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    39 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2009 3:35 PM by drivetraffic

    Facebook for small business?

    batchblue Wayfarer
      Hello everyone-

      Facebook, the social networking site that has been a bit of a media darling as of late, has just begun to allow businesses to post pages within Facebook. In a nutshell, this means you can create an online site for your business, get people to sign up as "fans" of your business, and generate free publicity and even target ads to folks using Facebook's platform.

      I'm thinking about writing a blog post about how small businesses can use Facebook and how to set up a page using the application (it's not all that intuitive), but wanted to get a sense of if small business owners would find this useful? Is anyone using Facebook now? Does it seem like it could be an effective part of a low-cost marketing strategy or is it still too new to tell...?

      Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments!

      ~BatchBlue

       

        • Re: Facebook for small business?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Batchblue, Sounds like a great idea. GO FOR IT. How useful to the small business owners would depend
          on how it created. Can't wait to see the blog.
          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Facebook for small business?
            agcilantro Newbie
            I would be interested in your post or blog. I am looking into ways to build brand awareness through online social networking and other avenues, and would definately like to benefit from your expertise in Facebook.
            • Re: Facebook for small business?
              CorpCons08 Ranger
              I had signed up for a page when it first started allowing business pages. I haven't found it to be very beneficial, but I am curious to see what you find out.
              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                Lighthouse24 Ranger
                I'm purely business-to-business, so not much interest here -- but it sounds like an intriguing alternative for firms with products or services targeted to a Facebook-type demographic. Worth looking into, I think.
                • Re: Facebook for small business?
                  Dwaz39 Wayfarer

                  I think there is a market for that, since most Facebookers are college students. I am sure many of them have ideas for businesses but are either to fearful spending alot on development and then failing, or just lacking the funds to develop the business. If they are able to get their idea out through facebook to potential customers for little or no cost, it could be a great market research for them and help them build confidence in their product/idea. I agree with some other posts that the demographic is small, but there is a definite potential there I think. I haven't followed this a ton, but isn't MySpace going to be doing something like this soon?

                  I am actually on Facebook and a recent college grad with an idea or two for web based business sites and would be interested in hearing how all of this facebook stuff works. I really only have facebook because someone else set it up for me and haven't been on it in probably six months. You can e-mail me at mailto:d_waszak_39@yahoo.com if you want to talk about this.

                  Dan
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Facebook for small business?
                      CorpCons08 Ranger
                      Hi Dan,

                      I recently just initiated a promotional with the "fans" of my company on Facebook. In order to help college graduates or current students with ideas, we are providing several free services to help them identify the potential in their ideas and see the path they would have to follow to make it a success. We have had a few hits, not many yet, but I will follow up with everyone to let them know how it works out. I feel that there are a lot of good ideas out there that never take off because nobody takes the time to help them to see the potential.

                      Regards,
                      CorpCons08
                    • Re: Facebook for small business?
                      Buffalo Adventurer
                      My wife has a Facebook page for our business. You can type in "Buffalo Graphix" to see it. She belongs to a couple of networking groups and wants to use Facebook as a means of staying in touch with members of the groups. Each member would have a page and when there was something new going on with them all the other members would find out about it...sales, new services or new equipment...whatever. So it's more of a way of communicating with a select group rather than trying to reach all Facebook users.
                      I think it's a great way to network with other business people and ya can't beat the price either!
                      • Re: Facebook for small business?
                        CorpCons08 Ranger
                        MySpace seems to be great for networking...
                        I have received some hits from it.
                        • Re: Facebook for small business?
                          BarryHurd Wayfarer
                          I run a company ~ SocialMediaSystems which focuses on leveraging social media sites like Facebook.

                          It is an extremely high-impact area and cost effective depending on the demographic you are shooting for. For almost any demographic there is a growing community or niche- for instance Intuit has a JumpUp.com community, Real Estate has RealTownBlogs.com and ActiveRain.com. Myspace has a few decent groups and active communities in it.

                          Each community is controlled by different user standards, as is this one here. Some allow quick and easy access in advertising and some require a more social approach. Depending on the way the site is setup, there is even value in search engine marketing based on the profiles and the articles in them.

