Recent reports suggest that the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day checking his or her news feed. One new study finds that people are using part of that time to research small businesses they plan to visit soon.
G/O Digital, a digital-marketing firm owned by Gannett, surveyed 1,000 Internet and mobile users to find out how they use Facebook before shopping at local businesses. Sixty-two percent said they check out a local business’s Facebook page—often more than once—in the days and hours before visiting. That’s compared with just 12 percent who said they use Pinterest to research a local business and 11 percent who reported using Twitter.
Moreover, 84 percent of respondents said offers and deals on a local business’s page factor into their in-store purchase decisions. And 80 percent said they would be more likely to purchase something from a business if they saw positive reviews on a local business’s Facebook page.
Jeff Fagel, G/O Digital’s chief marketing officer, told Inside Facebook that the survey results suggest that small businesses could increase their traffic and sales by promoting offers on their Facebook page:
If you’re looking at it as a small business, there’s a sense of fear and nervousness when it comes to a small-business owner deciding to spend $500 or $1,000 on marketing. The fear isn’t about the marketing strategy, but about tossing money down the drain. Offers really provide a proof of success, that if you’re spending $500 or $1,000, then there’s actually a return on it. There’s less room for error with small business.
The study suggests that even if a business doesn’t buy Facebook advertising, the social media site is still a powerful marketing tool. Offering customers who drop by your Facebook page special deals—whether $5 off or two-for-one products—can boost the odds they’ll buy something from you. Moreover, don’t ignore the customer reviews on your Facebook page. People are checking out your page and reading those reviews before they decide whether to stop by.
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