Everyday more and more companies are registering a Facebook page for their business in the hope of driving more traffic to their website and increasing their online presence.
Is Facebook really worth it and why should I bother?
For most businesses, Facebook can have a lot of value. Often, Facebook gets looked at as a time wasting platform or a website for friends to connect. The truth is that Facebook is a valuable system for businesses that are looking to stamp their footprint online and engage with their customers directly. Facebook shouldn’t be ignored – with over 500 million subscribers sharing knowledge and connecting every single day, it is one of the most visited websites in the world.
Using social media marketing techniques are very important for any business who wants to engage with potential customers on the internet. More and more people are going to the web to find answers to questions about the products or services they are looking for, be it via Google or social networks. What a business should ask themselves is ‘where are my customers likely to be looking’ and ‘will there be an answer’.
Unlocking your business potential using Facebook
Creating an effective and well designed Facebook business page can provide you with many benefits, for example:
#1 – Drive traffic to your website through your Facebook page to generate leads
People who come across your Facebook page are more likely to then visit your website. Having a business page on Facebook will create more online exposure for your business.
#2 – Take advantage of Web 2.0 advertising to increase your brand awareness
Facebook as a social network has one of the largest web 2.0 populations and is mainly used for people to communicate with each other and share content (e.g. stories, photos and messages). By joining in this community and conversation you are placing your business in the best possible playground for global exposure.
#3 – Build a circle of trust and engage your customers with interactive applications, events, competitions and promotions
Ignite brand awareness and brand loyalty by engaging your customers. Regular promotions and activities which your customers can participate in will increase the amount of time they spend engaging with you, as well as increase your awareness across other social networks.
#4 – Take time to read your customer comments and understand what they are saying
Facebook is a real-time application and when customers leave comments you have the opportunity to respond to them instantly. Not only that, when you update your status, launch a marketing initiative or competition, you are able to read firsthand what your customers are thinking as well as being able to respond immediately. This shows your customers that there is a human behind the page.
#5 – Show your customers you are the experts
By sharing relevant news and content and showing that you know what you are talking about, customers will begin to trust your business. By using Facebook as a platform to share your expertise you will gain brand authority and be seen as industry experts.
#6 – Boost your chances of showing up in search engine results
Most search engines are now incorporating real-time social media posts in to their search results, which means sites like Facebook are becoming incredibly important for any search engine optimization strategy that a business is implementing.
#7 – Use Facebook Insights to understand your customers
Specifically created for business pages, Facebook Insights enables you to look at demographics for customers on your page and track valuable statistics.
It is important to remember that the Facebook community is dynamic and growing all the time. Using a social media consultant to devise a creative and powerful Facebook campaign can be extremely rewarding for your business.
When getting started, using Facebook can seem very daunting and it’s likely that you will need the support of a local web design and SEO company who specialize in social media marketing services. Specialists in this area will be able to help you with your Facebook marketing requirements. Don’t forget to use blogs and forums where possible as there will be lots of people who are happy to provide further support and talk about their own experiences and successes carrying out different internet marketing strategies.
Facebook has been the fastest growing social network for five years and in the near future will hit 1 billion users. If you don’t already have a company page set up, or have one but are not using it to leverage your online presence, you’re missing a very affordable marketing opportunity.
If you’re in the process of setting one up don’t rush to send out links to your potential customers. Give the design a few days and then revisit it. Often new things will occur that you can add to it. The last thing you want is to send out unfinished work to your potential customers.
Even though it doesn’t cost money to send out updates, it’s best not to consider it free to send. Remember it takes time for the people reading them. You don’t want them to associate your company with spam. You can use any monetary figure you want. I often use $100. The question I always ask myself before sending out a message/link is, “Is this worth spending $100 on?” This has often forced me to rethink it and make the message and stronger and more compelling for my recipients.
Another reason to keep your business active on Facebook is that Google, to a small degree, uses mentions of your company in Facebook as a factor in their ranking algorithm to determine your place in their search results.
