Facebook Focused On Upping Services For Small Businesses

Small-Businesses-ShutterstockSimplicity breeds adoption, especially when it comes to online advertising and marketing.

"In an ideal world complexity wouldn't exist; a product would be so simple every small business could use it," said Dan Levy, the social network's lead for small business, at the BIA/Kelsey interactive conference. "Until that day comes, we think there's a lot of third-party service providers that can help companies use Facebook with tools and services."

Levy said it's important for Facebook to understand what these companies provide, and how the social network can make it easier for small companies to connect with their customers. Levy also said Facebook will look into supporting third-party companies that offer services, extending its network beyond the preferred marketing developer program it offers today for large and small businesses. 

It all comes down to helping smaller companies create a Facebook page, with a lot of attention given to mobile, advertising and real-time location.

About one-third of the 100,000 small businesses that have published Offers are new Facebook advertisers, and  about 30% are claimed on mobile devices. Levy said about 2.5 million posts have been promoted since the product launched in June, and that 75% of daily Promoted Posts are purchased by repeat customers.

Facebook supports more than 13 million small and local business pages. Active Pages grew about 40% this year, and the number of Pages owners -- businesses self-identified as local -- who bought advertising nearly doubled. About 150 million people visit Pages daily, and nearly half of those visitors come from mobile, which now contributes 14% to Facebook's global revenue.

The recently launched Promoted Posts aims to provide a simplified way for businesses to reach consumers without using Facebook's more complex ad system. About 300,000 pages have used the solution to write a status update and prompt it. About one-quarter are new advertisers on the site.

The local-mobile model plays nicely into Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg's description of a recommendation engine for the social site. In the past, he has described the ultimate Facebook search engine as a cross between a recommendation and Q&A tool. "Friends ask friends for recommendations, so if you follow the theme we hear about listening to customers, there's clearly opportunities," Levy said.

"Small Businesses from Shutterstock"

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6 comments about "Facebook Focused On Upping Services For Small Businesses".
  1. William Beale from The Seeds of Abraham Spiritual Group , December 6, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.
    Am very proud of what facebook is doing, am hoping to launch a great career along with them.
  2. Virginia Suhr from Lobo & Petrocine , December 7, 2012 at 9:48 a.m.
    The first thing that Facebook needs to serve small businesses better is a phone number with a help line. Google and MSN have very good customer service reps who will patiently work with you to optimize your accounts. I would rather they charge a business a small service fee and have someone to call, then being directed to e-mail them and someone may or may not get back to you with an answer.
  3. Robert Pettee from DigitalMouth Advertising , December 8, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.
    @Virginia, Google only started offering SMBs help after it was wildly profitable and SEM had been around for long enough for SMB owners to think they understood what help they needed. Facebook is close to that point and they do already have true help lines - they're selective in who they give the numbers to but many small spenders do get some help options. It may not be long before they open that help up to all advertisers but SMBs still lack the knowledge necessary to be helped and most of them just want "help" doing things that make FB no money (creating a page, understanding how posts work, creating events, etc).
  4. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing , December 8, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.
    So the typical Facebook user only visits a Brand Page once every 6.7 days. Basically once a week, 54 times per year. THAT IS ALL!???? And we wonder why facebook was the biggest pump and dump stock scheme in history.
  5. Carri Bugbee from Big Deal Digital , December 8, 2012 at 8 p.m.
    If you spend any time working with Facebook and have any experience working with SMBs, you know that Facebook's concentration on SMBS is simply not serious. I've been saying for a long time that FB ought to concentrate on SMBs because small businesses really need the type of connections and opportunties FB could provide, whereas large businesses have plenty of other avenues for marketing. However, as Facebook's IPO loomed, it got further and further away from SMBs, to where it now ignores them altogether. The ad management platform is abysmal (and often broken) and there is ZERO support from FB unless you're spending a LOT of money — which SMBs will never do. At the rate FB is going (i.e., backwards) with regards to SMBs, the platform has got a LONG haul ahead of it. FB personnel seem utterly clueless about what it would take to educate and help SMBs be successful. Moreover, the pace of iteration at FB virtually assures that SMBs will fall further behind on FB best practices. Small business owners don't have time to figure out what's changed on FB this week and every week. They're busy running their businesses. FB would have to start functioning like a traditional business and announce all changes WELL in advance and provide a lot of communications around those changes. That's not in Facebook's DNA. Don't believe the Facebook spin. The company bet big on attracting ad dollars from big brands (to the exclusion of all else) and has made no effort to change that.
  6. Teresa Boze from Concept Connections NW , December 10, 2012 at 1:36 a.m.
    RE: Carri Bugbee's comment> So basically, FaceBook has assured a digital divide in business, creating a "class ceiling" on business growth?