Small business owners are signing up for Facebook pages in droves.
Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small business, revealed last month that 15 million pages are run by small businesses around the world, up from 13 million at the end of 2012. (Tweet this stat!)
So, how can these small business owners use the newly launched Facebook Home to further engage Facebook-obsessed users and drive sales?
What is Facebook Home?
For the true Facebook junkie, Facebook Home is a family of apps and a content feed that sits on top of an Android phone's lock and home screens. Status updates dominate the home screen, which the digital giant refers to as cover feeds.
These are accompanied by various chat avatars, call notifications, events, Facebook updates and other Facebook features that users can customize using flipbook-type capabilities. CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Home as software that "puts your friends at the heart of your phone."
- Facebook Home will not likely appear on the iPhone or Windows Phone anytime soon, and that fact may just tip the purchasing decision in Android's favor when Facebook fans compare cheap cell phone plans.
What Home Means for Local Advertisers
With a Facebook feed dominating the mobile devices who run Home, many wonder how Facebook plans to integrate ads into the software. After all, that's how their money is made. In the recently unveiled version, Facebook Home doesn't have any advertisements, but Facebook execs said future versions will display ads on the cover feed.
- Everything the Facebook Home user searches is tracked by Facebook, enabling advertisers to reach their target market much easier. Whatever users search for can instantly be displayed on the phone.
- Even more, If the user walks by a particular establishment, ads touting specials on the business' products or services can pop up on the phone. Now that's some selling power in the hands of the small business owner.
How Does Home Change Things for the Small Business Owner?
The results of a recent Facebook-sponsored study conducted by the research firm IDC found that the average smartphone user is highly addicted to his/her phone. It found:
- Facebook use, preceded by only email and Web browsing, is the most popular activity on smartphones. (Tweet this stat!) Email use was 78 percent, Web browsing 73 percent and Facebook came in at 70 percent.
- According to respondents, of those who use Facebook, 61 percent use it every day. Reading one's news feed is the top activity, at 77 percent.
Facebook Home brings mobile advertising to an entirely new level. When targeted properly, it can be an important source of growth for small businesses. Online ad traffic measurement can help you gauge how effective your social media advertising campaigns are.
Macheen CEO Richard Schwartz summed up the importance of Facebook Home on Forbes.com when he pointed out:
"Any zero-click application that takes over the phone experience is prime real estate."
Facebook Home could be the holy grail of mobile advertising. Small businesses can't afford to ignore it.
Other Ways Facebook Can Help You Grow
Facebook offers other features that will help direct mobile users to your small business.
- Facebook's Nearby works similar to FourSquare. It accesses the users' social graph in order to recommend places of interest, taking into account friends' likes, check-ins and tags to generate appropriate recommendations. By encouraging current customers to check-in and share likes, this helps expand business beyond current customers to their network of friends, similar to how any basic referral system works.
- Facebook's Offers are virtual coupons. Businesses can choose various options including in-store only, in-store and online, or online only. Retailers have already noted a significant increase in redemption rates, according to SmallBusinessComputing.com.
- Promoted Posts are a Facebook service that turns a post into an advertisement that shows up in users' desktop and mobile news feeds. The user doesn't have to follow your business.
If your small business uses Facebook to engage current and potential customers, then Home is a great tool for you to use to further hone in on them.
Photo credit: geekwire.com
Bio: K.C. Dermody is an experienced freelance writer dedicated to creating high quality articles, web content, copy writing, e-books and more. She has published work on numerous sites and printed publications including Yahoo! Travel, Sports & News, RunLiveLearn, The Sherpa Report and many others. You can follow her on twitter @kcdermody