Article Courtesy of Keith Lovgren, a paid search analyst, on behalf of AllStarMove.com.
Facebook has been a great tool for reaching consumers directly for many B2C brands. But can companies focused in the B2B industry use Facebook to enhance a reputation and grow new business? Absolutely.
Quite a few B2B companies are successfully using Facebook to build important relationships with prospects and customers. If your B2B company is still considering where Facebook might fit within an online marketing mix, here are five tips on building a Facebook fan page that will better support a B2B brand:
1. Create Two Way Conversation – Rather than using Facebook to simply push out news at the audience, spend time understanding the challenges potential customers face. Search online using keywords and monitor other social tools like Twitter to find out current concerns the target audience is facing. Be a resource to potential customers by providing content and insight that will help them alleviate the problems.
After establishing a relationship with fan page followers, encourage them to provide input on the content being shared. Ask questions of followers and use responses to create content that will keep them connected to the brand. eMarketer does a good job at this.
2. Connect a Community – Create opportunities for fans to come together and share positive experiences with each other. Oracle is an example that has built a page providing valuable professional content, news, and fans discuss or share directly on the page.
The best advocates are happy customers already engaged with a B2B company’s product or services. Highlight success stories on the page and let followers see the value provided to similar companies. Should there be a negative comment, which scares many B2B companies, address it with understanding and sincerity. In most cases, transparency and listening go a long way in stemming off negative feedback.
3. Build Relationships – Often times B2B involves a greater commitment than simple retail transactions. Sales cycles can be long and, as the old saying goes, you’re more likely to do business with someone you know. Facebook is a place to let you brand personality shine – let them see who you are. According to a survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate, customers are more likely to buy from companies they track via social media. By putting a face to a brand it is possible to position your brand as a resource that will be the first call for that follower when the time comes to make a purchase decision.
4. Cross Promote Content – Use Facebook as an outlet to share interesting content that’s been created elsewhere. B2B companies should consider re-purposing photos and video from promotional materials or industry events. SAP utilizes photos well and has a large number submitted by other users. Brands need to understand that not all contacts are fully engaged with every promotional effort. Don’t assume that if a message has been shared in one channel that it needs to be retired.
Connecting a blog feed to Facebook will increase the likelihood content will reach prospects through another social channel. By connecting and cross-promoting, a B2B blog will reach the walls of current fans and potentially new contacts if that information is shared.
5. Make it Shareable – Content that is interesting or fun will be shared more widely than a bland corporate statement. This applies to companies of any size or customer focus. Providing a list of copy-heavy pages is not going to help reach new targets because nobody is excited to share boring content.
Be creative and understand that humor, visual appeal, and brevity all increase your chances of having your content move through Facebook. Seeking a good example? Look at the creative holiday play from Cisco. A short video can convey a lot about a company and its culture. Companies that create content with sharing in mind are able to extend the reach of content significantly and build memorable connections for potential customers.
Facebook marketing for B2B companies isn’t limited to the mega corporations. At the core, it comes down to building meaningful relationships. If customer focused and creative, B2B companies can reap greater rewards from online marketing than many retails giants in the form of long-term customers.
Companies have long been aware that Facebook fan pages offer a way to interact with customers and inform them of the latest deals, offers and just the greatness of their product.
Up until recently, the smart money has been about getting a thumb up from people so that their friends can see that they like it or even get friends to tell other friends.
This has worked well for many companies, and a successful fan page allows them to target a message to people that have shown an interest.
Target marketing is the better to promote your product or service rather than just throwing it out into the open. Facebook has really helped with this and a great custom made fan page has been at the heart of many firm’s social media marketing strategy.
The rules of the game have changed though and Facebook now offers a new level of potential for interacting with customers and potential customers.
The introduction of iframes provides far greater possibilities for a firm on their custom fan page and if you aren’t already considering this innovation, you are probably being left behind by your rivals.
