Social Media Helps Out Small Business Owners

Running a small business these days is a completely different proposition from that faced by entrepreneurs in the past.

As well as the obvious changes to the global economy and the way we now do business, there is also the matter of the internet revolution to consider. Of course, as we all as providing us with lots of new opportunities this has also brought plenty of new and scary challenges with it too.


Clearly, not every small business owner is comfortable with the idea of shaping an online business with a presence that could help them grow and attract new customers. This is why so many of them hand over control of their online activities to specialists who can enhance their site and work on an SEO campaign.

However, social media is an area in which perhaps more business people feel confident in doing their own work. Part of the reason for this, of course, is that they almost certainly use some form of social media in their personal lives, so they are comfortable with the sites.

In fact the latest worldwide figures show that there are over 2 billion active social media accounts around the planet. This corresponds to 29% of the global population. Bearing those figures in mind, it seems safe to suggest that most small business owners have at least some sort of experience using Facebook, Twitter or another type of social media site.

With such a high percentage of people using these sites it is also clear that many of the businesses customers or potential customers can be reach through social media. This makes it even more important that entrepreneurs reach out to them as effectively as possible.

The good news is that some recent design changes by Facebook have been designed to make it easier for small business owners to use this site a productive way.  Benji Shomair is the director of global partnerships at Facebook and he said that they want to be “the mobile solution for businesses”, casting doubt on the viability of mobile websites as a good solution.

In terms of the existing businesses using Facebook, just a few months ago this figure sat at 40 million, with 41% of small businesses in the US said to use the site. However, in the few months since then, Facebook says that it has increased the total number of active business pages to 45 million.

Among the biggest changes that are aimed at these business users is the fact that they can now add a profile section to their pages. The first two of these to be rolled out are called Shop and Services, respectively. These can be considered as being akin to product catalogues that the user can choose. These profiles have been known about since testing began in July, with the rollout now being official.

The new features on Facebook are viewed as offering business people a way of getting across more information to their client, of helping keep customers engaged for longer and of finding ways of advertising and showing off their products or services. When a customer clicks on one of the products in Shop they get taken to the Facebook Messenger app, get offered the chance to buy it or get taken to the external business site. Currently some of these options are being tested in different markets before being officially added.

Meanwhile, the Service page offers a static catalogue that at the moment doesn’t offer the possibility of booking or of linking to an external site. Facebook sources have confirmed that more sections like this will be added in the future.

Another new feature that is being made available for business owners is the availability of bigger and more obvious call to action buttons. The likes of “Contact Us”, “Call Now” and “Send Message” are all being added and will appear at the top of the screen on mobile devices.

Another new option for businesses is to reply to customers who leave a comment by sending them a private message. An incentive to do this quickly and regularly is the fact that those businesses that respond to 90% of comments with an average time of 5 minutes get awarded a green badge.

It has been a few years since Sheryl Sandberg – the chief operating officer at Facebook – was quoted as saying that everyone small business should use Facebook. She went on to day then they weren’t going to stop “until all of them are using it” as a way of growing. While there is still some way to go before this is the case, there is no doubt that these new changes could go some way to persuading more entrepreneurs to give it a try.

This video shows us some of the basics of social media marketing.


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