This report explains how Facebook can be used effectively in the small business world. This report will answer the following questions: * Why should Facebook be used to reach new customers versus other forms of social media? * How does a small business owner create a small business Facebook profile? * How does a small business effectively reach customers and build relationships via Facebook?
The consulting firm of the Sam Houston State University Small Business Development Center commissioned this report at the request of Insurance. This report takes an in depth look at the use and benefits of Facebook for a small business. An agent at a small independently owned insurance agency wanted to determine whether the use of social media would be beneficial to their small business. Data for this report came from Business Source Complete, a business database provided by the Newton Gresham Library at Sam Houston State University.
This report discusses the benefits of using Facebook to reaching customers through the use of social media. It shows the small business owner the benefits to using Facebook as an avenue for marketing and advertisement. The research presented is divided into three sections: why should a small business use Facebook, how to “Facebook”, and reaching customers via Facebook. While choosing a social media for a small business there are many of things to consider, but the most important thing is to reach as many people as possible. As seen in the figure 1, Facebook is the clear leader of social media. Figure 1: Total time spent on all social-media sites.
Data Source: The Power of “Like” (2012) Not only is Facebook where people spend most of their time, but the site has 160 million visitors per month in the U. S. alone (Lipsman, Mudd, Rich, & Bruich, 2012). With such a high volume of people, Facebook is a clear choice for any business owner to spread the word about their product or service. Customers that use Facebook are 40 to 150 times more likely to buy something they see on their newsfeed (Lipsman et al. , 2012). The customers added to a small business’ Facebook page will see anything the small business posts.
The more they see the company’s “brand” the more likely they are to buy from the business when shopping around. According to Business. com, 55 percent of consumers use some sort of social media while shopping for a product or service (Giamanco & Gregoire, 2012). With over half of buyers searching social media when looking for a product, it would be fair to say that a small business could get a large portion of their market share from the use of social media. Another reason for using Facebook is that competition is already using the service and reaping the benefits.
According to The Power of “Like,” Advertising Age Top 100 advertisers all use Facebook (Lipsman et al. , 2012). The top 100 advertisers all using a particular social network successfully speaks volumes for the tool that Facebook is to all businesses that use it. “Social media selling has its risks, but sitting on the sideline is the greatest risk of all” (Giamanco & Gregoire, 2012, p. 90). A very important factor when running a small business is budgeting and cutting costs wherever possible. When a business posts on Facebook, it shows on fans’ newsfeeds and may also appear on the newsfeeds of their friends (Lipsman et al. 012). Every time a business posts on Facebook, it is free marketing and advertisement. How to Facebook Creating a Facebook for a small business is easy and time effective. While one can have a third party create their Facebook page, facebook. com has made it very simple even for the most inexperienced social media user (Lacho, & Marinello, 2010). First go to facebook. com. Under the green sign up button there is a hyperlink that reads “create a page”. After clicking the hyperlink, the following page will give you the option to choose what category fits you best.
Select the local business tab and start filling in your information. In a matter of a few steps you are well on your way to gaining new clientele through social media. Once you have created your page you can upload pictures, information, a mission statement, promotions, videos, etc (Lacho, & Marinello, 2010). After your page is live it is important to keep the information fresh. This does not mean you have to stay attached to your business’ Facebook page. Make sure that you log on at least once a week and post the current ads or promotions (Giamanco & Gregoire, 2012).
This insures that the small business Facebook stays fresh without taking up much time. How to Reach Customers Via Facebook As soon as a person logs on to Facebook the newsfeed is the first thing they see, making the newsfeed a quick and easy way to retrieve up-to-date information. Most Facebook users spend a majority of their time on the newsfeed instead of on individual pages (Lipsman et al. 2012). If the customers are spending a great deal of time on the newsfeed that means your business needs to be on the newsfeed. The only way to do so is to post; the more you post, the more you will be seen (Lipsman et al. 012). Although you want to be seen one has to be careful not to overdo the posts. Keep your fans informed without annoying them by bombarding their newsfeed (Lipsman et al. 2012). When coming up with content to post on your Facebook think about what the customer wants from you, the business. Your posts should include coupons, promotions, and incentives for new customer to buy your service (Ankeny & Kislack, 2011). If a business is not putting the information out there, the customer cannot be expected to know where and what to purchase.
Keeping your page’s followers connected is the key. Much like technology changes, business changes almost constantly. One way to stay on the cutting edge is to encourage feedback from your page followers (Ankeny & Kislack, 2011). When a business puts new incentives and promotions, it should ask followers how they feel about them. This feedback is free insight to what customers think and will help the business change or improve. Managing your relationships on Facebook is a large part of having success using social media.
The better you know your followers, the better you will be able to service them (Giamanco, & Gregoire, 2012). Not only do you to keep people informed, but keeping up to date with your clients is vital to building long lasting relationships (Giamanco, & Gregoire, 2012). Using Facebook or any form of social media in this manner will take time (Giamanco, & Gregoire, 2012). Add followers as often as you can by telling family and friends about your page. Eventually your small online community will grow into a valuable customer base.