Social media marketing is about offering more to users and creating more points of interaction. There more elements where people can saw “wow” and want to show other people, the more chance of spreading the word about your company.
In the past, you would have had to bring people to your site to unleash the full sense of style and quality about your firm but iframes has changed all that.
It is now possible to host all the exciting elements and aspects of your website on your Facebook fan page. This means your message will be spread quicker, read quicker and interacted with quicker which in the long run means more.
More people viewing your site and more people with an understanding of what your core product, service or being is. If you want to take advantage of what more can do for you, it is essential you move with the times when it comes to custom Facebook fan pages.
There are many Facebook marketing tips which will skyrocket your success. It’s important to build your skills and expertise step by step. Start with the basics. Get good at them. And innovate only after you become a master of the basics.
The following Facebook marketing tips will help you get much better results with Facebook:
People go on Facebook to interact with friends and find new popular things to get or do. Ironically, they don’t want other people to be pushy with offers and so fourth, they tend to avoid getting stuff from those type of IM’s. Facebook members want to spend time browsing, learning and interacting but they want to do it on their terms.
A simple approach is to give out information, time, tips etc. People love to interact with people abundant enough to give value to others without expecting something in return. Even if you expect something from them, don’t act like you do.
Enjoy the process. Otherwise, you will get bored. And boring people don’t motivate. You should appear bigger than life.
Connect to new people who share your interests. Be careful not to spam people. Constantly grow your circle of friends with a few people each day.
Share what you know, cool links and information. This will help you create a community around yourself. Ask controversial questions and make bold statements. These things attract attraction pretty fast.
Adapt to what works. No one knows all the things that work on Facebook. This is why you have to experiment with new and exciting approaches.
Stand for something.
You need to have a point of view. And don’t diverge from your point of view based on the conversation you are having. Your point of view can evolve. And it shouldn’t change from minute to minute.
Most people don’t make the first move. So you need to be the hub of the party. Invite people to social events. Ask for their feedback. Get them involved in something bigger than you or them.
Ask your Facebook friends to do stuff for you. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter. Recommend products and more.
The above Facebook marketing tips are only the beginning. Go out there and make a splash. Implement the above tips. Get results.
If you’ve been reading our blog and other marketing blogs out there, hopefully you’re convinced that setting up a Facebook Page can be beneficial to your business. With Facebook now amassing over 750 million active users, it’s hard to deny that your prospects and current customers are using Facebook to connect with others and gather information to influence their purchasing decisions — probably about the very products and services you offer! And if you haven’t created a Page yet, what on earth are you waiting for?
But creating your business Page is only the first step. Nurturing a Facebook presence that actually provides business benefits takes some work. That’s why we’ve gathered the following 20 expert tips to help you take your Facebook marketing to the next level.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
1. Ask Questions
“It’s not enough to be broadcasting promotional messages — brands should make an effort at engaging with their audiences. Asking questions is a great way to kick off that two-way dialogue.” – Erica Swallow, Mashable
2. Don’t Over-Automate
“Don’t automatically feed your blog posts or your Twitter updates into your Page. Often, automated content doesn’t make it into users’ News Feeds.” – Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist, Intel
3. Don’t Make it All About You
“As a rough rule of thumb, post four status updates on items about outside news items or discoveries for every post promoting a product. And when you do mention a product or service, try to do so in a helpful way.” – JD Lasica, Socialmedia.biz
4. Leverage Testimonials & Feedback
“Use Facebook to engage directly with your customers and make them part of your marketing efforts… Ask customers to share their successes on your wall and get feedback on new product features.” – Leyl Master Black, managing director, Sparkpr
5. Be Human and Personable
