Earlier this week Facebook kicked off its five city tour to as part of the company’s plan to turn 25 million small businesses on its site into paying clients. In April, Facebook announced an ad council and roadmap for small business clients, like its offering tailored to big brand advertisers, in a bid to pull the long-tail and local advertising dollars being seized by competitors. With its tour, Facebook is trying to actively court small and mid-sized businesses. On Tuesday, Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business, told a crowd of around 350 small business owners assembled in New York City that 30 million small business owners now have active Facebook pages, updated at least once a month, an increase of 5 million from the fourth quarter of last year. In the fourth quarter, Facebook said one million small businesses had become paying customers. In addition, Facebook is partnering with the Intuit, LegalZoom and the mobile payments startup Square for the events.
Will It Work?
One crucial action Facebook needs to do is show the small businesses how to develop their brand and image with customers. Small businesses have a difficult time doing this themselves because they don’t necessarily have the time, money or expertise to back up marketing campaigns. In fact, according to our recent small business survey 54% of businesses state their biggest issue with social media is it is too time consuming followed by 40% that state they have not see any return. If Facebook can successfully help these companies, it could add revenue to Facebook in the future. What small business owners need to weigh is whether this could be a partnership or just another vendor to advertise with. If Facebook doesn’t stress and show the importance of branding, this could backfire on the company.