Small Business Advertisers: Facebook Wants You!

If you question Facebook's motives as to their current push to bring on SMB (small and medium-sized business) advertisers, you're not alone. Small business operators with small marketing budgets should be cautious about investing in a social network that up till now favored big brands over the little guy. So, questioning whether this current shift in focus is advantageous to your needs or theirs is a legitimate one.

On the Fence

Why are small businesses on the fence when it comes to ponying up some of their hard-earned revenues to advertise in the world's leading social network with over 1 billion potential eyeballs? While there are 25 million small businesses with active company pages on Facebook today, only 4% percent of them have actually invested in advertising. Facebook admits that some of the reasons for these companies not to advertise is due to them not having a product ready for an advertising campaign, or a staff with too limited resources, both in time and money.

What's my ROI?

Recently a dozen small business advertisers met at Facebook's HDQ in Menlo Park to discuss their concerns that Facebook wasn't supporting SMBs. To achieve a significant ROI (return on investment), entrepreneurs want make sure their marketing allocations are appropriated wisely and that every dollar spent will garner a 10x return or more. Even when a post goes viral, there's no assurance it's going to attract new business. And while Facebook will tell you that LIKES, fans and comments are statistically sound, many don't believe it's enough to ratchet up sales.

Facebook's Mad Men

Thus Mark Zuckerberg and his team have come to the realization they have a major challenge ahead them in Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerbergconvincing a lot of small businesses to drink the kool-aid. They are fully aware, it takes a lot of small businesses to add up to even one big brand advertiser. And to convince individual operators to come on board is an education-process that up till now Facebook didn't invest much time or effort into. After all, it cost money to advertisers to advertisers!

Dan LevyDan LevyThis week, we learn that the mindset within the company has changed, as it's now Dan Levy's job to convince their new target audience they need to readjust their thinking as well. As Facebook's director of small business, Levy has been tasked with the job to round as many SMBs as possible and put them a Boot Camp of sorts.

Will you enlist in FB's Boot Camp?

Dubbed, the "Facebook Fit," the social network is taking this show on the road. With stops planned this summer in five major US markets, Levy et al expect 500 to 700 attendees at each event. Described as educational sessions, the events are intended for both existing and potential advertisers. And with leaders from Facebook, Intuit, LegalZoom and Square, a small business owner and his or her staff will get tips on marketing, legal services and finance management.

Best-selling author Rhonda Abrams and technology expert Mario Armstrong -- both of whom are passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow -- will be speakers at the events.

Getting Back to those Limited Budgets

While Levy empathizes the plight of the small business operator and his meager marketing budgets, apparently FB is not going to offer their words of wisdom gratis. Promoted on their site as "space is limited," it appears they are using the old school advertising ploy to create demand -- and that demand comes with a price tag. Tickets are $25 a piece. While not outrageous, it does seem a bit disingenuous for a company like Facebook to say they "finally" want your business and then charge you for listenting to their sales pitch. Apparently, they too want to receive an ROI of consequence for their time and effort!