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4 small businesses that are making a splash on Facebook

Earlier this week I did a presentation on Facebook for Small Business (I’m going to run a webinar on this in August, so keep an eye out) at the Fresh Business Thinking conference.  As part of the presentation, I wanted to include real life small business facebook page examples, that the audience could relate to,  so I put a tweet out on Twitter and got some fantastic responses. I was specifically looking for Facebook pages that had over 1000 fans and asked them some key questions about how they are using facebook as a marketing tool.

One of the interesting things that I noticed, from many of the sites that responded, is how little profile their facebook page has on their main website.  Talk about missing a trick!  If you do have a facebook page, make sure a link or like box is really prominent on your main website as it is a fantastic way to engage with your customers and prospects in a different way.  Speaking of which, make sure you click the like button in our sidebar 🙂 …

The other thing that is really interesting to me, is that none of them have followed the traditional advice of having a Welcome page when people click on their facebook page.  When you visit their page, the first thing you see is their wall.  As you will see from reading their responses, this has not affected their success or the effectiveness of the facebook page as a marketing tool.

Facebook can be a really powerful marketing and engagement tool for your business if you use it well and work it, as these examples show. We’re always looking for interesting case studies that we can feature on Women Unlimited, so please get in touch if you think you fit.  Before we get into the nitty gritty, I’d just like to thank the facebook pages below for being so helpful and sharing their tips and insights as there is some gold in them there answers.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Fans: 5569
Launched: Spring 2010
Facebook page:  Redwings Horse Sanctuary

About Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Redwings is the UK’s largest horse charity and are doing amazing things to improve the lives of rescued horses, donkeys and mules.  They have a fantastic website indicating how people can help, but they have been using their facebook page to build community and engage with people who might not connect with them in a traditional way.    One of the things I would definitely recommend for them though is that they give their facebook page a LOT more profile on their main website as I think they could do a lot by using them together.

 

What has Facebook meant to your business

Facebook is very exciting for Redwings as it allows us to directly engage with our supporters, and to attract a new generation of supporters who may not necessarily interact with charities in the more traditional ways, such as direct mail. It has brought us valuable media coverage through a Facebook campaign we ran in conjunction with Spillers Horse Feeds (see below); and by being able to see what information and appeals people respond to best, it gives us some incredibly valuable insights into how we can make our charity relevant and effective, particularly in such a competitive marketplace.

How much business can you attribute to facebook
As we are a charity it is very difficult to say how many donations and other supporter responses are directly attributable to Facebook. We know it is very useful in driving traffic to our website and to our visitor centres and events but the process of giving to a charity is usually inspired by engaging with the charity in more than one way. However, we saw a direct result from Facebook via the Spillers campaign which resulted in us being donated an incredible 18ts of free feed in the Autumn, at a time when we really needed it, so it can have solid, tangible results. We are currently using Facebook to encourage potential fundraisers to get involved with various monthly themes such as ‘Run for Redwings’ or July’s theme which is the ‘Great Cake Bake’ and because this is something people can naturally share with their friends and discuss amongst themselves it seems to be working well.

What would you recommend to someone just developing their facebook page
Be prepared to put the time in. There is no point setting up a Facebook page if you are not prepared to give the time needed to update it, and it’s vital to its success that you don’t just post bland corporate messages from your organisation and sit back. To get the most from it you need to answer people’s questions and really engage in dialogue with them, otherwise they will soon lose interest. Establish a ‘voice’ from your organisation that is appropriate for your brand (you may want to keep it to one person so it is consistent and ‘on message’ at all times) and stick to it. And be prepared for anything – we have had all sorts of questions and enquiries posted on our page, so make sure you and your directors are aware of that before you start. Facebook sometimes has a life of its own and a conversation about your business may not always go in the direction you want! Honest and open dialogue is the best way to deal with this, resist the temptation to delete!

What was your most effective strategy for getting like’s
We worked with Spillers Horse Feeds on a campaign for free feed for our ponies. They kindly offered to donate 1kg of feed for every person who clicked ‘Like’ on their Team Spillers Facebook page over a set period – the total was over 15,000 likes, which they made up to 18ts of free feed for our ponies, an incredible result. We supported it through PR activity and on our own Facebook page – which meant we received several thousand ‘Likes’ on our own page in the process. However, we have actually found that for us the single best way of getting ‘Likes’ has been the simplest; we post a ‘cute Friday picture’ every Friday of horses and donkeys from the Sanctuary and it always has a great response. People pass it on to their friends and it’s a great way to get new recommendations. It just shows that Facebook should be fun, don’t take it too seriously and it will soon begin to reap rewards for you!

Nextivity

Fans: 2,513
Launched: February 2011
Facebook page:  Nextivity: 5bars

About Nextivity: Nextivity have created a product that boosts mobile telephone coverage in people’s homes or offices and are using facebook as a way of connecting with consumers.  They have just run a fantastic video contest asking people to create their own videos showing what Cel-fi, their product does.  The winner’s video is fantastic, very creative and fun.

 

Nextivity facebook page

What has Facebook meant to your business:
Facebook has been a different way for the company to reach out to and connect with customers and give information on the product to potential customers in a non-formal way.

