Over the last several years, there has been a steady adoption of social media norms by businesses large and small, but in general, it’s the latter group that might be able to benefit most from using these sites. To that end, it seems that tens of millions of companies around the world have started Facebook pages for themselves, and that number is growing quickly.
Currently, about 40 million small business pages are on Facebook, up from 30 million less than a year ago, according to a report from Tech Crunch. However, only about 2 million of those companies are actively paying to advertise themselves on the site.
This latter fact may come as something of a surprise to industry observers, because Facebook has effectively incentivized that kind of spending, the report said. It’s now harder than it used to be for small businesses’ posts to show up in users’ feeds, meaning that those who want to connect with the most prospective customers will typically have to invest a little in advertising on the site.
To that end, Facebook is once again trying to do a little more to encourage entrepreneurs to spend on the site, launching a number of new applications for small business clients to better manage their ads, as well as introducing other features that might make such a financial step more enticing.
One of these is the social network’s new Boost Your Business Program, which will entail a number of events around the country that are designed to help small business owners share ideas about how best to market themselves online and specifically on social media, the report said. Facebook will also talk to those owners about strategies for more effectively marketing to their audiences directly, and what tools might be at their disposal to do so. Those events will be held in many cities, but most notably San Diego, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Boston.
What else are they doing?
Meanwhile, Facebook has also added more chat support for its clients, the report said. In the past, owners who have experienced such issues have had to send emails to the social network and wait – potentially a few days – for a response. Now, it has one-on-one chat options available so that advertising clients can have direct access to help when they have questions. Right now, those options will only be available in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, but overseas, chat will be rolled out for more countries later in the year.
Certainly, the prospect of advertising on social networks may be one that does not necessarily appeal to many entrepreneurs, but it’s clearly the way in which those sites are trying to leverage owners. And to a certain extent, it makes sense that they should; small businesses are more than happy to pay for print, radio, and even television advertising, and really doing so on social networks shouldn’t be that much different. In fact, in some ways, it could even be more beneficial in terms of bang for the buck, because social networks target people in very specific demographics who would already be more likely to patronize a business. Moreover, it can often be pretty inexpensive to advertise on social media, though the cost can add up depending upon each company’s unique needs.
Therefore, owners who see the value in social media advertising might be wise to look into ways they can reduce other costs so that they can devote more money to these efforts. That might include finding more affordable small business insurance coverage, including plans for liability insurance, to potentially free up thousands of dollars annually.