“Nobody Likes Me… at least that is what Facebook says.”

Do you have this problem? You have a Facebook Fan page for your business but you don’t have a lot of people liking it. Compared to the next guy… you look like a loner.

You’re losing the Facebook popularity contest and you are wondering if your small fan base can be sending the wrong message to your potential customers.

Let’s look at three things we need to consider about Facebook and then expand on them.

3 Things to Consider about Small Businesses and Facebook

  1. Facebook book success is not based on size of business it is based on type of business. Is your business the right type of business to be using Facebook?
  2. One real testimonial on your website is worth 1,000 “likes” on Facebook. A testimonial shows that your customer more than likes you. It shows that they are willing to endorse you. Do you have customer testimonials?
  3. Facebook is a powerful tool for connecting your business with people… but there must be an exchange. Sure, your real friends will “like” your fan page to show their support, but people who don’t know you need a reason to like you. There needs to an incentive. Do you have a tangible incentive for people to follow your business’ Facebook Fan page?

Is your business the right type of business to be using Facebook?

If you are a consumer facing business… meaning your customers are what we could consider the “public,” then you can benefit greatly from Facebook. Why? Because people will go where they feel they are known. People connect with people. They make decisions based on how they feel about places. And so, if you are an amusement park in Fredericksburg, VA or a restaurant in Hillsborough NJ, having a Facebook Fan Page can help you connect with your local market. You can build and support your brand by reaching those people where they already are… online. And by default, there will be a saturation point as far as how many “likes” or “fans” you can get… because your market area is restricted. The number of fans you have is not as important as the interaction you are having with them.

However, if you are in a B2B environment… selling products or services to other companies or for commercial purposes… Facebook is not as important. Because businesses – even people making a business purchase – do not depend as much on emotions to make their decisions. They look for facts. True, there is a school of thought that says every decision we make is based on emotions, but in business you only have to prevent bad feelings about your business. The answers to the important questions around quality, cost, and dependability need to be answered. And those come more through the next point: Customer Testimonials.

Do you have customer testimonials?

Almost every time I have had to speak to potential customers they ask if I have “references” or “testimonials.” It is powerful to be able to send people to a portfolio page or testimonials page. But I have even had people ask for names and numbers. Why? Because when someone acts as a referral they are putting their own name and reputation on the line. They are saying, “I would recommend this person.”

When a potential customer hears that someone would be willing to do that for you it holds a lot more weight that seeing a high number of “fans” on your Facebook page. And often, they don’t even need to make the phone call… just knowing that it is there if they need it counts.

And when you are in a B2B environment you realize that Facebook is really about friends and popularity. So seeing a business with 200 fans… you might think, “Most of those are friends and family I am sure.” I know that I launched a fan page once and had 61 fans in 5 minutes… all from on friend who said, “I’ll ask people to “like” it.” I don’t think I knew even 5 of those people.

In B2B popularity is not the deciding factor… reliability, quality, cost… that wins, and that is better communicated through testimonials.

Do you have a tangible incentive for people to “like” you?

Discounts, coupons, prizes… these are all reasons why people will “like” a page. So there is a cost… even though Facebook is free. People are always looking for a deal. And if you have the right one, and you offer it on Facebook you can gauge the financial impact of your activities. “Like our page and get a coupon.” “Become a fan and find out about special deals and events.” You need something that makes them say, “It wouldn’t hurt to ‘like’ them.” That’s all.

If you are really determined to use Facebook as your website (which some people are) and you are in B2B then you need to think of these tangible incentives.

Are you a small B2B business that has been successful using Facebook? Comment on how below.