How much business can you attribute to Facebook:

Facebook has been fantastic in spreading brand awareness. Nextivity Inc. is a relatively unknown company, with a product that has been hard to sell and market, Facebook has given the company another marketable option and increased brand awareness. In one day, the company had almost 550 likes on the page and a large amount of traffic was driven to their Web site, where people were able to find out more information on the company and the product.

Facebook has also helped in supplying a few sales. Interested customers were able to come to the Facebook page, ask questions, get answers and even a discount code to use when purchasing the product. There have also been customers who have had issues with their product and posted to the page; the company was able to respond swiftly to take care of the customer’s issue. Facebook provides a great platform for letting brands connect with the customers and providing customer service as well.

What would you recommend to someone just developing their Facebook page:
I would recommend that companies optimize their profiles– make sure to include all necessary information about the company, products, how to get in touch, Web site, etc. Having an aesthetically pleasing profile/page is also important- make sure your profile image contains your company logo and is able to fit in the thumbnail version. The photo row should have appropriate photos of products or services (note from Julie- you can see some great examples of creative photo row’s here) and time should be taken to maintain it. Another recommendation is to not go crazy with too many subpages– don’t put your entire Web site on various subpages, that’s what your site is for. Include extras that aren’t on your site such as interactive games and apps, something new, etc.

What was your most effective strategy for getting like’s:
Nextivity Inc. ran a video contest and fan-gated the voting procedure, meaning in order to vote, you must like the page. Another strategy to gain likes is to fangate special offers or discount codes; if the person wants the offer, they must like the page.

Name Art

Fans: 1,519
Launched: June 2010
Facebook page:  NameArt

About Name Art: If you are looking for interesting or bespoke fun gifts then check out Charis’ gorgeous website.  Her facebook page is responsible for 50% of her sales, which makes it significant, but its real power is in helping her to connect and engage with her customers and community.

Name Art Facebook Page

What has it meant to your business
I have managed to build a real community of regular customers who enjoy seeing the business develop, who encourage me, who get friends to like my page and who come back to buy more and more!

How much business can you attribute to facebook:
About 50% of my business comes from facebook

What would you recommend to someone just developing their facebook page
I would recommend that you make your facebook page friendly.  Put a lot of ‘you’ into it so that people feel that they are communicating with a person, not just a business. Make the likers on facebook (and followers on twitter?) feel special; they ‘know’ the artist and have been part of the journey. Make sure you use it every day, but don’t fill up people’s walls as this may make them ‘unlike’ you.  Do giveaways and announce offers such as directing ‘likers’ to a blog so that they feel that they are getting something extra that a regular visitor to the site wouldn’t get.

What was your most effective strategy for getting like’s
I occasionally ask likers to suggest the page to friends and sometimes offer a bit of an incentive for doing so.

Cakepop Princess

Fans: 2162 (it goes up by 100-200 likes each week)
Launched: January 2011
Facebook page:  Cakepop Princess

About Cake Pop Princess: They make cakes on sticks – how cool is that?  What I love about Cake Pop Princess is that she doesn’t have a website.  Almost 100% of her business comes as a direct result of her facebook page and she is being REALLY smart about how she engages with people and keeps them coming back to her page.

Cake Pop Princess facebook page

How  important is FB to your business?
It’s everything to my business as my website is still under construction. I can add things easily to the page, and get a lot of interaction with clients.

How much business can you attribute to facebook:
At the moment, almost all my business comes from Facebook, without any form of paid advertising. The rest comes from recommendations but as they tend to come via the FB page in any case, it’s rather hard to track!

What would you recommend to someone just developing their facebook page:
Be interactive – people love to comment and give their input. I ask for opinions on prototype products, and share photos as much as possible to keep their interest. Be sure to comment on relevant pages and groups as your page, but don’t spam other pages as it’s rude and annoying. Don’t have too many status updates though – people are likely to block your page or ‘unlike’ if you’re spamming their newsfeed with 10 status updates a day!

What was your most effective strategy for getting like’s
Giveaways are a fantastic way to get more likes – I usually ask people if they’ve shared the page with their friends as a random status on occasion, but don’t make it a compulsory part of joining in any competitions (be careful not to fall foul of Facebook competition rules). People have to ‘like’ your page in order to comment, so anyone who enters the comp is already a ‘liker’.

Try to network as much as possible – I also tweet, but am not on it anywhere near as much as Facebook. I also blog a little, to give people a background story. This enables people to find your photos better on search engines, or to ‘Pin’ your items on Pinterest, which is definitely growing in popularity. Try to form alliances with other companies for joint giveaways – it will help bring their likers to your page, and vice versa.

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If you are new to facebook, or you are struggling to make facebook work for your business, check out how well each of these brands are engaging with their audiences and follow their lead.  These businesses are really making it work for them and if you follow their advice, it can really work for you.

 

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About Julie Hall

Hi, I'm Julie Hall, the founder of Women Unlimited. Which is my 4th business. I've had a business as a headhunter, a consultant, a new media agency and now finally Women Unlimited. I've learned lots of lessons - many of which could have been avoided. I hope you find the articles and stories on this website useful, and feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.

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One comment

  1. Congratulations for this incredible post.

    I think there is something in common when you write about success cases. All of them planify and develop sites with value for the watcher, and even give them some incentives for convert them into fans.

    I guess here we can find the success key: give an incentive for clicking I like it. That’s what users are waiting for and what success histories always say.

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