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How critical is Facebook for SMBs this holiday season?

Ahead of the holiday season, Facebook is urging small and medium businesses (SMBs) to use the social media platform as a tool to increase sales.

In a research from last year’s holiday season by Millward Brown Digital and Firefly, 60 per cent of Facebook members found the social network influential to their holiday shopping. So the social media came out with marketing tips for SMBs to increase holiday sales in 2014:

Plan ahead: SMBs should organise campaigns around popular holidays to make ads more timely and engaging. They should choose holidays that are most relevant to their business, and schedule ads in advance.

Use link ads: SMBs should take people from their ads to their sites with link ads. Link ads featuring large, clickable images, text and call-to-action buttons direct people from their mobile devices or desktops to any page on the SMB site.

Improve the creative: Creating eye-catching, holiday-themed posts is important for SMBs. They should include bright images, clear and concise language, and smooth transitions to their site.

Target ads: SMBs should target their ads based on age, gender, location, interests, behaviours and more. They should test different content, images and promotions for separate audiences to see what works.

Know what’s working, change what isn’t: SMBs can use Facebook’s Ads Manager to monitor and track the success of their ads performance. Ad Manager allows them to optimise their budget, test their strategy and measure their ROI.

Sathyamurthy Namakkal, Executive Director – DDB Mudra Group, said, “The social platforms like FB, Instagram and Twitter are highly used by consumers when they go out on a family holidays like check in on the airport, hotels or posting out photographs on the go. As per the industry estimates the domestic tourism itself is over 11Bn people and international travel from India over 16Mn. As a marketer this a large audience base to capture. Over 60 per cent of traveler report to use social media while traveling with 85 per cent of them using smart phones while traveling to scan for Hotels, restaurants. The Facebook as medium thus becomes an important market to leverage for the tourism industry. The innovative marketer is able to capture the same with mix of communication & technology and able to engage the same.”

The marketer’s perspective
Facebook has helped many SMBs which use it as a promotional tool to reach out to their customers. SP Agrawal, CEO of Allied Industries said, “Nowadays the visiting card of any SMB has the social media network logo. Facebook is the new generation marketing tool. Every business be it small or medium or the largest corporate uses the Facebook platform. The reason is that it gives them a connect with prospective customers and the ‘likes’ tell the marketer how many would-be buyers have come to visit their site. We use the platform to talk about new launches. Facebook also helps us identify with the customer, so it is a promotional platform with a personal touch.”

While Facebook has helped some SMBs, there are some that feel otherwise about Facebook adding value to their business. Bhupendra Renjen, CEO of Global Nexus, said, “While we use SEO and SEM to get responses on our website from customers, Facebook is not a platform that has not been very useful. We are a small firm and so our reach is not much, that is why Facebook has not given us much advantage.”

While Facebook does not seem very critical to all businesses, using the social media platform as a marketing tool the right way can help SMBs increase business in this holiday season.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.