can be very helpful when doing it constantly over time. I haven’t done it myself yet but am getting ready to try.
LisaLise said…
Hi Gabree - Great tip! Thanks for sharing - I am now crossing fingers for your success using this method!