“The most successful B2B pages often combine demonstrations of expertise with humor and personality, sounding more like a real conversation than stilted marketing and sales speak.” – Karlie Justus, Social Media B2B
6. Offer Variety
“Mix it up a little between videos, photos, questions, information, etc. Don’t have your own videos? YouTube is a treasure trove of ‘em, and sharing sites like Reddit and Digg are great sources to discover stuff people like.” – Linda Bustos, GetElastic
7. Be Active
“Don’t take it for granted that you have a page available. No matter how great you’ve made it, if you aren’t active, it defeats the whole purpose of having one.” – Orli Yakuel, TechCrunch
8. Post Engaging, Thought-Provoking Content
“Unless they’re interesting enough to draw comments, simple status updates aren’t going to move you into Top News feeds. Publish content that naturally encourages click-throughs or creates discussion.” Jim Lodico, Social Media Examiner
9. Make Requests
“Want your fans to express their views on a topic? Ask them. Want your fans to share their favorite content with you? Ask them. Want your fans to share your content? Ask them. You get the point.” – Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist, Intel
10. Address Negativity With Tact
“Should there be a negative comment, which scares many B2B companies, address it with understanding and sincerity. In most cases, transparency and listening go a long way in stemming off negative feedback.” – Dave Folkens, TopRank Online Marketing Blog
11. Keep it Fresh
“Update your group or fan page on a regular basis with helpful information and answers to questions.” – Debbie Hemley, Social Media Examiner
12. Be Consistent
“Nothing makes for a bad Facebook Group or Page than stagnant content. Like a corporate blog or dynamic website, you need to engage people regularly. Even if it’s just posting a new message board topic each week, do something on a regular basis (the more frequent the better) to elicit a response from folks.” – Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer
13. But Don’t Go Overboard
“One or two strong Facebook updates per day is better than a half dozen scattershot updates that fly by and don’t have the staying power to attract people’s feedback.” – JD Lasica, Socialmedia.biz
14. Encourage Action
“Don’t be afraid to ask users to share objects or click on the Like button—especially if you’re new to Facebook. It can take a little while for a Facebook page to gain momentum. Anything you can do to help it along will only speed the process.” Jim Lodico, Social Media Examiner
15. Promote Your Page Offline
“If your business is run from physical premises, put a placard on the front desk letting your customers know you’re on Facebook.” – Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner
16. Offer Contests and Giveaways
“Contests and giveaways should not require much effort on the part of your fans but should offer something real and valuable to them.” – Candis Hidalgo, content and social media marketing director, FaceItPages.com
17. Provide Incentives & Motivation
“If you want to get people to Like your Facebook page, and become more familiar with your products and services, a strong incentive can help achieve this.” – Graham Charlton, Econsultancy
18. Think Strategically About Timing
“Because you have just a short window of opportunity to gain traction with a Share (time decay factor), think carefully when planning frequency and content, and timing. Consider time zones – if you always post at the same time of day, Fans across the pond may never see your updates. Spread the love!” – Linda Bustos, GetElastic
19. Understand How Facebook Works
“Write for the newsfeed, not for your wall…Though some people will be led straight to your wall through a link or ad for example, your existing fans are going to see your update in their newsfeed…Remember that saying something like ‘check out our tab on the side’ is completely out of context for people seeing this update in their newsfeed.” – Lauren Fisher, The Next Web
20. Analyze Engagement
“Monitor which posts attract the most Likes and comments (eyeball), and use Insights – Facebook’s own analytics tool – for data. (Integrating your Facebook Page provides much better data).” – Linda Bustos, GetElastic
Have you ever wondered why your business Facebook page is sitting stale with not as many likes and comments you had wished for? Well, it could be your fans have not even seen the post you have made due to Facebook’s EdgeRank system.
What is EdgeRank you may ask? Well this is the unique algorithm that is used by Facebook which decides which posts should appear in the ‘Top News’ stream on your default page when you log into Facebook.
Facebook have a ‘top secret’ formula that enables a post to be positioned at the top of the ‘Top news’ results and this is something nobody outside of Facebook is privy to. However, from what we can tell this seems to be largely based on three main factors:
These are the factors that when combined give you the power to push content to the news feed’s ‘Top News’ page.
