Small- and medium-sized business owners (SMBs) undoubtedly face unique challenges when marketing their business propositions and differentiating their products and services from competitors. Resources can be scarce, staffing and budgets limited, making marketing efforts even more challenging.

With recent improvements and the ad simplification initiative, Facebook is arming SMB owners everywhere with tools and best practices, aiming to remove some of the traditional barriers they face and pave the way for a much smoother journey.

Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business recently posted about the social company’s newest milestones – having reached more than 1 billion monthly active users and 1 million active advertisers. This equates to a targeted audience at scale where reach has typically been a large hurdle for local and small businesses.

It’s All in the Numbers

B-to-B marketing has changed dramatically over the last decade with the introduction of social media and the maturation of digital marketing. SMBs have clearly embraced digital marketing in order to drive sales and increase engagement, with websites cited as the most widely used tool by 86.6% of survey respondents. Social media (77.3%) and email marketing (65.8%) also rounded out the top three solutions SMB respondents use today.

SMBs most often used websites, Social in Digital Marketing Efforts graph

Getting Social

AdParlor Facebook PageFrom the crest of the marketing funnel to the final point of conversion, social media has proven it can be a powerful weapon in any SMB’s marketing arsenal. The industry’s most influential brands have begun employing strategies and best practices to support both sales and lead generation across multiple divisions. Social media has been instrumental in opening streams of communication and allowing marketers to directly engage with their targeted audience and most loyal fans. As referenced by Nike’s CMO David Grasse, “[Facebook] is the equivalent for us to what TV was for marketers back in the 1960s. It’s an integral part of what we do now.”

When looking to increase sales both in-store and online, marketers have found success by creating and promoting Page posts that focus on their strengths as a product or service. Facebook’s unique platform allows Page owners to “put their best foot forward”, and easily draw attention to what differentiates their brand from competitors.

Post timing has a major effect on engagement, and thanks to Facebook’s improvements in Page Insights analytics, you can easily view when the majority of your fans are online. However, we always recommend using this data as a guideline; you should work to find the optimal posting time for your brand.

The Best Times to Post on FacebookFor example, for a deli running lunch specials, the ideal timing would be in the late morning or early afternoon to be relevant to the target audience. Offers and coupons can be a huge win here; businesses offering discounts for sharing not only encourage repeat customers, but gain new ones in the process.

Building awareness is also a key initiative for SMBs as new products are launched and introduced to the marketplace. Publishing content that resonates with your audience is crucial as engagement metrics get more visible in marketing strategies. Promoting your Facebook Page in-store as well as online is always a best practice. A strategic marketing plan should always strive to present a cohesive voice across all media, matching your target’s expectations.

Social media can, in some cases, be an effective communication tool when issues arise. The key is to convey your brand’s message in a timely and honest manner. Studies have shown that companies that focus on social relationship customer management have not only “redeemed” themselves in the eyes of their fans, but have also increased sales—in some cases up to 14%.

In a market that moves and reacts in real-time, the challenge lies not only in proving that social media is valuable, but just how valuable the medium has become. Facebook is aiming to ease the pain of this challenge through several initiatives, but most important, by aligning its solutions with your objectives and goals. So whether you are looking to increase sales, build awareness, launch a new product or promote your mobile app, Facebook has the tools marketers need to succeed now and in the future.