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7 Simple Ways Local Businesses Can Increase Sales with Facebook

facebook increase salesOften times on Facebook marketing related blogs the tips and advice given really only applies to online businesses.

Most of the so called “experts” giving the advice only run a page for their training in the social media niche so when advice is given about how something worked for them many times it does not apply in the real world…

I’ve always been bothered by this and that’s why typically the tips you get from me are real world tips based on my experience running a small business page on Facebook.

I’ve helped local businesses with Facebook and currently run 2 of my own small business pages that are geared towards local customers.

Running a page hyper targeted locally is 1000 times different than running a Facebook page that teaches you how to market.

There are different challenges, different tactics and different methods that must be applied.

Today let’s talk about 7 ways your local business can use Facebook to increase sales.

more sales from facebook

7 Simple Ways Local Businesses Can Increase Sales with Facebook

 1) Engagement First

Your #1 goal when posting to your page should be to catch the attention of your followers and get them to engage with your posts.

If you fail at this you’ve failed at running your page — your page will become dead and you’ll be frustrated.

Yes you want to market your products and yes you want people to click over to your website.

But there is an art to this.

A local gastro-pub does a great job of this and got great response with this post recently:

engagement first

The page has about 700 Likes and got nearly 80 people to click Like on this post. I think any of us would take 10% engagement any day!

People don’t want to just be sold all the time — they will let you do it sometimes but only after building rapport.

Start off by posting interesting content, photos, facts, links and etc. Build trust with your followers and get them talking on your posts.

Once you’ve built up this relationship then you can mix in link posts to your product or website.

Also with the way the page algorithm works your fans will only see your posts if they are engaging with them.

What we’ve figured out at Post Planner is that by having every other post be a link to our site and something light hearted we continue to show up in the news feed of our fans.

If all you post is sales post eventually engagement will die off and you’ll just be talking to yourself.

2) Show Off Your Products

For many this tip will go hand and hand with focusing on engagement — but if you have a digital product you really can’t do this.

I want to focus on local, small businesses.

The power of suggestion is very strong on Facebook — and primarily with images.

People are drawn to great images that ignite their senses and passions.

Here’s a great example from a local truck outfitting shop of showing off their work:

show off your products

At the time of posting this the page had about 1500 Likes and got over 100 Likes on this post — not too shabby IMHO.

This post does well for Aloha because:

  • It appeals to their fans and the demographics of the small Texas town
  • They list the details of the work — which for truck guys will excite them
  • They use great looking photos

A local burger joint called Captain Billy Whizzbangs does a great job with this a well showcasing their juicy burgers:

showcase products on facebook

I’ve eaten this burger, and eventhough I’m vegetarian now my mouth waters looking at it!

Appeal to your fans senses by showing off your products with high quality photos.

3) Get More Likes

In order for your page to get engagement on your great post people must Like it first.

Duh!

Many small business owners can get their first burst of Likes by inviting their friends and family to Like the page — either by posting about it on their profile or Inviting them to Like via the page.

This is great, as long as your family and friends are potential customers and will engage with your posts.

There is no need to have people Like the page that will never engage as this hurts your page in the long run.

I have pages that I will never recommend my friends Like as they aren’t the target demographic of that page.

As a small, local business the best way to get Likes is to use the Promoted Page Likes feature on your page.

(Again I’m talking to small local businesses here not global companies or digital product type pages.)

I’ve successfully used this feature on local pages and have seen great results — both with an increase in Likes and increase in sales related to those Likes.

You’ll find this feature just above your cover photo on the left hand side.

promoted page likes

Since we are talking about local businesses I advise targeting an audience within 20-30 miles of your store. There is no need to target everyone in your state as they won’t be your typical customer.

I will usually drill down to my town and sometimes expand to a nearby town.

Something to keep in mind here is the default setting on this ad is to run continuously, so if you set a budget of $10 per day it will run until you tell it to stop! I would advise letting it run for 4-5 days at a time so you can judge whether it’s been beneficial or not.

4) Run a Contest

I’m a HUGE fan of contests on Facebook pages — especially for local businesses.

People dig winning stuff and dig it more when they can redeem it locally and almost immediately.

As you may or may not know Facebook lightened the rules of contests on pages some time ago and now you don’t need to run a contest on an app — which can be challenging and time consuming for small businesses.

Instead you can simply post a text update with a contest and you’re all set! Or post one with a photo.

Whizzbangs gives us another great example of this with a post made at the same time I’m writing this!

facebook timeline contest

It’s a great contest as it’s geared towards their fans and appeals to their senses. And within minutes has 50+ likes!

The other great thing I want you to key in on is instead of just saying “Get a free lunch” they are giving away “$30 in Free Food”. This will encourage them to spend more when they come in and likely bring a friend or two with them for lunch.

Even if you don’t win your mind just triggered your taste buds and now you want a burger. Where will you go to get that burger? Hopefully Whizzbangs if you are in the Waco, Tx area!

At least that’s what they hope you do!

For further information on the rule changes try these resources:

5) Boost Your Posts

I’m a huge fan of the Boost Post feature on local Facebook pages.

Here’s why:

  • It’s simple
  • It gets results
  • It’s easy to see stats

Can you get better results by using things like the Power Editor and Facebook Ads Manger? Perhaps.

But as a small business owner you don’t need to waste time on those things.