                          Rather than focus on Facebook, you may want to look into having a developer assist you with the new opensocial movement launched by Google a few weeks ago that ties into several dozen social networking sites.
                            • Re: Facebook for small business?
                              CorpCons08 Ranger
                              I too would like to thank you for your response Barry. I will review Google to see exactly what they are offering.
                              Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving.
                                • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                  BarryHurd Wayfarer
                                  You are welcome. The Google page for opensocial is http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/

                                  One of our own developers did a video on it a few weeks ago
                                  http://socialmediasystems.com/11/02/googles-new-open-social-api-will-transform-the-web-sooner-then-you-think/
                                  It is a very hot and debated project right now in the social media realm, every high profile blogger and company looking at working with social media is trying to figure out how to leverage that huge network of sites: including- Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves,
                                  imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.
                                  Unlike Facebook, some of the sites involved in opensocial are very professional oriented destinations.

                                  I also wouldn't recommend that anyone assume Facebook's or Myspace's audience are just young college kids, sure there may be a large percentage of users on those sites that are, but even a 1% user group on Facebook equals 500,000 users. According to Facebook stats "Over 55,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks
                                  " are also represented.
                                    • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                      CorpCons08 Ranger

                                      I would have to disagree with you Barry. I have met quite a few clients through MySpace classifieds and they are in their early to late 30s and already doing business for a number of years. I agree with you about Facebook. I have gotten no business out of Facebook as it is mostly college kids looking to play games with their friends.
                                        • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                          BarryHurd Wayfarer
                                          CorpCons08, I think you are agreeing with me from your statement and just misread what I wrote. I've met hundreds of clients and professional contacts through Myspace too.

                                          Both Myspace and Facebook can generate a huge amount of clients depending on your business target.

                                          If you are marketing on either and not generating clients or leads, it isn't because they are not there on those networks. You just have a marketing and promotion message that isn't reaching them and probably needs to be a little more out-of-the-box. Both of those networks are so huge that almost any niche category of prospect is represented.

                                          Linkedin is also another network that has a slightly higher professional representation of businesses, but it is harder to penetrate from a marketing perspective. You can also take a look at sites like MyBlogLog and Digg which have unusual clusters of demographics.
                                        • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                          print28 Adventurer
                                          W e just joined his community today~ We own a Printing and Promotional Company, where I am the sales/marketing consultant! I have read so much about the MySpace, and to a certain extense, we want to advertise our business, where other companies will let us quote them on a job, and then they can realize that they are paying too much for the services rendered! If anyone has any advice on where to get started with the internet, if you can find the time to help us out! My husband definately belives in cold calling, cold calling, but I do get tired of hearing, "I just ordered business cards, and flyers", this is what we are trying to get out in our area, and when there is experience, then that means much, much, more! Thank you for your time!
                                          • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                            studio 525 Adventurer
                                            I've been using Facebook as a Social Network for family and friends. It's great for that. I'm in the marketing business and to be honest I haven't seen that much value for businesses yet. I think the fan thing could work out well. But it takes a while to build up a large base. I get a great deal of business value from forums like this one, very effective. Also LinkedIn has been great for business. Twitter, not so much yet. It's easy to get a lot of followers on Twitter, but the text limit is limiting as a marketing medium. The value of the web is you can give a lot of very useful, valuable, targeted information to your prospects. You can show them that you are the one to go to to solve their problems. That's very effective. If you can reach thousands of highly targeted people with that information, that's good. If the information is so compelling that a very high percentage of those people go to your website, even better. If your website is a converting monster, you've got a winning combination.

                                            I used to be on the agency side as a copywriter and creative director. A lot of my work was creating television commercials. That was the high profile stuff. Everyone wanted to be there. Later I left and started my own production house and directed the commercials. It was a huge amount of fun. But I have to admit, for all the cost of those television spots and their high entertainment value, they weren't nearly as effective as a half-way decent website when it comes to moving product. This is a marketing gold mine. And now we marketers can be held accountable for the results of what do. If sales don't increase dramatically, they know exactly who to blame and exactly why it's not working. Ad agency presentations used to be nothing more than a glamorous dog and pony show. It was all entertaining fluff dressed up with focus groups and demographic studies.

                                            Now you can look at a Google analytics report and tell exactly what's happening. Plus we're finally talking with our customers instead of AT them. It's a better world. Maybe not as much fun as it used to be. But a whole lot more effective. I'm ok with the trade off. I can't lie, I miss the million dollar budgets. But I love it when things really work.

