New York Times: How to Market Your Small Business with Facebook
This article in the New York Times Small Business section provides anecdotes of small business owners who rely on Facebook as a critical selling and relationship management tool. Business owners are using it to find new customers, build a base of followers, and hone in on targeted prospects. With forthcoming advancements in digital communications technologies, like geolocation for Twitter, it will be even easier for mom-and-pop shops to take advantage of social media tools. Highlights from the New York Times article include:
For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do. There are now 1.4 million Facebook Pages and they collect more than 10 million fans every day, according to the site.
Businesses can easily create a Web presence with Facebook, even if they don’t have their own Web site (most companies still should maintain a Web site to reach people who don’t use Facebook or whose employers block access to the site). Businesses can claim a vanity address so that their Facebook address reflects the business name, like www.facebook.com/Starbucks. Facebook pages can link to the company’s Web site or direct sales to e-commerce sites like Ticketmaster or Amazon.
Facebook enables small businesses to engage in targeted marketing that they only could have dreamed about a few years ago. Facebook users fill out profiles with information like hometown, employer, religious beliefs, interests, education and favorite books, movies and TV shows — all of which can help advertisers deliver messages to specific demographic slices.