Audience engagement is important, so try to encourage as much as you can
The way EdgeRank works is weighted so activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher score that those activities that don’t. Rather than just focus on getting ‘Likes’, brands need to get people to comment on their content and share it too.
If it is fan participation you are looking for then the weapon here is give the fans something they can engage with. Social media is different to other marketing techniques as you are in an arena where you have to fight for the attention of people and you have to be the one that is giving them something other brands are not, in other words is the content you are offering worth the time of your audience. Remember social media is about having a relevant conversation. Don’t just post content, ask questions to get people to respond
If brands want increased fan participation they need to provide something that people want to engage with. With social media you are fighting for people’s hard earned attention – brands must offer content that is worth their audience’s time. As with all social media, it is about having relevant conversations – this is really improtant. You must ask questions and not just push out content and hope that people will respond. It has been proven that posts which include a clear and simple call to action achieve higher engagement levels.
So what do I need to do? The answer is simple. Make sure you post fun posts which encourage the engagement of your fans. This can be through product feedback or participation in a competition. It might just surprise you how interested your fans are in your page.
Personalize your brand on Facebook
It’s important to remember that, when it comes to EdgeRank, manual posts have more weight than posts automated through apps. More than this, your Facebook Page needs to be human and personalised. You must develop a relationship with your audience: be ready to thank them for their replies and for sharing their opinions with you.
Each social platform demands a bespoke tone of voice and content strategy – this is vital when it comes to engaging with your fans on Facebook. They can tell which posts are automated or those that have been written for Twitter (e.g. featuring hashtags) and which have been personalized – and for this reason auto posts do not produce as much engagement.
While efficiency is important in the social sphere if it comes at the cost of a decrease in engagement, it simply isn’t worth it. Show your fans you care enough to personalise each post and respond to their queries and opinions.
Stand out from the crowd with rich media
Facebook is a home of many social brands which means your brand message can get lost in a big sea of content. One way to ensure your content stands out from the crowd is to use videos and photos. This form of rich media content performs well on Facebook and is preferred by people too. Depending on the brand, it can sometimes be difficult to just post text updates as these may not be engaging enough to push your post into the ‘Top News’ feed. Videos and photos are more likely to grab people’s attention and they also seem to be a favoured by the News Feed algorithm, carrying a high weight score that will influence EdgeRank.
Use these videos to increase engagement. Don’t just push out this content, ask people what they think of the content and post it with a question. Getting people to comment will then add a highly weighted interaction score and build affinity with new users.
Following these three steps will ensure you maximise your Facebook EdgeRank.
Getting support with Facebook and Social Media Marketing
It is important to remember that the Facebook community is dynamic and growing all the time. Using a social media consultant to devise a creative and powerful Facebook campaign can be extremely rewarding for your business. When getting started, using Facebook can seem very daunting and it’s likely that you will need the support of a local Web Design and social media marketing company. Specialists in this area will be able to help you with your Facebook marketing requirements. Don’t forget to use blogs and forums where possible as there will be lots of people who are happy to provide further support and talk about their own experiences and successes carrying out different internet marketing strategies.
Article Source Ospace Solutions
Do you realize the ways that people acquire information have been changing significantly overtime? In the old days, they mainly obtained information from newspaper, radio and television. These sources, however, are quite limited because they only work well locally. Although these traditional media of communication are still being used, the internet world has quietly emerged as a new and more effective way of information flows.
With this, our way of communication changes from one-way to two-way. For example, the newspaper as a traditional communication tool provides news to the public only in one direction without a mechanism to collect feedbacks. In a two-way communication mode like through Facebook, people can acquire information as well as conveying their own comments at the same time. This can make a big difference in social impacts because it effectively facilitates exchanges and interactions among people and thus contributes to making information flows more globalized and influential in the real world.
