Facebook's New Slate of SMB Strategies

April 11, 2016 Peter Krasilovsky


Many SMBs are now using a Facebook page as a primary element of their digital presence, akin to a Website.  According to BIA/Kelsey,  57.4%  of U.S. SMBs use a Facebook page for marketing purposes.

A Facebook page makes a lot of sense for SMBs, given that so many of their customers are already on the platform.  But using Facebook effectively takes some skill and commitment.  

Leveraging Facebook takes more than just posting three times a  week and soliciting "likes" as a means for building a customer list.   It also means taking advantage of Facebook's social and technology capabilities to reach and engage customers. 

Along these lines, Facebook has organized a suite of  free and paid services that it has labelled “Calls to Action” (make it yours);  “Section” (drive your business); and ”Place Tips” (drive in-store business). The company’s ambition is to provide a mix of products for less than $30 a month – perhaps the cost of a single lead a day.  More than three million SMBs around the  world are now taking part in these Facebook advertising services. 

Calls to Action --Get Directions, Call Now  and Facebook Messaging – are an especially important part of the mix for targeting local customers. “Get Directions ” was Facebook’s first effort in matching consumers with local SMBs, launching in 2014.

The other two parts of the Calls to Action suite are specifically mobile-oriented. Messaging has quickly become the highest ranked call to action. It has become the preferred form of Business to Consumer communications on Facebook and its sister sites, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.  

The new “Section” and “Place Tips” products are specifically designed to target mobile customers.  Section includes dynamic local ads that can provide a customized ad based on location and device.   Place Tips is a new “close the loop” feature that enables SMBs to communicate with consumers in store. Each of the services provides some general analytics that allow SMBs to tailor future campaigns based on what is successful.

Clearly, Facebook is just beginning to take advantage of the new capabilities in social media and messaging  that it is leading. Other social sites such as Yelp, Twitter and Pinterest are also redefining how they can help SMBs uniquely target and engage customers.

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