Earlier this month, Roost put out a study finding that 15% of fans on the average small business Facebook Page are actually local to the town where the business is located. Naturally, that means 85% are not local, so if you’re a brick and mortar, the chances of them coming into your store anytime soon aren’t very good.
Of course all of these studies should be taken with a grain of salt, but if it’s anywhere in the ballpark of accurate, that’s not great news, though it does speak to the benefits of selling online.
That’s Facebook Pages though. Facebook advertising might bring you significantly more luck in attracting local customers, and better yet, local customers that are truly interested in what you have to offer.
Facebook has some really good targeting capabilities thanks to all of the data it is able to collect about users, which includes the their line of work, the things they’re interested in, and the things they "like". For local businesses, it helps that they can target to location as well.
Josh Constine at InsideFacebook reports that Facebook has made changes to its ad targeting tool, including the ability for advertisers (at least in the U.S.) to target specific zip codes through the self-serve tool, Ads Power Editor, and Ads API (which was just brought out of beta).
"Previously, advertisers could only geo-target ads to cities, states/provinces, and countries," he explains. "This will be beneficial for small and local businesses who can now target potential customers within walking distance. The option could attract the long tail of small businesses to Facebook Ads, driving revenue growth."
As long as you’re advertising your Page to those within walking distance, you might be able to capitalize on another recent update from Facebook. In May, the company started bringing Facebook Places functionality, including check-in deals to Facebook Pages that have street addresses. If you’re a brick and mortar, you ought to have one of those, and that means you can target special deals to those within walking distance with very specific interests.
Sell antique jewelry, you may be able to target the antique and jewelry enthusiasts that live near your store, and offer them enticing offers that could otherwise backfire if you offered them on a wider Groupon-style basis.
That’s something to think about.