Facebook lets you actually talk to people!
A comment made on my blog post about Facebook’s dominance which basically said… “Facebook is only for people who care about social media and media types” had me shaking my head.
He’s not alone in his opinion. Check out this recent study that looked at why many small firms don’t utilize it.
I am not suggesting that every single business on the planet needs to have a presence on Facebook, but especially for many small businesses — it can be a game changer. In fact, I think it’s much more potent for the little guys than it can be for the Cokes, Mini Coopers and Disneys of the world.
The human element. If I tweet Disney or post something on Coke‘s wall — I may or may not get a response but it’s certainly not going to be a very personal one. But if I write something on the Des Moines Playhouse’s page…a real person is going to give me a real response. And we might even get into a conversation. (see the screen capture to the right)
Isn’t that what we’re all hungry for — more conversations with customers or potential customers?
Here are some of the perks of Facebook for small businesses:
- Built for local and hyper local. It allows you to spend your time talking to people who can actually become customers or already are your customers.
- Supports and encourages word of mouth with the share and like buttons. Odds are most of your page’s fans have a high percentage of friends who are also local.
- It’s a great way to gather testimonials, get customer feedback/input and answer customer questions.
- With their hyper targeted ads, you can very cost effectively deliver your message to exactly and only the people who might care.
- Your audience shows up every day. Facebook is part of their social experience. What better place to connect with them?
- You can use Facebook’s different message vehicles — your business page, ads, events, groups etc. to share different types of news, events, tips etc.
- You can share your work in other media (TV spots, radio commercials, blog posts, enewsletters) to bring in your multimedia campaign elements.
Again…not going to say it’s for everyone. But I am hardpressed to think of a small business that wouldn’t benefit from a well strategied Facebook presence.
I’m curious — what small/local businesses do you think use Facebook well? I’d love to find some examples.
Hi Drew, nice post!
How are you finding the latest FB adjustments, I think the new share features, read it, watched it etc will help to boost WOM as you mention.
I would be curious on your opinion about G+ vs FB for SME, I have had several opinions for and against both. From my point of view I am interested to see what G+ comes out with for business pages and if there is enough of a difference, as I find G+ to be too similar to the FB experience at the moment.
I’m watching the new FB changes with interest. What I am most curious about is the subscribe versus friend aspect which people don’t seem to understand. I don’t think people really understand how that works or there would be more uproar.
As for G+ versus FB, the deal breaker is that if G+ starts indexing those conversations and using them in their search alga rhythm — then all bets are off and G+ wins. I agree — right now they’re like cousins. We’ll see if one of them really breaks from the pack.
My money is on G+ at this point. You?
I am also leaning towards G+, the latest updates from FB seem a bit like panic attempts to get something out to compete with G+, I personally feel they would have done better to really sit an look at how they can make FB more engaging, the read, watched, listened is good and has some long term benefits, but where I think G+ has come out fighting is with tools for people to be more socially engaged with communication, like hangouts. (which also have benefits for the business side of things)
Overall, completely agree with you on the search side of things, that is the long term winner, and one G+ has a massive head start with.
We’ll have to wait and see what FB/Bing brings.
Interesting points brought up, however how does this apply to a small business that has little to no local sales and is FB friends with people who are not in his demographics for sales marketing. Does this leave them going after the targeting Ads on FB only?
Well if all of your sales are scattered all over the country/world — then build your FB friends/fans by their common interest — which I assume centers around something you buy, right?
In some ways, that would be even easier. You still get all the benefits of being a small biz on FB but without the hassle of geography.
You have a very valid point about Facebook and the small fish. The small fish can create that personal connection via Facebook (or any other social media platform) that the big fish sometimes can’t. Do you have any suggestions for improving engagement for small businesses just getting started with Facebook?
On another note – I think Gusto Pizza Co. does a good job interacting with their customers on Facebook. Have you found any other good local examples?
I think it’s especially of value to service industries. You can position yourself as a very helpful expert pretty quickly.
Hi, I totally agree. Customer experience thru Facebook, and other social channels are the future. Our plumbing business has had a boost thru interaction with social marketing channels.