This trend is kind of metamorphosis which allows companies to make good use of social media such as Facebook to promote themselves. Nonetheless, at the same time they also need to be sensitive to Facebook users’ preferences and behaviors in order to do a good marketing job through the Facebook platform. It must be recognized that nowadays people are not passive anymore by satisfying with just absorbing information as given, but they also prefer to be able to interact with other people or giving out their own views on the internet – reflecting perhaps a subtle way to achieve self-actualization.
A good example of this can be seen on Wikipedia which has become so popular due to active participation of readers in inputting their views and information. In other words, if your online marketing is not good enough, people can choose not to look at your page. Therefore, companies need to change their marketing mindset by fitting in well with Facebook users’ needs, rather than insisting on the traditional ways of marketing focusing on the hard-selling mentality. In short, “creativity” and “knowing well your potential customers” are crucial to successful Facebook marketing in this new era.
A recent study by University of Florida on undergraduate and graduate students is informative as it reveals the preferences of young people on Facebook. The results showed that most are okay with business page but feel annoyed by straight advertisements. With this observation, companies should put more effort on their Facebook page instead of spending a lot of money on advertisements.
Differences between Facebook marketing and traditional marketing
What are the main differences or characteristics of Facebook marketing as compared with traditional marketing? The answer is that the former is more focused on content sharing and creating a viral marketing effect. It is not that kind of face-to-face marketing anymore. Therefore, traditional ways of marketing would not be effective enough. By making good use of Facebook marketing techniques, your target customers base can be expected to grow much faster in this new world.
It is observed that Facebook users tend to enjoy content sharing. For example, they like to post their own recent photos or share information about the good restaurants they have tried. Since social networking works to connect people, giving good comments or recommendations by Facebook users to their friends on Facebook would be a more effective way to promote. Trustworthy recommendations tend to have stronger positive effect than normal advertising. This would further create a viral marketing effect as good messages are passed on from one person to another by word-of-mouth along a chain. Therefore, in order to become successful in Facebook marketing, companies should promote their products, services and brand-names by building trust among their target audiences on the Facebook network, and goodwill would then be created and spread out easily.
Ways to improve your page
There are many ways to make your Facebook pages more attractive and attention-catching. For instance, using Facebook applications to decorate and promote the pages among fans is a good way to make your pages unique. There are many ready-to-use applications available online like the ones created by WeBuzz. You can also design your own promotion strategies such as devising campaigns and organizing contests by using WeBuzz’s applications. These easy-to-use applications are useful and helpful even for those non-technical users.
Do you know that Facebook is second only to Google in terms of the traffic it gets? Facebook now ranks second for traffic generation among all the websites on the Internet. At this moment, here are over 500 million active users on Facebook, and the number is increasing every day that goes by. Isn’t that incredible?
You may not know this, but that number is higher than the population of most countries! As a matter of fact, there are only three countries that boast a higher population than the number of Facebook’s active members! Studies show that the number of Facebook users has increased by 25% over the last year alone in 47 countries.
Companies involved in online marketing, including Levi, Toyota and even the New York Times, have joined the bandwagon. You can find more and more major players with their own Facebook fan pages and Facebook company pages every day. These marketing professionals know that they reach an active and growing global market by setting themselves up on Facebook. If you want global exposure for your products and services, perhaps it’s time to consider putting up a Facebook fan page.
But now small, local businesses are also experiencing how powerful this new marketing strategy is. All types of small businesses from pizza parlors to dentist offices are establishing an online presence using Facebook as their primary marketing vehicle. By building a large local fan base, they have an instant audience for announcements such as specials, sales and the availability of new products.
Naturally, nobody involved in online marketing is going to let this opportunity pass. Facebook marketing is the biggest trend going in the Internet marketing community. Not only is there a huge reach, but Facebook offers specific target marketing because of their exceptional demographics positioning tools.