You’re likely only going to spend $20-50 per month on ads, if that, and you don’t need to get bogged down in advanced tools that just make numbers geeks giddy!

Boosting a post is simple.

Below each post on your Timeline you’ll see a “Boost Post” link — click or hover on it as seen from a post of my local bounce house business:

 how to boost facebook post

This is what you see once you do click on Boost Post:

boosting a facebook post

You’ll notice quite a few options here.

You can either choose to target existing fans and their friends, or simply target by demographics.

I typically will choose my local town as the target — and then choose the age and gender to target.

You’ll then choose a budget for the ad, this all depends on your budget and what you’re willing to spend.

Then click “Boost Post” and you’re done.

This will create a “Sponsored Story” on the news feed of the people you targeted.

It looks natural and for most isn’t viewed as intrusive.

Does a Boosted Post for a local business work?

I’d say yes and here are my results from a recent post:

results of boosted post

I spent $5 on boosting this post, the paid Reach was 814 and 1100 people saw it. The page at the time had about 200 Likes on it.

The post resulted in 6 new page Likes and 1 rental that will net about $50.

That’s not a bad profit for just spending $5 on an ad!

I ran another boosted post before Thanksgiving offering a weeklong special and got these results:

results of boosting a post on facebook

I spent $15 on Boosting this post which results in a Reach of nearly 2200 people, got 5 new page Likes but more importantly resulted in 2 rentals that will net me over $100.

Again a great use of ad dollars on a local level.

The great thing is both of these examples resulted in new Likes for the page — which means more potential business later!

In addition to being able to boost a post on the actual post itself,  above your cover photo you’ll see a list of your latest posts and can quickly boost from there:

boosting a post

This comes in handy when you see a post is performing well and want to give it a bump on the news feed.

My Rant about the Boost Post feature and what the experts say

I know Facebook Ad experts like Jon Loomer, Mari Smith, Dennis Yu and others will tell you that the Boost Post feature is garbage.

I completely disagree with them and think they are wrong and misleading page owners by saying this.

For massive and large pages and companies sure it makes more sense to use Power Editor — in reality those companies are better suited hiring out their Facebook Ads.

You should also know this is what Jon, Dennis and others do for a living as well — run Ad campaigns. So they don’t want you using simple features like this to run your ads, they want it to seem a bit more confusing and hire their companies to run their ads or pay for their training courses.

And that’s fine and to some extent I agree with them.

But for a small business that likely will never have more than 1000 fans hiring someone to run your ads or bogging yourself down learning Power Editor or even Facebook’s Ad Manager is a waste of time.

You’ll get almost the same exact results quickly boosting a post as you would spending hours picking through nerdy stats in the Power Editor.

Bottom line:

  • Big Company- use Power Editor, Ad Manager and hire out your ads.
  • Small Company- use Boosted Posts and Promoted posts and save yourself time and money.

6) Make it Easy to Contact You

In the old days of marketing what did every ad in print, radio or tv have?

A phone number.

The medium may have changed but the thought process shouldn’t.

2 Ways People can Contact you

1) Facebook Messages

You should have messages turned on so people can send you a message quickly and easily either on their computer or mobile devices.

For my local page I can’t count how many times people have asked pricing questions via messages and I’ve closed the sale all in messages.

It’s a crucial feature for local businesses.

People don’t care what your email address is any longer — they want to message you directly from your page.

To turn this feature on go into your admin panel (above your cover photo) and click on “Edit Page” and choose “Edit Settings”

edit page settings

Click on the “Messages” area and then allow messages and click Save.

allow messages on facebook page

Now any user on Facebook can start a message with your page.

2) Phone numbers

As a local business you should put your phone number in your About section, that’s pretty simple.

But in addition to this you should also include your phone number when you make a post about something.

Remember that 99.99% of people will only see you on their news feed — not on your timeline.

So make it easy for them to call you.

A great example is a place called Poppa Rollo’s Pizza in Waco, Tx. The place is legendary locally and does a great job of social media, including posting their phone number with posts:

contact on facebook

7) Run a Facebook Offer

Facebook Offers are another great way to increase your sales using Facebook.

They are no longer free to run on your page but can be a great way to offer a discount or time-limited incentive to your fans and their friends.

To redeem the offer they’ll need to come into your store to purchase — thus spending more money!

You start an Offer right on your page where the Publisher is that you normally post status updates in:

Facebook offer

Click “Offer, Event+” and this will appear:

facebook offer setup

You’ll now click “Offer”.

A lightbox will open giving you tons of options to choose from:

create a facebook offer

On the left hand side is a preview of your Offer and you set it up on the right.

You add in the Headline you want, choose from a recent photo you’ve loaded to your page or upload a new photo.

You can then choose a date to start and stop the Offer.

If you don’t choose to promote the offer you cannot choose a target audience as it will simply post to your Timeline.

It should be noted that by choosing “Not Now” — meaning you don’t want to spend money promoting — this post will NOT show up in the news feed of your fans. It will simply be on your Timeline.

You can always go back and promote it later.

Then add in the Terms and Conditions of your Offer and click “Create Offer”.

You’re all set and the post will look like this:

completed facebook offer

For local businesses this is great as the Offer will send users and email instructing them to visit your location to redeem the Offer.

Thus driving more traffic into your store — and increasing your sales!

By Leveraging these 7 simple ways to increase sales with Facebook you’re well on your way to making your local business be a power house in your area.