Facebook page more important to small firms than a website, Facebook exec claims

BusinessZone
Lucie Mitchell
Contributing Editor
Sift Media
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More small businesses will choose to create a branded Facebook page before a website in the future, according to Facebook’s director of small business.

Dan Levy, speaking at Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin on Wednesday, said that the social network can enable small firms to reach a large target audience without having to spend money on web design, SEO or e-commerce, Silicon Republic reported.
"Most businesses start off on Facebook as users – that’s why their pages look a lot like the traditional user experiences," said Levy. "They use promoted posts as a simple way to get started and then they take off."
Levy claimed that the number of local business pages advertising on Facebook has almost doubled since the beginning of the year, with a 40% increase in the amount of active local pages.
Other recent statistics have shown that over 300,000 pages have promoted 2.5m posts in the last six months, with more than one-quarter of those businesses new advertisers on Facebook.
The social network is now keen to support small businesses, said Facebook’s SMB marketing manager in Dublin Felicity McCarthy, adding that the opportunities for small businesses are immense.
"The world is depending on SMBs to lead growth in the economy and we think Facebook has a role to play to unlock that potential."
She added that Facebook is also working with various chambers of commerce in the UK and Ireland to drive adoption.
In October, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said there are currently 11m small and medium sized companies on the site, and that serving small business is "just as important" as large advertisers.

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By michellecarvillcreative
14th Dec 2012 12:55

  

Agreed - the  allure of a low hassle, free web space populated by 1 billion people, mobile friendly, user focused and intuitive to use is indeed a powerful one.

However, the challenge is that Facebook owns Facebook - and not the small business - and Facebook can change the gameplan at any time (as they frequently do).

Facebook Pages are a great asset to businesses looking to create a community, showcase heritage and brand personality and people to people engagement - however, in my opinion this social equity should be complimentary to your own online presence - not the only one you have.  

It will be interesting to see how Facebook Pages play out - and whether Facebook enable SMEs to 'purchase' their Facebook space to provide some form of 'ownership' to the SME.

Watch this space...

Best wishes

Michelle

@MichelleCarvill

www.carvillcreative.co.uk

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By stickleback
14th Dec 2012 13:08

Great point, Michelle.

It's the difference between renting and owning. You rent your identity on facebook, you own it on your website. You should, of course, do both, but allowing your online presence to be as vulnerable as it can become on facebook (or, indeed any other "rented" platform) is a huge gamble and an even bigger mistake.

It is cheap to run a facebook page, sure - you can do it yourself. But it could ultimately be the costliest thing you ever did if you put all your eggs in that single virtual basket.

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By wickitservices
14th Dec 2012 15:49

According to recent research by Forrester Research we, small business owners, need to take much of the marketing hype from the likes of Facebook and Twitter with a large pinch of salt.

After all, these organisations are not charities or even local enterprise agencies. They have no interest in developing other peoples' businesses except in as much as they can profit from our spending on promotion and advertising.

I think we can all be pretty confident that a "free" business page on Facebook is not going to launch us into stardom or billion pound profits.

On the other hand, it can work well in some circumstances I am sure. The use of these platforms for spreading viral gossip and political campaigning in recent times has shown that. Making money however? I would suggest that only Facebook Inc. make money from Facebook.com though I would be delighted to hear of small business owners who have had a profitable experience using Facebook instead of their own website.

Kind regards,

Alex

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By threenine
19th Dec 2012 13:39

I for one take all this talk with a huge salt mine of salt.  Of course Dan Levy would tout the benefits of facebook, the survival of his employer depends on it. At the end of the day business is business and it existed before facebook and it will continue long after facebook ceases to exist.  Facebook is nothing more than a platform enabling people to communicate.  You can choose to communicate however you choose with your customer base, there is not one form of communication that is the best.

I for one in the past 7 or so years of facebook existence, haven't purchased a product or service,  that I can say facebook has had any direct influence on.  Primarily because I would say that on average my actual facebook use is low! I don't use it as a method of research for my purchases. I suppose the only information I generally extract from facebook seems to revolve around a.) What my friends seem to be eating  b.) Where they are on holiday c.) The odd family snap d.) a lot of "noise"

From my observation I can't really see it as a channel for business or driving business.  This is although primarily based on my personal observation and not based on any scientific metrics!

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