Facebook Reportedly Giving Small Business $10M in Free Ads

Facebook and Google to continue competition for small business ad dollars

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Facebook Reportedly Giving Small Business $10M in Free Ads
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As businesses anxiously await the launch of business profiles on Google+, Facebook is reminding small businesses of the power of its social media dominance (it’s up to 800 million users now).

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook has teamed up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business to launch a program that includes giving away $10 million in advertising credits to small businesses. The publication reports:

The new program will officially kick off next month with a cross-country road show in coordination with state and local chambers of commerce and regional NFIB offices. At locations still to be determined, Facebook officials and members of the two business groups will meet with local businesses to discuss best practices for marketing to customers through Facebook.

Then in January, Facebook will begin giving away $50 per business in free advertising credits to as many as 200,000 small businesses. Such companies will be able to redeem the discount on a first-come, first-served basis when purchasing ads on the social-networking site, which can be targeted to specific users as a business sees fit.

Sheryl Sandberg recently did this video interview with USA Today talking about how Facebook creates jobs and how great Facebook is for small businesses.

“When you look at small businesses, there are probably fourteen to fifteen million active small businesses in the country, and we think over nine million of those are using Facebook to connect directly to consumers,” she said.

“One thing that makes Facebook easier for small businesses to use, is we’re not asking them to use a new product,” she added. “Most people who are attached to the web actually have a Facebook profile, and if you look at a page, which is what they tend to use to market their small business, it works pretty much the same way. So if you’re on Facebook and you’re posting something to your friends….they might post, ‘hey, we’re having a sale today.'”

Google, on the other hand, is asking people to use a new product. Recent estimates indicate that Google+ is up to around 43.4 million users so far. Last week, they announced a bunch of new features and opened it up to the public (as opposed to invite-only).

Google+ has a long, long way to go to achieve Facebook-like user numbers, but the fact that it’s tied (and will be tied even more) to other Google products businesses are already using is a key factor.

Facebook Reportedly Giving Small Business $10M in Free Ads
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  • http://www.ashevillebusinessblog.com Kevin A. Broccoli

    While there is no doubt that social media can be a great aid in spreading the word about small businesses, real solutions that make a profound difference in a business are often multi-faceted. I know that’s not what people want to hear. Simple answers that one can learn about in a few webinars are what people prefer. We all do. But I think that deep down we all know that to really ignite a business, we’re going to have to do more than that.

    Besides having Facebook help you get more eyeballs, what a business owner really needs are as follows:

    1) The right sales.

    For example, let’s say you own a construction company, and you gross $800,000 per year. You want to increase sales to, say, a million. But how will that affect your profit? You might think it’s simple math: if your profit off of $800,000 is 30% ($240,000) and if you increase your gross business income by $200,000, your increase in profit should 30% of $200,000 ($60,000). Your new total end-of-the-year profit should be about $300,000.

    If you’ve been in business a number of years, you’ve already seen that simple math doesn’t always work in the real world.

    Here’s why: What if your increase in income was all through framing jobs, but your profit off of framing jobs is only 18%? That changes things, doesn’t it? And what if you found, thorough a careful look at the numbers, that your profit off of kitchen and bath installations was 40%? You can see how close analysis of the various products or services you offer can give you a better idea of where you should be focusing your efforts.

    Or you might need to take a look at the markets you serve. What is the difference in profit per project for new construction jobs versus renovations? How about the difference in profit for constructions of apartment buildings and condominiums versus individual, custom-built homes?

    So is it just more sales you need? Perhaps by changing the type of jobs you work on you might be able to gross the same $800,000 (or even less) and yet squeeze out a higher profit than the $60,000 extra that you were striving for by increasing sales. Hey, who doesn’t like to make more money while working less? (As a side, notice that you’ll have to work more initially, in number-crunching and planning, but it will pay off for years to come.)

    There’s another thing you need more than sales…

    2) Customers who are willing to spend extra.

    Facebook and other forms of social media, and even conventional advertising, might get you more eyeballs, but these people are only mildly interested in you, because as far as they are concerned, you’re just as good (or as bad) as the next guy. And the next guy is on Facebook, too. So if that’s the case, then what are they often looking for? The cheaper deal. And, hey, maybe you can provide that, but is that what you really want? Trying to give cheaper and cheaper prices to compete against everyone else? That’s a race to the bottom and it often means working your tail off just to get by.

    Wouldn’t it be better if someone came to you saying, “I wanted to talk to you because so-and-so recommended you, and he said you’re the best.” This potential customer doesn’t expect the cheapest rate from you. He might even be prepared do pay a premium. Why? Because his friend said you’re worth it.

    How do you get those sort of recommendations? It isn’t by gimmicks like “recommend your neighbor and we’ll take 10% off your bill”. It’s by doing phenomenal, thorough, first-class work. Not work that is just as good as the other guy’s, but work that goes beyond what is expected in your industry. Do work like that and the recommendations will start to trickle in. Then do it again and again. In time the floodgates will open. You can’t get that from Facebook.

    What else do you need?

    3) Knowledge about your potential customers.

    As in, know them to the core. What concerns them? What do they wish they had? Can you give it to them?

    For instance, here in Asheville people are into healthy, local food. And, yes, we have Earth Fare and Greenlife. But tell me this: where are the health food convenience stores? Other than the small grocery/ convenience store Grove Corner Market ( www.thegrovecornermarket.com) (and they really get it), I haven’t seen to many small stores that offer healthy food. I know not everyone in my town is concerned about eating well, but I think convenience store owners underestimate how many Ashevilleans would pay a little extra to be able to get good quality food by just walking to the corner. The store owners would love to increase sales, but they don’t know their customers. If they did, they could profit more without necessarily having to increase the number of people walking through the door.

    So will Facebook help? Maybe, but there’s some deep digging to do if a business owner yearns for real profitability.

  • http://www.nfib.com Larry Manningham

    Now that’s what is typically referred to as a “carrot,” isn’t it. (Google’s carrot is also pretty yummy, namely being the aforementioned integration of Plus into its other services. That said, I don’t foresee folks making the wholesale switch, or even maintaining their G+ accounts much after signing up for them…)

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