Facebook executive discusses small business social strategy and resources.
Since becoming a publicly traded company in 2012, Facebook has set its sights on making money. That means it's looking to small business owners as an important revenue stream.
MyBusiness spoke with Dan Levy, director of small business for Facebook, to find out what Facebook is doing to connect small business owners to their customers.
“Facebook is really more than social right now,” Levy says. “This is mainstream media. If you want to reach 100 million people in the U.S. or the 30,000 people in your hometown, there is really no better way to do it than Facebook.”
What are some of the hallmarks of a successful Facebook presence for a small business?
We want businesses to put out content that is authentic. In that regard, small business owners are usually the best at this because they’re actually talking to their customers face to face. They know exactly how to reach them and how to talk to them.
Understand who your customers are and target them. Facebook gives you some of the best targeting abilities in the business; if you want to target by age, demographic or geography, you can do that because those people have identified themselves on Facebook.
Facebook helps small businesses understand and target their customers.
What are the latest resources that Facebook offers for small businesses to grow their audience?
The one I think is the most interesting and the most exciting is a concept called “Lookalikes.” If you have a set of customers you’ve reached, you can upload a list (of emails) and tell us who those folks are, and we can suggest to you—without telling you who they are—people you can advertise to [on Facebook] that are like the ones you’ve provided, so it stays security compliant. You can reach people we think might be customers for you that you didn’t know existed.
What can small business owners expect from even a modest investment in Facebook advertising?
You can start advertising for as little as a few dollars a day on Facebook. We’ve seen plenty of businesses that will start that way just to learn. What people can expect when they advertise is really the same thing they can get in traditional media—plus a lot more. Business owners are trying to achieve an objective, and they’re often going to want to reach a certain number of customers with certain frequency. That’s exactly what you get on Facebook, and you get it specifically targeted. In a lot of cases, you can reach just the people who matter to you.
What tips can you give about the type of content small businesses should be sharing?
With so many different business owners, everyone has a slightly different approach. We’ve seen consignment shops and e-commerce shops that post multiple times a day because that’s what their customers want to see. We’ve seen other business owners like plumbers or dentists that just post once a week. For them, it’s a matter of posting helpful tips and staying top of mind when people need their service.
It comes down to the personality of the business and what it wants to accomplish. Businesses have a chance to express themselves in a place where people are discovering what matters to them.
Is there anything small business owners should consider in regard to ROI of a Facebook strategy?
We know every dollar is precious to business owners, and we consider ourselves a partner in that and want to help them spend that as best they can to get the best return. The other part of the equation is the return you’re getting. We’ve made a lot of progress in this area. For e-commerce or direct response advertisers, we provide a host of simple technologies to see how many people are buying off of an ad on Facebook.