Most would agree that Facebook is a valuable marketing venue for small businesses. Tune in as Ramon Ray, Editor and Technology Evangelist for SmallBizTechnology, joins Brent Leary to discuss his timely new book, “The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing.” Ramon shares Facebook tips he learned while researching the book.
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Small Business Trends: Why did you write the book, “The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing?”
Ramon Ray: Small businesses need help marketing. I think that many of them are highly confused by marketing overall. Facebook is one of the biggest platforms out there. There’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and more.
I had to research and study it. I found that it is a great platform for small businesses for testing. I would dare say it is the new Google AdWords. Adwords was really hot and it is still is. But Facebook is now the place where many small businesses are.
Small Business Trends: How successful are small businesses with marketing and how successful have they been when integrating Facebook into their marketing strategy?
Ramon Ray: For some, it is wildly successful. But I think, in general, marketing overall is still a challenge.
I think the benefits small businesses are having with Facebook, the smart ones, the successful ones, are not trying to sell so much. They are just trying to be your friend, trying to be my friend, trying to just be friends – and over time, sell to you.
Small Business Trends: What are some of the surprising misconceptions that you see small business have when it comes to Facebook marketing?
Ramon Ray: Some don’t realize how easy it is. If you don’t type well, you know what? You can you pull out your phone and click a button. Do a five to 10 word subject line and do it twice a day, or whatever the time frame is. I think that is the most surprising thing. That it is easy to do and the barrier to interest people is so low, you can make mistakes.
Unlike doing a test on a $10,0000 radio ad. You can do a $50 test on Facebook and innovate to make it better and better.
Small Business Trends: Are you thinking that people feel it is too complex?
Ramon Ray: I think complexity is still a bit worrisome for some. You have to track this stuff. You have to do analysis on it to know, my first ad was blue and I got 550 clicks. I made changed it to yellow and I got 75 clicks. It takes a bit of time to do that and get it right. But you do have to do it.
Small Business Trends: How are companies measuring success? Is it just dollars? Is it new customers or is it keeping the customers longer?
Ramon Ray: PetFlow is one. I talked to their founder and he told me the best lesson he learned for using Facebook was:
“I have stopped trying to advertise to the people that I want to buy my products. I don’t do that on Facebook anymore. What I do is, engage with those who are interested in what I am selling, if you get the difference. I am not worrying about if you want to buy it.”
In his case, he is not trying to find out if you want dog food. Instead, he puts a photo up and asks which dog picture you like better. He can find people who love dogs and then he can go a little deeper if you follow what I am saying?
Small Business Trends: You are tying into their emotions a bit more.
Ramon Ray: That is absolutely correct. Very few of us go to Facebook and say, “What can I buy?” We are chatting and we are having a good time. Therefore, those companies who want us to buy there are going to have to have a good time with us in that environment.
Small Business Trends: You’ve devoted a whole chapter to using Facebook to generate local store foot traffic.
Ramon Ray: You know that is one of my favorite sections. I think what I like about Facebook, going back to the central tenant of it, is that it’s about relationships. I go into my local store, I shake the hand of the owner, here is my little bag of candy sweets, bread or whatever it is. Maybe now they will take a photo of me and say, “Here is our newest customer.” And then post it to their Facebook page.
Or maybe they will say, “When you stop by, check in on Facebook and we will give you a discount.” Other companies are doing that. So what I like about Facebook is, it keeps that warm Laura Ingalls like, you know that. . .
Small Business Trends: Little house on the prairie. . .
Ramon Ray: Right. That main street aspect of. “I like you, you like me.” Human connectivity with a song. I think that is where Facebook has an edge.
Small Business Trends: What are some important tools businesses need to be aware of that help them leverage Facebook for marketing?
Ramon Ray: One is Facebook Analytics. I think whether you have a page or a profile or whatever it is you are analyzing, just go to Facebook Insights and know what’s there. You can go down to gender level, male, female and where they are coming from – all of that.
When you want to go to the higher level, there are a number of different third party tools out there that help you to add customize tabs or apps to your Facebook page. As you know, I have worked for Infusionsoft. They just bought a company called GroSocial so that is one app. There are many others.
I think that once you get to that level it’s not even tools so much. Just check your page and respond back to people. If someone says, “Dear sir, I bought your cookies for my grandmother, I like them a lot.” Please reply back and say, “Thank you.”
Small Business Trends: What are the top 2 or 3 things you want people to walk away with after reading the book?
Ramon Ray: I hope this book helps you with social media, overall. I would also say to take pictures. I can go deep, but I think that is the biggest thing.
Small Business Trends: Where can people learn more about the book, “The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing”?
Ramon Ray: You can buy the book from Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. [Editor's Note: See the Small Business Trends review of "The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing."]
This interview on the Facebook Guide of Small Business Marketing s is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.More in: Facebook