In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to give Hawaiian businesses every possible tool to avoid financial hardship or difficulty.

Fewer people visit stores in-person these days. Therefore, we recommend businesses either establish or boost their online marketing strategy. A strong web presence will be a key indicator of a strong business in the years to come. If they can, entrepreneurs should also leverage e-commerce tools to bring in revenue through the web as well as from foot traffic.

All of these strategies counter the lack of customers visiting in-person and spending money. A fantastic example of these strategies comes from Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread in Ke‘anae. Using a Maui County Adaptability Fund grant, they upgraded their web presence and built an e-commerce platform. Today, they sell their products to people all over the contiguous United States as well as Maui.

They also invested in their Facebook page, a move that every business should make if they haven’t already.

Read also: 3 Pivots For Hawaii Businesses In 2021

Why Facebook is King for Social Media Advertising

You can now find over a billion profiles on Facebook. Not just a thousand, or a million, or a hundred million, but 1.2 billion people have used Facebook at some point. This trend shows no sign of slowing down, with more people creating profiles every day. With the acquisition of Instagram, Facebook now hosts the majority of social profiles on the web.

So, having a strong Facebook presence opens your business to millions of potential customers, many of whom haven’t heard about you yet. Plus, it gives you increased visibility to the 1.5 million people who call our islands home, most using Facebook on at least a weekly basis.

Yet, many businesses miss out because they never create a business page or leverage Facebook Ads. To survive and thrive in the pandemic, make sure your online marketing strategy includes substantial use of Facebook.

Also Read: 3 Tips For Small Businesses In Hawaii To Win This Tax Season

Basic Tips For Making the Most Out Of Your Business’s Facebook Page

Here are some of the opening strategies a small business in Hawaii should use, if they want to drive sales through the power of the world’s largest social media platform.

  • Claim Your Facebook Business Listing

The first step is to make sure that your business has a Facebook page. Millions of businesses miss out on potential customers by simply failing to create a page. Don’t be like them. Visit this page to learn how to set it up.

Once you’ve done the basic setup, the next step is to write a compelling ‘About’ section that explains what your business does and the primary value it offers. Hire a professional writer if necessary. Your ‘About’ content helps your page’s performance in searches. It is one of the first things a potential customer reads as they decide whether or not to go with you.

Next, make sure you claim your page’s vanity URL by following this link. A vanity URL is sort-of like a vanity license plate. Instead of being a random string of letters and numbers, you customize it to match your business’ name. This makes it easier for people to find you online.

  • Respond Quickly… And Ask For Responses

Every business page has a computer-generated statistic on it, measuring how fast it takes on average for the business to respond to customer queries. If the response time is longer than a day, many customers won’t bother to message you.

Make sure that you or a staff person can remain on-call to answer questions that come up. Even answering with “I’m not sure, let me get you that information in the next day or so” boosts your rating and helps the customer feel heard.

On top of this, make sure you ask for the customer to respond to your page with specific calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your page. This means putting a link to your e-commerce page in your ‘About’ and description and linking to it during your posts. When in doubt, always give the customer something to click on that leads them closer to making a buying decision.

  • Build Engagement Through Your Posts

Lastly, build engagement with your customer base through your posts. This helps people remember your business and also expands your audience.

To increase engagement, create image-heavy posts that always ask for a response of some kind. A good way to do this is with a photo of a face making a strong reaction, attached to a poll about whether they like something trivial. So, an shave ice stand could post a person smiling wide and asking about a favorite shave ice flavor.

You can also run contests and promotions through your Facebook page, incentivizing people to share your posts or page. Always follow through on your contests and promotions to demonstrate goodwill. Give select customers a fantastic story to tell their friends.

Regarding timing and frequency of posts, there’s been a lot of research about the best times. Let me summarize everything for you: Your business should post on Facebook once or twice every weekday, during the late morning. This is generally the best time for reactions and responses.

What can you accomplish this week to take your business’ Facebook presence to the next level? Is it a business listing, or vanity URL? Do you need to start responding to questions more quickly? Or should you get on a schedule of engaging posts? Once you take care of all these things, you’ll see more interest in your business, driving sales.

Further Reading: Local SEO: Maximizing Your Local Business’ ‘Near Me’ Rank


Photos Courtesy of Austin Distel, & Dimitar Belchev

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