There are several key elements to make a Facebook presence work. First of all, you should design and construct a professional Facebook fan page or product page rather than use the standard Facebook profile you get when you initially sign up at Facebook. There are several reasons for doing this. You can keep your personal and family Facebook profile separate from your business profile, which ads professionalism to your image. There are also several marketing advantages to using a Facebook page rather than your own profile.
A very recent and exciting development is that you can include an IFrame in Facebook pages. An IFrame is a technical term used to describe a technology that allows you to display a page from any Internet location in your current page. This takes the limits off of what you can do on your Facebook page! You can have clickable links, display video and other types of media and you can even embed forms that let you gather information from the people who visit your page. You can even display your entire web site in your Facebook page if you want to!
The next area of attention is the Facebook business profile on your fan page or business page. You need a profile that helps you build credibility and confidence. Your goal is to build a large fan base for your business that will produce leads and profits over the long term. Your business profile is a key element people will use to form an opinion about you and your business. Pay particular attention to how you construct your business profile.
Because of the immense popularity of Facebook, it is just common sense for businesses to establish a presence there with a professionally designed page that takes full advantage of the new IFrame capability. Gone are the days of static pages in Facebook. With a built-in audience of over 500,000 active users, perhaps you should consider establishing a Facebook presence with a professionally designed and constructed Facebook fan page or business page.
Despite a plethora of social networks and location-based services being launched every other month, Facebook continues to be the #1 Marketing Tool for small businesses. These are the findings of a MerchantCircle survey which queried 8,000 small businesses about the adoption of various marketing products. The survey reports that as many as 70 percent small businesses use Facebook to promote their business – up from 50 percent a year ago.
It’s yet another indication of the how the world’s leading social network has come of age – many businesses say that Facebook now ranks ahead of Google, the leader in online advertising.
Facebook has always been popular amongst business users but it lacked the killer punch of an attractive location-based service. Facebook Places filled the gap and it’s no wonder that it’s sucking small businesses away from Foursquare, Gowalla and others.
Nearly 32 percent survey respondents said they’ve used Facebook Places. Overall, around 70 percent of those surveyed use Facebook.com for promotions. It’s no mean achievement to beat Google, which accounts for 66 percent share.
It’s understandable that most small businesses operate on a shoestring budget for their marketing campaigns. More than 50 percent of local merchants’ marketing budgets were less than $2,500 in 2010, and nearly every three in five businesses do not plan to increase those spends this year. While 26 percent of the survey respondents cite high costs as the major deterrent to online marketing, another 37 percent say they don’t have the time and resources to use social media as an online marketing tool.
When Facebook Places was launched, critics were quick to write it off as yet another location-based service. However, it has proved to be a master stroke for the world’s leading social network. Nearly 32 per cent of survey respondents are promoting their business through Facebook Places and an additional 12 per cent plan to use it in the coming months.
Though Foursquare is widely regarded as the world’s most popular location-based service, it leaves a lot to be desired for business users. In contrast, Facebook Places has been a blessing in disguise for the world’s leading social network and there are ominous signs that it will continue to rule the small to medium-size business segment for the next several years.
Facebook vs. Google
The survey confirms that search marketing is still #1 means to achieve overall effectiveness in online marketing. Nearly half of respondents (40 percent) said that Google helped them generate the biggest return on investment. IMO, it’s not an either/ or proposition between Facebook and Google. While the former brings the power of social media, the latter helps boost a small business through SEO and viral search.
The Groupon Threat
Groupon was all the rage amongst small businesses last year. However, a recent study indicates that Groupon promotions were unprofitable for 32 percent of the businesses surveyed and over 40 percent of those businesses indicated they would not run a comparable promotion again.
IMO, Groupon isn’t really a threat for Facebook. In fact, it’s unfair to compare the two as one is merely a deals and discounts service while the other is a full-fledged social media platform for businesses with several value-adds such as Facebook Places, Facebook Deals etc.
Do you use Facebook for online marketing? Do you consider it to be a better online marketing tool than Foursquare and Groupon? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.