Is Facebook Right for Small Businesses?
Some believe advertising and promoting goods ad services through social media is a waste of time and money, however, small businesses that opt out of all activities on Facebook may be missing out on valuable opportunities. Facebook has a tireless commitment to business owners, making the network a worthwhile and trustworthy advertising partner. The social networking site also has several components that cannot be replicated on any other medium. Business professionals continue to debate the usefulness of social media to small businesses, but I believe Facebook is a truly unique and valuable tool that companies should strongly consider.
Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook vows that the site will not stop until all small businesses are using the site to grow their business. As seen in the figure below, numerous small businesses are already using the site, greatly beating out other social media competitors. Sandberg believes small businesses actually have an advantage over large corporations, because unlike those companies, mom and pop shops can create a profile and use many of the site’s tools for free. Users can upload photos, news items, and even coupons to their wall without costing the business owner a cent. Small businesses too busy to constantly be updating and reposting? Don’t worry! Facebook thought of a solution for that. Users can schedule posts to be published on a later date, leaving the individual more time to focus on other tasks. Companies also have the option of installing an app on the page for free, which is a great way to further engage with the businesses’ current and prospective consumer base. Meanwhile, the user can do all of this right from their smartphone at home, at the gym, or even while walking the dog!
The social media site is unique in the way Facebook is able to engage the consumeras well turn information and news into a viral like campaign. Unlike any other kind of advertising tool, the site allows companies to have a conversation with their consumers. People can leave comments, share ideas, or even just ask a question on the business’s wall. Then, the owner can almost immediately reply from wherever Facebook is available, whether that be on a computer, smart phone, or tablet. Companies can also engage their audience by posting fun trivia questions, games, or posting polls on what people’s favorite dessert is. The more people interact with the page or share their experiences with the company’s wall, the more likely friends will see the page and do the same; thus creating a chain reaction which has the potential to reach thousands. Businesses cannot achieve this level of marketing through traditional online or newspaper ads, making the site a worthwhile marketing tool.
With Facebook’s promising outlook on working with small businesses, all the free features, and a new, exciting way to reach audiences, small businesses would only be hindering their own success by not using the site. Companies need to get involved with social media to help build stronger relationships with their consumers as well as help seek out and capture new consumers. By being an active member on social media, companies will quickly begin reaping the benefits of the Facebook phenomenon.