We wanted to know more than just if small business owners were using social media, we wanted to know.  What were their objectives.  In our survey we asked business owners to comment on each of twelve possible uses for Facebook.

Brand Awareness, Lead Generation, Drive Traffic to Website, Promote Special Events,  Conversation with Clients, Provide Customer Service, Show Work Samples,  Make Special Offers, Conduct Research, Distribute Coupons, Recruit Employees or Run Contests

Facebook Objectives Most

For each option, participants could strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree.  ( There was no fence sitting allowed) Points were assigned to their answers as follows:
  • Strongly Agree 4
  • Agree 3
  • Disagree 2
  • Strongly Disagree 1

Why Companies Use Facebook

The most common reason companies were active on Facebook was building brand awareness. With a score of 3.69 almost every business responding to the survey indicated this as part of their Facebook activity.  This was  followed closely by driving traffic to web pages, promoting special events and generating leads.

As we talk to business owners the “building brand awareness”  seems to be the fall back answer.  Business owners feel there is value with just “getting their name out there” even if they don’t have a specific plan of what to do with the response.   Unfortunately the haphazard approach does not create significant sales results.

A significant number of respondents indicated they used Facebook to talk to clients, show off work samples, make special offers and conduct research.  In our experience, it is these secondary functions which can really differentiate your brand on Facebook.  This works extremely well for consumer products and retail stores, but I have even seen doctor and software developers who have grown their fan base using some of these techniques.

Why is it important to grow your fan base?  Fans represent a self-segmented group of highly valuable customers.  According to a t least one agency which measures the impact of social media, the average fan is worth $138.  While this will vary based on the amount of engagment you have with your fans, the bottom line:  The more you engage, the more valuable the fans become.

How are you using Facebook?  What more could you be doing?