As Facebook continues to prioritize privacy, small- and medium-sized businesses can look at it as an opportunity to deepen relationships with prospects and customers.
In January, Mark Zuckerberg solidified his vow to create safe, digital experiences for Facebook users in his annual vision post.
“Being part of such a large community… makes us crave intimacy,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “When I grew up in a small town, it was easy to have a niche and sense of purpose. But with billions of people, it’s harder to find your unique role.
“For the next decade, some of the most important social infrastructure will help us reconstruct all kinds of smaller communities to give us that sense of intimacy again.”
Over the next few years, Facebook plans to rebuild more of their services around the following principles: private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.
The 3 Keys to Small Business Success on Privacy-Focused Facebook
There are three specific areas of the Facebook family of apps that already thrive on privacy … and are at the focal point of this initiative. As small business owner, these are where you want to double-down.
1. Private Messaging
Privacy on Facebook’s three messaging platforms - Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct - is high priority. Facebook Messenger is the No. 1 messaging app inside the U.S., and WhatsApp is the #1 messaging app outside the U.S.
Small Business Strategy: Integrate Messenger Automation with Chatbot Marketing
Since people in the U.S. are using Facebook Messenger as their primary point of individual and small group conversations, this is the first area SMB’s should dive into.
The recipe is simple: Use Messaging and Messenger automation via chatbots and integrate email and SMS! Chatbots can be used for lead generation, pre- and post-sales communication, improved customer service, and so much more.
Messages from Messenger can get open rates as high as 80 to 90 percent. Plus, their click-through rates are significantly higher than email. To get an even better return on your investment, combine chatbots with email and potentially text messaging, too.
Watch for both Instagram Direct and WhatsApp opening their respective APIs for chatbot integration at some point. Facebook is bound to roll this out for all its messaging apps sooner or later.
If the future is private, messaging apps are an extremely powerful and effective channel for B2C or B2B communication.
Zuckerberg has stated on numerous occasions that, “Stories are the future.”
Stories engagement has never been public, and that in part likely inspired the hidden like-counts and engagement on Instagram and Facebook. Since engagement on Stories are private, and they disappear after 24 hours, people are more likely to engage with them. In fact, there are currently over 500 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, and the same number using Facebook and Messenger Stories combined.
Small Business Strategy: Create More Stories
If you’re not already doing so, publish Stories on Instagram and Facebook regularly. If you’re not sharing organic Stories daily, at least consider making use of the Stories product via ads. If you use automatic placements in Facebook Ads Manager, you’re likely already doing Stories ads. Now take it a step further and create native Stories ads with the full, immersive 9:16 videos.
To increase engagement on your Stories, make good use of the poll, quiz, questions or group chat feature. People love to touch their phones!
Another strategy is to encourage DM replies. This helps develop and sustain relationships with your audience. And with Instagram DMs accessible inside your FB Page Inbox - and Instagram DMs coming to desktop - it’s easier than ever to start and continue those private conversations.
If your clients and prospects feel more comfortable communicating in private ways, such as engagement and replies in Stories, give them ample opportunity to do so.
Recommended reading: Bringing Your Small Businesses to Life with Facebook and Instagram Stories
3. Facebook Groups
Facebook has placed major emphasis on the groups product for the past couple of years. Perhaps Facebook’s biggest display of commitment is its Super Bowl ad featuring groups. Groups are instrumental in developing community among devoted fans, prospects and customers. While you can create public groups, private groups provide your community with a safer, more inclusive level.
Small Business Strategy: Create Private Groups
Develop one or more groups, linked to your Facebook page, and be sure to have a strategic purpose. For instance, you can create groups for niches within your specialty, groups for training, etc.
Use groups to go deeper with topics you present on your business page. For example, do a Facebook Live on your business page. Then, at a later date, host a Watch Party in your group for an active Q&A. This will also allow you to reach parts of your audience that may have missed the original stream.
Use your group to add value, supplement your page’s information, and create deeper connections. Other things you can do in your group include:
- Do Live video broadcasts just for group members every week or even once a month
- Conduct polls
- Make offers periodically for building leads
- Crowdsource user-generated content
- Do an ask me anything
- Create a think tank or focus group to provide feedback on new products/services
Recommended reading: How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow your Small Business
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