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Is Facebook effective for small business marketing?

It’s always seemed to me that Facebook is a great tool for small business marketing.  On a personal note, a good friend of mine – a grade school teacher turned entrepreneur – was quick to adopt Facebook to engage customers and prospects. On the professional side, I’ve observed many of PRWeb’s small businesses customer also make regular use of Facebook, Vedante, Auction Cause and Furnace MFG are all good examples.

In many of these cases, customers like Cheryl Lawson use social media like Facebook in conjunction with PRWeb releases, though Cheryl is quick to point out, she put the legwork into building her community first before sharing her releases.  As Adam Singer wrote on his blog, The Future Buzz, “SEO and social media are both long term commitments,” he wrote.  “The secret of the web is simple: patience.”

That small business would gravitate towards Facebook makes a lot of sense to me – it moves slower than networks like Twitter and allows small business owners to check in periodically throughout the day.  For an entrepreneur loaded up with responsibilities from accounting to inventory to human resources, time is of the essence.

“It is incredibly easy and fast to get a Twitter account.   Everyone grabs one.  There are lots of abandoned Twitter accounts or ones with few or no tweets,” wrote Nora Ganim Barnes in an email interview.  “I think the operative word is ‘use’ instead of ‘have’.  My feeling is that Facebook is used more, but getting a Twitter account is simple and requires almost no set up so they get those too.”

However, Dr. Barnes, chancellor professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has a far more compelling reason to trust her gut:  she has data.

In partnership with the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), Dr. Barnes recently published a study that found Facebook was cited as the most effective social networking platform for small businesses.  Her study surveyed the Inc. 500 and earned 171 participants which makes her “research statistically valid at +/-6%”

Specifically, Facebook was the most familiar to the Inc. 500 with 87% of respondents saying they were “very familiar” with the platform.  More importantly, 44% also said it was “the single most effective social networking platform they use.”

Read a summary of the findings in the PRWeb release and a more detailed explanation of the research including charts and graphs on the Website of the Center for Marketing Research.

Have you had success with Facebook?  What measurable results have you seen from Facebook marketing?

Photo credit:  Flickr, FindYourSearch

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