Found this article on NZ Herald today written by Debbie Mayo-Smith. In summary, she isn't convinced about the power of Facebook for helping small businesses.
"Well, you can listen to the young twenty-something social media enthusiasts who harp on about the wonders of Facebook for business. Or you can take a note from this lady's book and be more discerning about where you spend your marketing time and effort." - Debbie Mayo-Smith
The question remains for small businesses in NZ - Does Facebook help promote your business? My quick answer? YES. It doesn't even matter if you have a small business or a local business. Let me explain:
1. Facebook is not a direct selling tool. So if you think you're going to get sales directly from promoting your product and services on your Facebook walls, you are mistaken. Facebook is a customer management tool. Creating a Facebook page for your business is like creating a channel to engage with your customers directly. It's saying to your customers 'you are available' to attend to their questions even 'after sales'. Facebook is a great customer service tool.
2. The goal of a Facebook fan page is not to get thousands of random followers. This is where 'quality' of fans is better than quantity. Quality fans provide relevant and useful feedback to your posts.
3. If you want to target 'acquiring' fans, then you need to offer a creative promotional programme. You need to offer a 'carrot' to get people to LIKE your page. However, I must point out that there's no stopping these fans to UNLIKE your page once the promotion is over. So the challenge is to really keep connecting to your fan base and keep posting relevant information.
4. Focus on Social Score. Facebook has its own algorithm. It only pushes feeds from your page to your fans' wall if your fan has established a connection with you by 'liking' your posts, 'commenting' on your posts or 'sharing' your posts. If your fans do not contribute and participate on your wall, Facebook detects that your fan-to-fan page connection is 'shallow' and Facebook would automatically push other feeds to your fans' wall.
5. Facebook is a just another 'channel' yes. However, millions of people use it everyday. It's a channel you can not afford to miss. You'd need to have a good strategy on how to use it. You'd also need to write up some terms on how customers can use your page.