Has Facebook failed local businesses?

Laura asked about my thoughts on this Fast Company article:


If the question is whether the free ride is over for businesses on Facebook, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The freeloading is done and gone. Nullem gratuitem prandium: no such thing as a free lunch, as the Romans said.

If the question is whether Facebook is useless to small businesses that don’t have millions of dollars, the answer is equally firm: no. Facebook is still plenty useful to businesses even on meager budgets.

What sort of things might small, local businesses still be able to do on Facebook without shelling out massive fortunes?

Retargeting and Remarketing

Facebook offers two simple kinds of remarketing and retargeting. The first is custom audiences, in which you upload your email or phone database (hashed, if you want it to be guaranteed secure) and then set up ads to run against that audience. It’s an inexpensive way to reach the highest value people on Facebook – people who you’ve identified could be customers or are customers already.

The second kind of remarketing is web-based remarketing. Small businesses can place tracking tags on the most valuable pages on their websites and then show ads only to those people who visit those pages and leave.

Both of these forms of advertising can be done for $5 a day and up. Obviously, the more resources you can throw at it, the better, but you can do a lot for a little.

Network Leverage

Another form of Facebook marketing leverages the gap between business Page and employees. If you’re a small business owner who has done a good job of cultivating your personal Facebook profile in addition to your business Page, then make sure you’re sharing your business Page updates from your personal profile. 

An excellent example of this is my martial arts teacher, Mark Davis. He shares the Boston Martial Arts business Page updates on his personal profile, and more often than not, I see his posts before the school’s posts:


Note that you don’t have to do this with EVERY post – just the key ones, like upcoming events, etc.

Facebook Groups

The final area you can leverage is Facebook Groups, either by participating (sensibly, please; no spamming!) or setting up your own group. Groups are an easy way to reach pockets of people who share interests in what your business serves. Find the right group, and if one doesn’t exist, make one!

Bear in mind that geography is important. Just because there’s a broad category group doesn’t mean there’s a local group. There’s a podcasting group, but is there a suburban Boston podcasters group? If not, there’s an easy void for you to fill.

Yes, Small Businesses Can Benefit from Facebook

Facebook still has opportunities for meaningful participation by businesses big and small. You have to find them, and for the ones you don’t pay money for, you have to work harder at them.

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Being louder isn’t the answer


When you want to hit a target, do you walk up to it with a large hammer and hit it? Or do you nock an arrow and pierce it with a well-aimed shot?

When you want to amplify the flavor of a dish, do you add more of every ingredient? Or do you find a particular spice, a specific flavor, and add just more of that?

When you want to be heard in a loud room, do you simply shout louder? Or do you whistle, tap a glass, or even sing one musical note?

All three of these are examples of how to apply force in a focused way to generate an effective result. As the digital space gets noisier, more crowded, and more complex, your ability to scale, to be everywhere, diminishes commensurately.

To be heard, to be seen, to be sensed, you must find a point to put your strength behind. Is Facebook your thing? Go all in on it, and give less and less to the things that aren’t your strength.

Try this simple test. Open your Google Analytics. Find your traffic acquisition by Source/Medium (Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium):

all traffic source medium.jpg

Look at the top 10 things generating traffic to your site, assuming that traffic is a significant goal. Consider all of the things you do every day that aren’t on this list. What’s the opportunity cost of doing those things versus doing more of the things above that are clearly working?

Play to your strengths. The alternative is to dabble, exert a little focus everywhere, and get nowhere.

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How to market your podcast, part 4: Twitter tactics for exposure

Podcasting has found new favor with the marketing world. Marketers are creating podcasts left and right, but are spending so much time on creating it that they forget to market it. This series is for you, so that people listen or watch your new creation.

Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!

Today, let’s switch over from the strategic perspective to the tactical, nuts and bolts perspective.

We’ll start with some tactical Twitter tips for getting an episode seen or heard using unpaid and paid methods.

Unpaid Methods

First and foremost, make sure you’ve got your podcast registered with Stitcher Radio. Stitcher has a nice Twitter integration for sharing episodes.

Next, find your most recent episode:


You’ll see the Tweet button. Hit it to get the URL for copying and pasting.

Once you’ve gotten it, you can either Tweet as is, rewrite it, or better yet, include it in scheduled Tweets. It’s a good idea to include some hashtags if you’ve got a specific topic or theme. You’ll note I included #SEO. When you tweet with a Stitcher URL, this nice player is what shows up on Twitter. Note that you can hit Play below and hear the episode right inside the tweet – even embedded on my website:

This is a nice way to show off your most recent episode. It’ll get some views and some plays, depending on how large your Twitter following is and how in tune with your show they are.

Next, go to Twitter search and type in: looking for new podcasts. You’ll see a whole bunch of people asking about new shows:


Look carefully at their requests. For example, in the graphic above, the person asking about podcasts at work might be a good candidate for Marketing Over Coffee, since my show is a work-related show. For the other shows, don’t just blindly reply. Ask if they’re interested in your topic, and if they affirm, only then share your show with them.

If you’re operating on a zero dollar budget, stop here. The above tips will help you grow an organic audience.

Fast Cheap Good

It will not be fast, but it will be cheap, and if you do it with respect, you’ll build a good audience.

Paid Methods

If you don’t have a ton of Twitter followers but you do have some budget, not to worry. Just a few ad dollars can help fix that. Head over to Twitter Analytics at analytics.twitter.com. Click on the Tweets button:


Scroll down until you find your most recent episode and then click View Tweet Details:


Now all you need to do is find the Promote Tweet button in the lower left hand corner and hit it:

Tweet_Activity_analytics_for_cspenn 2.jpg

And specify how much you want to spend. The tweet will be promoted to your followers and most important, to people who follow topics you mention in your tweet. Remember the hashtag you put in your tweet? This is how the ad software knows who else to show your tweet to.

Tweet_Activity_analytics_for_cspenn 3.jpg

For $10, you can get some additional engagement with your show and ideally pick up some new listeners. From here, it’s simply a question of how quickly you want to grow and how much budget you have to expend. It’s fast and it’s good, but of course, compared to unpaid methods, it’s not cheap.

However, your show is more than just passive listeners. What if you want to build up the mailing list so that you can reach out when you need to? In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to beef up the email list.

Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!

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