Advice

How to grow your coffee shop business using Facebook

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform with over 2.5 million users worldwide. Of those, 23% check their page at least once a day. Just those two stats alone make it a compelling reason for your coffee shop business to be present on Facebook.

Yet, while it makes sense to be on Facebook given your target audience is almost certain to be on there too, it’s easy to waste time and energy, and potentially money, if your approach lacks focus. On the flipside, do it right and Facebook can really drive the growth of your business, often at little to no cost.

Creating a page

The first thing to do is to create a Facebook business page for your coffee shop. A business page has the same look and feel as a personal page but offers extra functionality including ecommerce and data analytics to help you achieve your business goals.  

When you’re setting up your page, Facebook will take you through the different steps including the name and the category for your business page (e.g. café), your profile and cover photos, and prompt you to add key information including your website URL, contact details, and a business description. Nothing out of the ordinary. You’ll also be able to tweak the page settings and showcase specific products, events and offers should you wish.

Although much of this is the core information about your business, veer away from being overly corporate and buttoned up. Make sure the language and pictures you use are friendly, fun and accessible. Social media has radically altered how we expect businesses to behave so don’t be scared to add a bit of personality – even eccentricity – to your brand. After all, you want to stand out and make an impression.     

Growing your followers

In recent years it has become harder to grow your Facebook followers and your business’s reach organically. But you can still definitely get things moving in the right direction without paying a penny.

Post content regularly

It goes without saying that to start building a following you’re going to need to be visible. Try to post a couple of times a day. If you’re still getting ready to launch, a good idea is to post behind the scenes updates – how about some pictures of you readying the premises or working on your menu?

Invite your friends to like your page

You’re going to need all the support you can get so don’t be shy about doing a mass invite of all your friends. If they start interacting with your page, it could lead to their friends seeing your business on their own Facebook feeds, a ripple effect of sorts.

Interact with other pages

Don’t just focus on yourself, interact with other local businesses in your area and engage with your partners and suppliers. Think about ways you can potentially tap into followers of their pages – could you collaborate in return for some promotional posts?  

Make sure your icons are prominent

This is pretty much a given these days, but don’t forget to include your follow and social sharing buttons across your blog, website, email signature and your printed materials. You might even want include a feed from your Facebook page on your website, so visitors can see all your activity. It’s all part of embedding it into everything you do.  

Creating content

When you’re already time-pressed, you don’t want to be spending too much time wondering what to post. Having some kind of content schedule will therefore make your life easier and give your page much-needed consistency and focus. Also, due to the mechanics of Facebook’s algorithm, posting too much or too little can negatively impact whether future posts are seen.

Before you get into the detail of what to post, get curious about your audience. Delve into the analytics of your followers. Who are they? How old are they? What are their interests? What times are they on Facebook? And don’t be afraid to actually fire up a conversation. Post a question. What’s your favourite cake? What’s your favourite coffee accompaniment? Who do they want to win the Great British Bake Off? People love to offer their opinion so give them the opportunity to talk about themselves. Harness the social power of social media so you can build a picture of your audience and then create content that will resonate.

Once you have those insights everything should fall into place much easier. Here’s a very top level example of what types of content you could be posting across a typical week, one post per day.

WEEK ONE
MONDAY Old blog post
TUESDAY Question / Conversation starter
WEDNESDAY Promotional / Offer
THURSDAY Live video / Video
FRIDAY New blog post
SATURDAY Share someone else’s content
SUNDAY Behind the scenes photo

Advertising on Facebook

It has become much harder to grow your business page organically in the last few years. At every juncture, Facebook will encourage you to invest money in order to get your page and your posts seen by more people. Whilst this might seem frustrating, highly targeted Facebook ads or boosted posts can offer a decent return on investment. The benefits of this approach as opposed to other forms of advertising are that you can get very specific who you target and how you target them.

First of all, who are you targeting? You might just want to reach the people who already follow your page. This is an audience who you already have traction with but you just want to ensure they are seeing your posts – e.g. to let them know you have a special breakfast offer. Alternatively, if you want to reach a new audience, Facebook has a wealth of social and demographic data that you can tap into to specify who sees your ads. In that case, think about the age, gender and interests of your target audience – perhaps you’re pitching at young millennial freelancers or maybe you’re going after families with young children?     

Once ready, there are a number of different types of Facebook ad options. These serve a variety of purposes. If your aim is to drive traffic to your website, link click ads work well. If you want to showcase some seasonal items, multi-product carousel ads work well. If you want to build your mailing list, lead ads work well. If you want to promote an upcoming in-store promotion, event ads work well. Clearly, tying in some kind of customer incentive into your advert will make it all the more compelling.

As with any advertising activity, the key to success is to test and optimise your advertisements. Test different creatives, test different audience segments, test different ad types. Test them against each other and see which ones deliver the results you want. The more you do it the more you’ll refine your activity to know what works and ultimately bring down your advertising costs.

Conclusions

Whilst it might seem a lot of effort to fit Facebook into your already busy work schedule, if you put down these foundations, it will ultimately reduce the time you spend in the long term. But, most importantly, it will make sure that the time you do spend is spent doing the right things. Doing the things that will ultimately grow your business.   


By Ella Hendrix

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