                                            And this does.

                                            If anyone has any stories of Facebook working as well as some of the other Social Marketing strategies, I'm all ears.

                                            Peter

                                            Peter Cutler
                                            Principal/Creative Director
                                            studio 525
                                            http://www.studio525.com

                                            We don't just create websites.
                                            We create results.

                                             

                                              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                Carlitos11 Newbie
                                                I agree that social networking isn't really for business.

                                                Does anyone have some data that shows conversions and traffic increases from your Facebook Company Page? If so name out what industry you're in, etc...

                                                Thanks
                                                  • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                    studio 525 Adventurer
                                                    Hi Calitos,
                                                    Social Networking is definitely for business. And BIG TIME. In fact, it will soon be the primary way businesses market. But your question is right on. Conversions, especially hard conversions, are key.

                                                    Our website is averaging 4% hard conversions (new jobs / new clients) and 18% soft conversions (email sign-ups, Special Report downloads, requests for free website analysis, etc. that lead to sales). We're in the web marketing business, so it should convert that well. If we can't do it for ourselves, how can we expect prospects to believe we can do it for their websites?

                                                    That said, we get almost nothing from Facebook and Twitter. Most of our traffic comes from targeted and well-written posts on Social Business Forums like this one and well-written articles. This is what we've seen is effective, results-oriented Social Marketing.

                                                    The principal is quite simple. Go where your prospects are. Give valuable, useful information that your prospects really need. Put the needs of your prospects and clients first. Add a link to your website. It always seems to work. Post a good article or response to someone's question that relates to what you do. Then highly targeted traffic increases dramatically. Use Google Analytics to see which posts or articles get the highest traffic and highest hard conversions (most important) and adjust accordingly.

                                                    This is the recipe that works for us and our clients. We also use both organic search and Pay-Per-Click. But the Social Marketing that I describe above has consistently been the most effective.

                                                    Of course it pays to be a really good writer who knows how to sell (and knows how different it is selling via Social Media - think consultative, not traditional). But you can always hire one of those. We're available :)

                                                    Peter

                                                    Peter Cutler
                                                    Principal/Creative Director
                                                    Studio 525
                                                    http://www.studio525.com

                                                    We don't just create websites.
                                                    We create results.

                                          • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                            print28 Adventurer
                                            We own a small Printing and Promotional Products Company, and I have just joined this community. I have inquired about alot of other anvenus, and it seems like the MySpace and Facebook, come up more than any! I always thought that the MySpace and FaceBook were only about personal lives other than Small Business trying to get the word out about their Company! I would love to learn more about having to reach out to others, all over, and to let them know what services that we offer, not only just Business Cards, but so many other products and services!
                                            • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                              grantsforce Adventurer
                                              After reviewing this thread, I setup an account on Facebook - I was surprised to find two of my major client contacts with accounts already setup for their personal purposes. It has given me a way to connect on a personal level. It has definitely improved my relationship with them - I do not expect any direct leads or sales but it is definitely giving my existing business in a positive twist.
                                              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                elpelp Newbie
                                                I think it sounds interesting. Here's another website that has good educational content for small business owners and employess. It has posted some good articles so far. http://www.bizscoops.com
                                                  • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                    print28 Adventurer
                                                    Thank you for the input! I must have misunderstood the MySpace and FaceBook! I always thought that this was just for social networking, which I know that you do need this in your business, but I thought that it was only for the social prospects. I would love to hear more about the other networking communities out there! I have been told by FreeWebs and others that they could help me on the online communities, but they never get back with me! I guess that goes to show, keep going after something, and you do find, some where down the road, others can help you also! Thanks for the advice!
                                                  • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                    HandyHerman Adventurer
                                                    BatchBlue,

