It seems that Facebook has found a way to woo small businesses away from Google. The company announced that it now has 30 million active small business accounts using the social media platform.
And though it’s had some recent issues with those small business accounts reaching fewer numbers of consumers with their daily posts, it seems the problem isn’t just limited to those businesses that don’t currently advertise with Facebook. Dan Levy, director of small business for Facebook, explained the challenges to TIME:
“The organic reach issue is not about us making more money. The natural extension of Facebook becoming popular and people having more friends and liking more Pages is there’s just more and more stories to choose from every day. We have to choose which ones are going to keep them engaged on Facebook.”
It appears that such issues haven’t slowed the number of SMBs setting up Facebook accounts, though. In late fall, the company reassessed its “definition of an SMB,” and came up with 25 million accounts.
To help these small businesses better use Facebook to drive business success, the company has been holding Facebook Fit events. These mini-conferences, referred to by the company as “bootcamp for small businesses,” are being held in various cities around the U.S. and are focused on providing information and training for attendees. Representatives from companies including Intuit, Square, LegalZoom and of course, Facebook, present tips on management, marketing, finance, etc.
Two new small business tools that Facebook highlights at the events are the Lookalike Audiences and Custom Audiences. Both allow a business to reach new customers. The Lookalike feature, though, allows SMBs to select customer characteristics, and Facebook will find a “larger audience” that fits the same guidelines. The Custom feature applies when a business selects a specific group of customers to which it wants to market directly.
Although the company never mentions competitor Google by name, it certainly has ramped up its drive to gain SMB favor, and of course that would include their advertising dollars. When asked about the future reach of Facebook posts to non-advertising businesses, Levy didn’t want to speculate. TechCrunch suggested that there could come a day when the only way for an SMB on Facebook to reach fans would be through paid ads. TechCrunch said that Levy “touted Facebook ads as the way businesses can get ‘the predictable reach that they want.’”
Levy did say that his Facebook team will be focused on creating additional mobile tools for SMBs. He explained that Facebook can be a good way for companies to build a mobile presence. According to Levy:
“If you have a mobile phone and you have a Facebook Page, you have a mobile marketing strategy.”