Who knows how to make yourself – and your brand – known in the social media space? The head of marketing at Facebook, that’s who. We grilled Alexandra Sloane, who’s spent five years at the helm of Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s marketing arm, on the tricks and tools it takes for small businesses to capture attention, keep a tight hold on it, and grow their presence on platforms currently crowded with close to three billion users. Here’s what she told us.
1. Be in the right place, with purpose
“It’s important that small businesses think about where their audience spends time and consumes content. If you think specifically about how consumers use Facebook and Instagram, it’s on their mobile, while they are on the go. Small businesses need to think about these channels, but also the type of content they create for best optimisation on mobile,” says Alex, adding that it’s vital to be clear on why you’re posting. “Consider whether you want to promote a product, drive traffic to your website or increase brand awareness. Identifying the purpose of your content will aid with developing posts that achieve your intended results.”
2. Create “thumb-stopping content”…
“… that makes people stop scrolling when they are getting their morning coffee, or dropping their kids off at school,” says Alex, urging small businesses to show, not tell. “Brands are increasingly connecting with their consumer via video content, so we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible with creative apps like Hyperlapse, Rewind and Boomerang. Videos are often viewed without sound, so it’s smart to incorporate captions, logos and products.” Alex also suggests profiling your customers. “Case studies provide authentic stories for your business, and encouraging customers to share their story on Facebook can be a great way to extend your network.”
3. Stay close by getting personal
So we’ve caught our target market’s attention – now how do we keep it? “It’s about creating original content that connects with your desired audience,” says Alex, pointing to teeth-whitening company HiSmile, that recently tested Instagram Ads in Stories for a campaign with professional mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor. “The business was particularly impressed with how they were able to target young men, a demographic it typically finds hard to reach. According to HiSmile, this is because Ads in Stories enables a brand to connect with an audience directly and share the brand story effectively in just 15 seconds.”
4. Share the love with like-minded brands
There’s a reason why musicians tour with other artists – it exposes them, and their support acts, to each other’s fanbase – and this model is just as effective for small businesses. Facebook recently ventured to Mordialloc, Victoria, where the team observed how small businesses in the same community were banding together to create and co-fund local campaigns. “One example is the girl.bosses.au community group – that has 2.8K followers – which is a social media magazine dedicated to connecting, assisting and promoting women in business in any field for the local Mordialloc region,” says Alex. “Mordialloc’s businesses are the biggest supporters of each other.”
5. Incorporate calls to action
No matter how compelling your content, if you leave your audience hanging, it falls flat. “Facebook and Instagram both have a number of tools that can help customers to engage with their product,” says Alex. “On Facebook there are simple tools such as ‘learn more’, ‘contact us’ or ‘sign-up’. Here, small businesses can add these tools to their pages.” Instagram has these features too, but Alex’s personal fave on this platform is the “swipe up for more” tool on Instagram Stories – recently used to great effect, she notes, by Country Road’s campaign for a limited-product capsule range.
6. Use the full kit
Facebook is constantly developing and improving their offering for small businesses – so get familiar. “Tools such as Facebook’s Page Presence Tool helps businesses showcase a full range of products and services in a more engaging way, which is particularly useful for businesses that have multiple offerings,” says Alex. “Another great tool is the Ad Manager app, which allows SMBs to conveniently create ads from their smartphone. Facebook Blueprint eLearning is a great resource for SMBs looking to further their skills on the both Facebook and Instagram, and Facebook mobile studio is a good place to start for brands looking to push their content development further.”