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From time to time we come across articles about small and medium sized businesses and how social media doesn’t apply to them (maybe because of the sheer audience size of platforms like Facebook don’t seem to apply to who their target audience is).

We also come across SMB owners who have this same notion. Not good.

Who is coming up with this stuff?

quote_indentedIn any event, this can’t be further from the truth. Apart from our work with SMBs and their social profiles, the fact that this region (like most any) has tens of thousands of potential people to reach who very well may be buying what the SMBs are selling.

I have no doubt that social media and the marketing that goes along with it is a veritable treasure-trove for small businesses.

A Real-Life Example and Advice

We had a client in here earlier this summer who sought to increase their fan-base on Facebook. This also happens to be one of the bigger questions that SMBs have for us, “How do we get more fans?” While I don’t want to be redundant and repeat what thousands of other articles are no doubt being published at this moment on the topic, I’ll stick to this one tactic, talk about results and then get into the intricacies for the uninitiated.

quote_indentedOur answer to audience building? Facebook ads. Inexpensive and highly effective in our clients case.

So, let’s first talk about traditional ads in comparison to placing Facebook ads that results in more page fans (okay, so they’re “likes” but you know what I mean). We’ll generalize in order to make it clear:

If our client bought ads for the same time frame (20 days) in the newspaper, they would surely get their message in front of X number of eyes each day. Fine. But, unless those ads keep running, the ability to be in front of those eyes will eventually be gone (when the ad stops running). Here’s where we get to the part that excites me: we placed Facebook ads with our message, got a lot of local people to “like” the page quickly and then the campaign ended–but they remain ‘fans’ of the page, allowing us to re-engage with them time and time again without buying more ads. Perfect.

So, like I said, this client (a medium sized business) spent roughly $1500 and gained roughly 1500 new fans that they can engage with (see how I avoided saying ‘market to’) all year long. In a nutshell, we purchased $1500 worth of ads, ran two weeks worth of contests and in the long-run, most of these same people will be there for more later on.

To me, this seems like a bargain and illustrative of how a local SMB found the desired success during a very short campaign (again, only 20 days).

quote_indentedOf course, strategizing a campaign and writing ads is an art form in and of itself, so that’s where a digital agency like us comes in, but I hope my aim to dispell the notion that social media isn’t for smallish local businesses.

How Facebook Ads Work for the Uninitiated

Facebook ads generally work in a viral fashion, but rather than shout to just anyone they get placed on member pages by Facebook in accordance to their profile data (in relation to the targeting we can choose when placing the ads). And did I mention Facebook ads can be much less expensive than other ad platforms?

These ads become powerful avenues for the small-to-medium sized businesses and marketers like us here at Overit. Sure, there are rules and restrictions but what ad platform doesn’t have them?

An Example of How Facebook Ads Do Their Magic

Let’s say Joe likes fishing and has stated so in his profile. A local fishing tackle shop wants to promote a bass fishing training day. Using Facebook’s intuitive and powerful demographics tool, the fishing tackle shop is able to target people like Joe. Since Joe mentions fishing on his profile and he lives within the set geographic radius for the shop and its training course, the ad shows on Joe’s profile (and a whole bunch of other people like Joe).

Also, since Joe is connected to other people on Facebook with the same similar interest, when he clicks “Like,” it posts to the Wall (allowing his friends to see he “Liked” the ad or page). Those with the similar interest in fishing now have the opportunity to “Like” the tackle shop as well. Thus, a viral nature of Facebook ads and pages.

Now, back to our client example above. If a company bought a traditional ad and I saw it and was intrigued by it — a real world example of making that ad viral would be if I gave a copy of it to all of my friends and said that I liked it. Well, we’re no dummies, we know it doesn’t work this way.

The Moral of This Story:

> Small and Medium Sized Businesses Have Large Audiences Waiting for them on Social Platforms. Don’t buy what the naysayers are saying.

> A good campaign will attract people to your profiles.

> Facebook ads are an inexpensive, more viral way to advertise (and it theoretically gets people in a position to listen to more marketing messages for a very long time)

> And, I’m avoiding getting into the value of social media and SEO for another post, for another time.