The credit crunch and subsequent downturn have led to a lot of changes in the world of marketing. Many high-street shops have closed in the face of rising overheads, huge competition from companies trading online and increased staffing costs. Many businesses have moved from physical premises in towns and cities to cyberspace. This is a trend that is gathering pace and has been helped by the success and popularity of social-networking platforms such as Facebook.
This change has affected larger businesses to some degree, but with smaller businesses it is becoming almost commonplace. Cost-cutting and limited budgets have meant that local businesses function more and more on the internet, both in terms of their transactions and their marketing efforts. Facebook in particular has become important for marketing and advertising. The huge numbers of people who are registered with Facebook are an easily accessible target audience. Happily for many businesses, there are literally thousands more people joining every day. Companies are eager to tap into and target Facebook’s rapidly expanding membership.
MerchantCircle recently carried out a survey which revealed that use of Facebook as an online marketing service is just beginning to race ahead of Google. The figures showed that 37% of the participants in the survey said they found that it was the most productive marketing method.
Google appears to be falling behind Facebook in the world of marketing. This was very evident when local business owners who took part in the survey stated that they preferred to stay with Facebook to market their products. 50% of these respondents said this last year and this figure has now shown a notable increase to 70%. Most of the businesses that made comments in line with this finding were on an annual budget of $2500 or less and 60% of them were not intending to increase their yearly marketing spend. Worryingly for Google, this places Facebook ahead by 4%.
The analysis concluded that small businesses found that their most successful marketing approaches included search, social networking and emails. 36% named social networking as their preferred marketing channel, 40% claimed search gave the best return and 36% chose email marketing.
Setting up a business and marketing it through Facebook could be a very wise decision in these challenging times. As more and more people choose to socialise and communicate with each other on Facebook, the next step is to shop there too. It would seem foolish not to take advantage of the recent explosion in social networking and Facebook’s readily available and custom-designed business platform.
The marketing vice-president of MerchantCircle has said that marketing is difficult for most local businesses with very tight budgets and practically no marketing resources.
However, it seems that Facebook is catering very successfully to small, local businesses that can still thrive despite the financial difficulties currently confronting them.
The challenges that were mentioned by the vice-president of Merchant Circle appear to be something that Facebook has taken on board. The easy set-up, low overheads and communication channels already in place on Facebook are perfectly designed to make it easier for these small businesses. Social-media marketing is increasingly popular and this trend likely to continue for many years to come, with Facebook taking the lead and perhaps overtaking Google as the best and most effective low-cost way to acquire and retain new customers.