                                                    Our company has created a web site for small businesses to freely advertise their businesses. The site is www.handyherman.com. Our site allows you to build a personalized
                                                    business profile for your company in a matter of minutes which can then be
                                                    viewed by the world. Please take a few minutes
                                                    to check out our site, we know you will find our site to be a useful asset for
                                                    marketing your company to potential customers. You can view a sample profile at www.handyherman.com/handyherman
                                                      • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                        print28 Adventurer
                                                        Thank you so much for your input! I am new to all of this, I was in an area networking group, and I guess I did rely on them to much, and did not keep up with the internet world! I use the internet, and email everyday, but I was again, like I said, going at it in another direction! If you have anymore advice, please let me know!!! This company means the world to us, and to see it grow, would be the most wonderful thing! Thank you again!!!!!
                                                        • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                          print28 Adventurer
                                                          I am just amazed at your website ideas and your profile, you and I are on the same pages! I have in my mind, why can I not go and connect with the internet world, and make it happen! Again, I told you that my husband relies on cold calling, but I do tell him that I cannot make these people buy from us! I do get a good response, but so far, all that has gotten us, is enough to bring in at least 2 big companies, and some small ones here and there! I have got to reach out to the world, and let them know, that we have the experience, the high quality, and the competitive prices, plus the personal service! Where to you go from there? I have so many ideas, and we are definately willing and have been thinking out side the box, especially with our racing promotional ideas! If you have the time, could you look at this, and say this lady is crazy, or she has some great ideas? I just want our business to grow, and so does everyone else out there, but I think we can offer so much more, and I feel like, what you said in your profile, if you have and idea and a feeling, let it go and you do not know what can happen after that! I am getting ready to go onto your website, and I hope that I can find, and hope that you do not say, she does not know what she is talking about! Everything happens for a reason, and for some reason, I googled this site, and I feel like I have met people just like me, that has ideas and dreams! Thank you for your time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                        • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                          print28 Adventurer
                                                          I would like to know more about what your ideas are! I have a million ideas swarming in my head, and on paper for our Printing and Promotional business, but I am either not understanding how and when to get these ideas out, or I am not sure how to start! I guess from going out into 3 counties and cold calling, and last year belonging to a huge, but expensive networking group in the area, I guess I relied to much on that, and that took away the focus of what could be big for us, as far as doing the blogs, and so on! I just would like someone, if they had the time, to help me, get focused on a way that everyone, all over the United States could see what we offer, and look at what we offer. I do not ask for someone to buy, I would just like to introduce myself, and then if they would like a quote that would be great! I am on the same page as you are, I want to work outside the box too, just like us coming up with the Racing Promotional products for drivers and tracks, so far, there are none in our area, I know up north there are several, but not around in North Carolina! What do you think? If you do have the time, or anyone else, please let me know! Thank you so much!!!!!!!
                                                          • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                            moms07 Newbie
                                                            This is a great idea and will soon be the future of all advertising forums...YES FACEBOOK. Microsoft bought 5% for 200 Million and valued it at 10 Billion. I have been trying to work with these pages but for the stuff i would like to put on it, it is to difficult for the regular business owner to put together. Is any one or does anyone know somebody who has already worked on these pages and is willing to work with my company?
                                                              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                print28 Adventurer
                                                                To Moms07, Is the website called YesFacebook, I have not heard about that yet! I am in the same situation, I have the ideas for our printing and promotional products company, but do not know all of what I need to get the info out to everyone! What business are you in? I have not read your profile, and I will after I reply to your comment! Let me know what you find out, I am definately open to all options, how about you?
                                                              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                SirJulioG Newbie
                                                                Hi BatchBlue,

                                                                Sorry in advance if my question has already been answered by someone already previously. Although it sounds like a good idea to create a "Facebook" or "MySpace" page for you business to help "connect" you (your business) with you pool of clients, im sure there must be a flip side to the coin. What do you think or anyone in general would say could be a possible down side to such a venture? Would some potential clients be turned away? Would you create an image that is wrong for the business? I don't mean to come off negative because I'm all for trying new media's but i would just like to see what sort of feedback you all may have to share. Thank you all in advance for any ideas, comments or suggestions you may provide.
                                                                • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                  HandyHerman Adventurer

                                                                  Handyherman.com a site for small business to post a profile including a description, picture, map, reviews. This is like what you can do on facebook but Handyherman.com is soley for business to customer use. A business profile can be found by other business owers as well as customers by an easy to use search function. Check out an example profile at handyherman.com/whiteoakteas

                                                                   


