If you’re a small business owner, it’s a safe assumption that your prospects are on Facebook. The world’s largest social network had 1.71 billion monthly active users as of Q2 2016. And two-thirds of those users log onto Facebook daily. But does this high user volume mean that Facebook will drive strong organic traffic to your small business website?
GetApp surveyed 500 small and midsize business (SMB) owners this month to learn how helpful Facebook is as a source of organic web traffic. Our results show that Facebook’s strong user engagement does not equate to very effective organic traffic for small business websites:
One in four small business owners (25.2 percent) say that Facebook's "not effective" at driving organic traffic to their small business website;
Less than one in 10 small business owners rate Facebook as either "extremely effective" (2.4 percent) or "very effective" (6.8 percent) at driving organic traffic to their website;
One in five small business owners (19.5 percent) say their business isn't on Facebook.
Respondents answered the question: “How effective is Facebook at driving organic (unpaid) traffic to your small business’ website?”
#1. Extremely effective – 2.4%
#2. Very effective – 6.8%
#3. Moderately effective - 19.9%
#4. Slightly effective – 20.1%
#5. Not effective – 25.2%
#6. My small business isn’t on Facebook – 19.5%
#7. My small business doesn’t have a website - 6.2%
Facebook announced earlier this year that it was changing its News Feed algorithm to prioritize posts from users’ friends and family over other sources - including publishers and brands. This means that if a Facebook user clicks “Like” on your business’ Facebook page, they won’t automatically see new posts that you publish on your page within their News Feeds.
Instead, that user must manually hover over the “Like” button on your page and switch their setting from “Default” to “See First”:
Data from Parse.ly shows that Facebook-reliant publishers have reported few changes in referral traffic since Facebook’s announcement. So, we wondered if small business owners would say the same.
More research is needed to confirm if organic traffic to small business websites has decreased since Facebook’s most recent algorithm change. Regardless, our data suggests that Facebook is not a strong source of organic traffic for your small business website.
Does your small business already have a Facebook page? If so, don’t rush to take it down. If someone in your business manages that page - and your marketing team invests in writing standout content - Facebook can still play a role in your business’ brand awareness. The trick is to minimize that role and invest in other methods that yield higher returns.
If you’re a small business owner with a B2C clientele, research Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences tool. Using it does not demand a big budget; Neil Patel says that investing as little as $5 - $10 per day for one week is enough to teach you about the platform; learn how to tailor your calls-to-action; and measure your first campaign’s success against the KPIs (like organic traffic) that are tied to your business’ growth goals. All of these efforts will help drive organic traffic to your small business website.
You can try this tactic if you’re in the B2B space as well. But if other business owners are your core audience, you should explore additional ways to drive organic web traffic to your small business website.
If your strategy doesn’t already include LinkedIn, the research above should be the boost you need to pursue that channel. A Hubspot study of 4500 businesses found that LinkedIn’s visitor-to-lead conversion rate is nearly three times as high as traffic from Facebook. Additionally, your organic reach on LinkedIn can climb as high as 60% if you post at least 20 times per month.
Think of your organic web traffic strategy as a diversified portfolio: the more investments you make, the less risk you incur. And focusing on efforts that grow in value over time is how you build long-term wealth.