Facebook Courts Small Businesses; Pushes for More Ads

Small business owner on Facebook- representing Facebook ads and marketing tools

Facebook may be the second most popular website in the world, but the company never stops striving for improvement. Determined not to rest until they’ve conquered the world, the powers that be at Facebook have decided to improve usability in the hopes of increasing participation from a core audience – small businesses.

As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Facebook is encouraging businesses to make their pages as useful as possible. This includes adding features like scheduling appointments, booking flights, or getting directions. Not only will this turn a business’s Facebook page into a one-stop shop for information, but it will increase user engagement, allowing Facebook to serve ads more successfully.

It’s a win for the customer, business marketers, and Facebook. But Facebook wants more from businesses than increased participation – the site wants businesses to rely more on paid marketing.

A Push for More Facebook Ads

In recent months, businesses have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of visibility their pages have had on users’ newsfeeds. This is because Facebook has limited the number of users that see free business posts. Facebook said the move was designed to increase the number of posts seen from friends, but many entrepreneurs suspect the move was made to encourage businesses to pay for Facebook ads.

As Bloomberg noted, out of 30 million business users who update their pages at least once monthly, approximately one million pay for ads. Facebook wants to profit from the many businesses using its services, which is why the site is pushing for more ads. Business users have been gradually increasing in recent years, but Facebook must monetize the process to continue to provide services to them. If Facebook doesn’t work hard to convert free business users into paid ones, it may lose its current momentum.

Facebook Marketing Tools to Help Small Businesses

Facebook has boosted its suite of marketing tools recently, adding a section specifically geared toward businesses. The section includes both tech tools and tutorials to show business owners the full power of the site’s marketing services. Many businesses move into Facebook marketing slowly, paying to ask users to like their pages or promoting one post. By boosting its offerings and providing $50 in free advertising through its Facebook Fit program, the company may see those comfort levels rise.

One tool Facebook has recently improved is its Lookalike Audiences program. Instead of reaching out only to existing customers, Facebook uses this tool to reach out to people on the site who have shown similar interests to a brand’s current audience. Once Facebook identifies someone who looks like a business’ existing Facebook followers, those potential customers are delivered ads.

Facebook’s new courting of small businesses has certainly stirred up speculations as for the motive. Nevertheless, by improving its marketing offerings and showing businesses how easy it is to post paid ads through the site, the company will be able to continue to serve customers without alienating the businesses that are only beginning to rely on social media.

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