With over 1.1 billion members, Facebook is a rewarding social media platform, but it can be a mystery as to who is enjoying the spoils. A study noted in an Adweek article claimed media plans that included Facebook offered a 24% increase in sales versus those without the popular platform.
Businesses large and small have jumped on the Facebook marketing bandwagon.
But the question remains: can small businesses profit from Facebook? If you use Facebook for your small business marketing, will it pay off? And the answer, according to one author is “yes it can” — if you know what you’re doing.
Ramon Ray has been on the small business scene for over a decade, and he is a well-known figure in this space. You may have seen him in a webinar or moderating a panel. If so, you’ve witnessed firsthand his crisp overview of technical issues. He has a gift for presenting complex material in an understandable fashion.
I am proud to say I and Carolyn Crummey of VirTasktic helped research material for this book. So instead of burdening you with a biased review of an exceptional book (including – ahem – a super-awesome analytics segment) I’ll highlight what the book offers to your business plans to conquer Facebook.
Making Facebook Easy To Understand
Ray’s approach to technology supplements this book well. The length of the book is similar to Chris Brogan’s Google Plus for Business . To me, the reader benefits from the structure because it highlights Ray’s ability to cover details without being overwhelming. Thus your business team or marketer can easily understand the Facebook details within the context of your business.
In the chapter on Facebook apps, for example, Ray explains the choice of offering a Facebook app in understandable wording. You will find interviews from small business owners with their experiences with apps and other Facebook features. For example, when explaining the value of Facebook Places, Ray notes how Wood’s Coffee, a 100 employee coffee shop in Whatcom County, Washington, uses it to connect to customers.
Small businesses of varying sizes are interviewed or case studies from them included. So no matter what size your small business — one person to 100 people — you are bound to find relevant examples.
The first few chapters cover how to build a Facebook page for your business. You will get straight-to-the-point instructions for setup, as well as how to choose additional applications to customize your page and attract more engagement from fans once you have them. For example, Ray’s instruction on creating a timeline post includes simple points such as:
1. Below the cover photo of your Business page, there is a box on the left side that says Status, Photo/Video, and Event, Milestone. This is called the composer. From this box, share or post.
2. Once you finish adding the information you want to post on your Timeline in the appropriate box, you can choose if you want to share this with everyone by keeping it public or define exactly who you want your audience to be.
3. Click share to add you post to your Timeline.
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, then I am willing to bet you’ll mostly use the chapters that explore the activity small businesses pursue offline. Chapter 6 reviews how to announce events such as trade shows and presentations on your Facebook page. Chapter 7 examines Facebook Places Check-In Deals, which are designed to draw foot traffic into your retail store. Ray offers solid tips. For example, he notes that when beginning a check-in program, a business should evaluate staffing:
“Before you market your Check In Deal, familiarize your staff with mobile phones and Facebook…. Anticipate the customer demand for your Check-In Deal. If you have a well-trafficked store on normal days, you can bet that you’ll have even more traffic with your Check-In Deal.”
The book goes on to offer tips for how to set the proper value of a Deal offer. It takes you for a walk in the customer’s shoes. Take this example about Facebook Offers:
“If you are taking the time to make a Facebook Offer, don’t make it for 1 percent off or an offer that people can get easily somewhere else. Make it big enough so people care and can take advantage of it.”
When it comes to marketing your business, Facebook can feel like a complicated platform to follow. The number of books on the market about Facebook makes understanding where to start even tougher. I recall three variations of Facebook for Dummies books, each old-school phone-book thick.
But thanks to Ramon Ray, this book simplifies and demystifies what is otherwise a sometimes complex tool. As a result, you’ll grasp the Facebook basics much faster. And it lets you cut to the heart of how to use Facebook to market your business, engage the public, and build loyal customers.
Whether your business is just getting started with Facebook, or you are already using the platform but you and your team have a desire to use it more effectively to grow your business’s bottom line, The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing is ideal.
UPDATE: The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing  is available this week. If you purchase it on February 19, 2013 you can also get a FREE Digital Goody Bag for buying the book: Digital Goody Bag