                                                                  I made a business account for Handyherman on facebook but in line with other comments on this post, Facebook is a social networking site. A coffee shop or a night life website would prosper using facebook but not an advertising agency or a landscaping business because it does not appeal to college students. Please check out Handyherman.com and let me know what you think.
                                                                    • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                      print28 Adventurer
                                                                      Hello HandyHerman, I went onto your website, and posted a profile for our Business! I am so looking forward to hear what happens, since I posted our profile! You are very special to offer this to us, and we look forward to hearing what other people think , and we are hoping that customers will see us, as a need for their business! I wanted to let you know that we are very grateful, to let us do this, and we hope that you will approve the profile that we sent! Thank you again! Leona Morris- Mid-State Printing and Document Services
                                                                    • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                      AppleGraphics Adventurer
                                                                      I would be interested in reading the article you spoke of. I actually just set up a business account on Facebook myself, and they have recently added a decent amount of tools for the business user. That being said I do not expect to get a lot of hits from the site but one never knows what we work well and you can't beat the free publicity no matter how small.
                                                                      • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                        blitzlocal Adventurer
                                                                        We deliver over 100 million ads per day on Facebook. The demographic is college kids primarily, so whether you should advertise depends on what kind of business you run. If your business skews towards older folks, Facebook is not the place. True, Facebook does have SocialAds, where you can buy clicks just like with AdWords, except demographically targeted (select age, gender, interest). However, we've seen few folks get any volume.

                                                                        That said, you should still set up a page on Facebook anyway. It costs you nothing and takes 5 minutes. If you have a fair number of friends already on Facebook, invite them. If you are new to Facebook, then you'll have to pay for advertising--- again, cheap, but also likely to produce few new leads.

                                                                        If you sell a product or service that does appeal to the college crowd, then do create a page. Go to facebook.com/ads. Load it with lots of content, especially pictures and video. Then create some SocialAds and bid on a price-per-click basis. I recommend 10 cents a click. You should target on age and gender--- plus make sure you select the right geography--- US is the default, I think. You can target on profile attributes-- but remember those variables are usually related to music preferences, movies, and other media favorites. The fact that they may be a dentist or looking for a massage therapist or insert your business here might not be easy to determine based on their personal interests.

                                                                        The good news is that Facebook has 65 million users. The bad news is that they're mostly college. Folks will quote the number of users that are 30+ years old. While that number is large, their share of usage is actually low, since the average teenager consumes way more pages than a busy professional.

                                                                        Hope this helps. For those who might have more questions on Facebook advertising or PPC (price per click) in general, happy to provide free advice.

                                                                        Dennis
                                                                          • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                            blitzlocal Adventurer
                                                                            Myspace just launched their MyAds product. While not as sexy as Facebooks (which allows a finer level of targeting, such as by age--- so you can screen out kids), the pricing is cheap (bid a few cents per click) and the quality is almost as good as regular PPC. Anyone here have experience? We know folks who are spending over $10k a day. Only problem is that their interface is hard to use.

                                                                            Dennis
                                                                          • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                            intechspecial Ranger
                                                                            Think of it in this way:

                                                                            Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, and many others recieve MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of visitors EVERY single day.

                                                                             

                                                                            How much does it cost to be a part of this?

                                                                            $0.00

                                                                            Always great to borrow a websites traffic, especially if it doesn't cost a dime.
                                                                            • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                              Navigator
                                                                              Facebook is a wonderful way for small businesses to network and get their name out in their local town. The problem faced with many people is simply lack of action, and being out of the public eye. For small business owners, i would recommend connecting with your consumer base, and informing them of your services. Don't push it on them, simply level it out and give them some incentive. If they know you on a social standard, they're more comfortable with chosing you over a chain through attachment.
                                                                              • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                                KARLAAMAYA Adventurer
                                                                                Hi Everyone,

                                                                                I did see that and actually was thinking about setting up a page for my business. I would like to know more!!!!!

                                                                                 

                                                                                Karla

                                                                                www.yourpracticaladmin.com
                                                                                • Re: Facebook for small business?
                                                                                  drivetraffic Adventurer

                                                                                  Marketing through social media has come along way since this original post. It's definitely the way to go for small business. Now Facebook and MySpace offer inexpensive advertising for small businesses so you can get your message in front of a targeted demographic. MySpace seems to be doing a better job at it than Facebook right now, but I believe they'll catch up.

                                                                                  Now leveraging Twitter is what's hot! I believe all the social networks should be utilized if you have the time. If anything, having connections from these websites to yours at a minimum will improve your search engine ranking.

                                                                                  J.P. Marketing, LLC
                                                                                  http://www.drivetrafficforless.com