Facebook Upgrades Small Business Site

Small businesses account for much of the bread-and-butter advertising on Facebook. To keep them happy, Facebook on Tuesday unveiled a revamped version of its site for small and medium-sized business (SMB) featuring additional tools, tips and tutorials.

eMarketer estimates Facebook gets about 60% of its revenue from Marketplace ads.

Updated content on the Facebook For Business site, which functions as the small business equivalent to Facebook Studio for larger brands and agencies, also includes the latest information on product launches, advertiser best practices, and success stories.

The international rollout of the site will take place over the next few weeks as it is translated into 10 languages. 

While Facebook has ramped up efforts to attract major brand advertisers, eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson says SMBs are crucial to the social network’s success.

“These businesses are prime customers for Facebook's Marketplace ads -- the ads that run down the right side of most Facebook pages,” she said. “By giving small businesses advice and tools to improve their Facebook marketing, Facebook stands to gain more ad revenue from this very important business segment.”

Among other initiatives, Facebook last September partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business to launch a program that included giving away $10 million in advertising credits to small businesses. An estimated 9.2 million small businesses had Facebook pages at that time.

A survey of 100,000 small retail businesses on Facebook by social commerce platform Payvment released in March found that more than a third had used Facebook ads, making it the most common tactic to drive business beyond general Facebook marketing, such as promotions and deals on their wall.

But so-called F-Commerce has failed to get much traction to date. Separate data from IBM this week shows only 1.9% of all online sales in the second quarter could be traced to social media, down from 2.4% in the first quarter.

The company offered these tips for small businesses:

*Mix up the content on your Page with photos and videos. Facebook research shows that photos and videos are also more likely to be shared, commented on, and liked.

*Fill out your business hours on your Page. When you do this, people can more easily see when you're open (there's a green dot on your Page when you're open).

*Ensure you know people are coming to your business because they found you on Facebook: whisper codes, unique Facebook links to your site, friend referrals, exclusive Facebook discounts. Also, put your Facebook URL on more of your in-store materials -- receipts, napkins, brochures, etc., to increase fanning of your Page.

Facebook also noted that the facebook.com/marketing page will remain the social media hub for SMBs and include content from the refreshed Facebook for Business site.

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