New Study: Facebook Helps Small Businesses Turn “Digital Hunters” into Loyal Customers
Did you know that Facebook has become a vital marketing tool not just for big brands, but for small businesses as well? Small businesses are gradually making the shift from traditional forms of advertising to more contemporary ones. A significant percentage of consumers are more likely to consult social media sites rather than the yellow pages if they want to look up information about small businesses.
A study made by digital marketing firm G/O Digital proved that social media networks, especially Facebook, can greatly influence consumers in terms of discovering, and making purchases, from small businesses. The data they collected came from a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 years old. These respondents talked about the methods they used to search for products from small businesses before physically visiting stores.
The Importance of Facebook for Small Businesses
The social media giant reported in June 2014 that over 30 million small businesses have active pages on Facebook—an increase of 25 million from last November. This increase just goes to show how vital it has become for small businesses to maintain a viable presence on Facebook. Because of the tight competition among brands, organic advertisement may not entirely work for everyone—they have to fight (i.e. pay) for a more prominent place on the social platform.
According to the study, paid media on Facebook allows small businesses to reach wider audiences “more predictably, and with much greater accuracy” than organic content. With millions of businesses fighting for a prominent place on Facebook’s interface, there’s no denying the fact that the success of these small businesses depends on their ability to use social and mobile advertising to drive more sales.
These businesses must keep in mind that at least once a week, a whopping 58% of consumers engage with Facebook ads, while another 59% visit particular Facebook pages before making in-store purchases [See Figure 1]. True enough, consumers nowadays are becoming increasingly “digitally savvy and empowered”.
Meanwhile, almost half (40%) of the respondents say that Facebook offers that can be redeemed at local stores can greatly increase their chances of buying products from small businesses. This is in comparison to the power of Promoted Posts (12%) and photo/video contests (9%) over consumers’ purchasing decision. [See Figure 2]
Customer reviews also play a key role in determining how Facebook and other digital platforms influence customer acquisition. Did you know that 80% of consumers are willing to make a purchase if a small business has positive customer reviews on its Facebook page and website? [See Figure 3] Judging by this number, it’s safe to say that businesses must consider putting their online reputation at the top of their priority list.
Here are other key findings from the report:
- Facebook remains the most effective social media research channel. Over half (62%) of respondents consider Facebook to be the most useful social media platform when researching products before buying from physical stores, beating both Twitter and Pinterest.
- Local Facebook offers can keep the cash register ringing consistently. 84% of respondents say that local Facebook deals/offers are vital in their decision to buy a product in-store.
- Local relevance and personalization plays a big role in deciding the legitimacy of Facebook ads. 27% of respondents mention “ads that are targeted based on current location” and 36% mention “ads that are targeted based on [their] personal interests and past purchases” as the criteria that influences them the most when interacting with Facebook ads from small businesses.
- Facebook offers beat Promoted Posts in driving digital and mobile engagement. 38% of respondents say Facebook offers that can be redeemed at local stores can persuade them to visit a small business website, and 35% believe the same types of Facebook offers will encourage them to visit mobile sites and apps.
- Facebook engagement levels differ for each small business category. The research discovered that restaurants take the lead (38%) as the most followed and engaging small business category, followed by beauty and spa (14%) and education/training (14%) that tie in second place.
Today more than ever, shoppers demand the highest level of personal attention from businesses. As a marketer, you have the opportunity to make an impact through the use of social media networks, especially Facebook. What the study says is true: “Business owners – especially those in the restaurant, spa/beauty, and education industries – need to come to terms with the fact that Facebook is a highly important marketing tool that needs to be actively attended to, and not just something they check in on every now and then.”
Facebook’s real value for marketers doesn’t end with garnering and increasing “likes” on their business pages; rather, it’s also about being able to create personalized and compelling content that converts more “digital hunters” into devoted customers for your small business.
What do you think about G/O Digital’s study on Facebook advertising for small businesses? As a marketer, how do you use Facebook to promote your products and services? Share your insights in the Comments section below.
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