Facebook Provides Help to Small Businesses

Millions of people around the globe already use Facebook to connect with their family and friends, but now the social networking giant is focusing on another demographic: small businesses.

The “Facebook for Business” section of the website serves as a comprehensive training resource, offering tools to help small businesses optimize their presence on Facebook, engage with existing customers and also attract new ones.

The content is valuable for small businesses in all stages, ranging from those just now jumping on the social media bandwagon to established brands looking to expand their reach and increase sales. The first tutorial shows how to set up a business Facebook Page and the subsequent lessons cover Ads, Sponsored Stories and Facebook Platform. Facebook for Business even features a general best practices guide for Facebook marketing as well as a collection of detailed case studies spotlighting businesses that have found major success through Facebook.

Buying Facebook ads might seem daunting for many small businesses, but Facebook for Business breaks down the process into small, actionable tasks including defining goals, targeting the right market, designing a compelling ad and managing a budget.

In addition, it introduces Sponsored Stories, which take interactions users make with a business Page and display them prominently for all the user’s friends to see. The more organic nature of these notifications can have a strong effect in attracting further engagement and new customers.

Facebook for Business also helps small businesses engage with their audience outside of the regular Facebook interface. The Platform section explains how to embed social plugins on a business’s own website in order to facilitate the sharing of content and help spread the business’s message. Visitors can “like” their Facebook Page without leaving the site, comment on or sign up for the website using their Facebook account and even see personalized content recommendations based on Facebook data.

Every brand wants a strong presence in those places where its customers spend most of their time, and that’s increasingly becoming mobile devices including iPhone, Android and other mobile devices. Facebook Platform also offers a variety of options for mobile app integration, allowing small businesses to make their app more social.

Small businesses have known about Facebook’s massive potential as an online marketing platform for some time now, but until recently, they were largely on their own in trying to figure out how to get the maximum results from their efforts. Granted, there was no shortage of material from bloggers and social media gurus, but since it seemed that Facebook changed every week, there was never a guarantee that what worked one day would still be there the next.

Now that Facebook itself has created a centralized library of training material, a lot of that uncertainty is gone, and small businesses can get advice on best practices straight from the source. In an era where a presence on social media networks is practically required for most businesses, those that do their homework can get a major leg up on the competition.d

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Andrew Walsh

I'm Andrew Walsh, a web entrepreneur, author and academic librarian. Check out my book Savvy for the Social Web, or learn more about me my personal homepage. If you're interested, please follow me on Twitter and Google+
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