At ILM West: Facebook’s Dan Levy Shows Social is Working for SMBs

During the third and final day of our ILM West Conference, Facebook director of global SMB markets Dan Levy introduced a full slate of new data. In addition to hard numbers, the standard Facebook messaging came through: Its Pages (and newer offerings like Promoted Posts) are effective for displaying the “personality” of SMBs.

This was grounded in an example of a Palo Alto real estate agent named Ken — the country’s top real estate agent in sales figures according to the Wall Street Journal. He uses Facebook effectively to display his personality as a brand, and to promote different listings. He also advertises in the Palo Alto Weekly — ironically”traditional” for a Silicon Valley power agent.

“Beyond all the numbers we see regarding penetration and market share, SMBs at the end of the day are people,” said Levy, “people like Ken.”

Levy reported that there are now 12.8 million SMB pages on Facebook. That’s defined as SMBs that have actively created a page for their business.

A few years ago, that number was zero so there is clearly something to pay attention to, in not only its leading share but it’s great momentum. Levy asserts this is simply because Facebook is the manifestation of the oldest and most pervasive form of local business influence: word of mouth.

“The biggest way that SMBs connect with customers is wort of mouth,” he says. “That’s the same thing that’s happening today on Facebook, but with the scale of the web.”

Facebook is putting more and more resources into local, with this realization. Promoted Posts is one of these initiatives — the ability for any Facebook users (including SMBs) to boost the distribution or longevity of any given post.

And it seems to be catching on: Levy reports that 300,000 pages have promoted2.5 million posts in the program’s first 6 months. Interestingly, about 25 percent of these are new Facebook advertisers and 75 percent of them are repeat business, which is a good indication of effective ROI.

Next steps for Facebook include making a more effective experience for different types of local businesses that might have varying marketing needs and dynamics for capturing new business. (appoinment scheduling, mapping, etc.) Restaurants or retail works great says Levy… but what if you’re a plumber?

“If [SMBs] are going to take their hard earned money and spend it on Facebook, it’s got to be doing something for them, he said.”

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