Facebook Event Schools SMBs on Using Platform to Drive Business

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    The Facebook Boost Your Business events have been held across the U.S. this past year to help small to midsize businesses (SMBs) learn how to best use the social media platform to market their businesses. While attending one such event in New Albany, Ind., I learned a lot about Facebook’s involvement with small businesses and how the company can help SMBs reach customers.

    At the event, Ciara Viehweg, Facebook’s SMB community engagement advocate, presented an extensive video and slideshow program to teach attending company representatives how to get started with Facebook, build a comprehensive Facebook marketing plan, create ads for the platform and measure their results.

    According to Viehweg, 140 million people in the U.S. visit Facebook each day, and 77 percent of them come back every day, which of course makes it a good choice for SMB marketers. Viehweg also said that 20 percent of all mobile online time is spent on Facebook. And by setting up a business page on the social media outlet, an SMB can provide information about the company and reach hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers right on their mobile devices. Viehweg added that it helps SMBs to have an online presence that can be viewed via any online device:

    “One of the benefits of a Facebook page is that it is compatible on any type of device. So it doesn’t matter where your customer is—from a phone or a tablet or a desktop or laptop or all of them—your Facebook page is going to render seamlessly across all devices and you do not need to do anything.”

    To ensure that your business’ information can be easily accessed and that your Facebook marketing efforts are optimized, Facebook offers these tips:

    • Make sure your company page contains as much pertinent information as possible. People will access your page and will read the About section to find hours, address and website information, so be sure it’s all there.
    • Prior to creating any ads, decide whether you want them to drive customers to your site or increase conversions by showing ads to people who are more likely to make a purchase. Make sure the ads you create support the action you want to accomplish.
    • Gather assets to use for your ads including clear, enticing photos and compelling, exciting text. Facebook claims that its ads show images that are larger than display ads used on other websites, so having the right photos showcasing your product or service will grab users’ attention.
    • Define who fits in your target audience. Who do you hope will see your ad? The platform offers three targeting options including Core Audiences, Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences to help you find just the right potential customers for your SMB.

    Facebook also allows you to decide whether your ad will be shown in the right hand column, which is accessed mostly by desktop users, or right in the newsfeed, which can be accessed via any device—mobile or not. Once the ads have been running for awhile, SMBs can access Page Insights to see the analysis behind the ad’s performance. This will help in optimization of further ads and in gauging whether or not the campaign was successful in its purpose.

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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