• Are Facebook Beacons Good for Small Business Marketing?

Social media companies are doing everything they can to help businesses promote their products and services to potential customers. The world’s largest social media company, Facebook, has recently launched a new device that is set to introduce a whole new dimension to this area of marketing.

Are Facebook Beacons right for small business marketing?

Several months after testing their new product at popular locations in New York City such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Facebook is now offering free Bluetooth beacons to businesses. This move was done in order to enhance their Place Tips feature which was released earlier this year. But now, businesses no longer have to be iconic New York stores or restaurants to receive these beacons—they can be anywhere!

How Facebook beacons work

The way it works is that businesses will place these Bluetooth beacons in their stores, and these devices will send out signals to the smartphones of passerbys within about 500 feet of the store. The passersby will see status updates and pictures from Facebook friends who have visited the location before and also see promotions and deals about the business that are sent directly to their Facebook News Feed. This will induce a very tempting reason to go visit that business to potential customers who are nearby.

How small businesses can use Facebook beacons

Like any successful business owner, you always need to be one step ahead of your competition, looking for the cutting edge. These Facebook Bluetooth beacons offer unprecedented opportunities to small business owners just like you who now have a new way to reach out to potential customers.

Advantages of Facebook Bluetooth beacons

If you currently use Facebook to promote your business, then there are a number of advantages that will allow you to extend your reach to current and potential customers. In fact, the effectiveness of these devices is already being seen as, “businesses using the feature have seen a steady uptick in Facebook page traffic from in-store visitors over the last six months.” (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247081)

Using Facebook beacons for hyperlocal marketing
One of the most effective aspects of this device is that it directly targets people in the immediate area. Although people see ads all day long in television, newspapers, websites and more, they’re much less likely to act on these ads because they’re not directly in a position to make a purchase.

However, with these Place Tips, businesses now have the unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of the potential for people to act on impulse, and buy something when they have immediate access to it.

Increase social media engagement with Facebook fans

Customers love to be appreciated by businesses they support. This is one reason why building your brand is so important. Facebook Bluetooth beacons offers a fantastic opportunity to increase social media engagement with people who follow your business on Facebook. By increasing engagement, your fan can receive new promotions and updates that they might not otherwise see.

Using Facebook beacons will also provide potential new customers a brief glimpse of your company through your business’s Facebook page.

Perfect for increased summer foot traffic

Hyperlocal advertising is much more effective when the weather is warm, as people are going to be out and about. If your business is located in a high foot-trafficked area, then this will be especially effective.

Trumps the organic reach issue on Facebook 

Several months ago Facebook made a dramatic change that significantly affected businesses’ ability to reach potential customers. Facebook changed its algorithm such that it created a drastic decline in ‘organic reach’, which is the ability of a business to promote itself without paying for advertising. Since then, businesses have been clamoring for a way to restore their previous outreach on Facebook—the Bluetooth beacons may be that answer.

Because the Bluetooth beacons are free (although temporarily) it will provide an alternative to what was formerly organic reach. In fact, retailers can’t advertise through Place Tips so it is an even playing field, based entirely on location and relevance.

Disadvantages of Facebook Bluetooth beacons

Although the Place Tips feature is clearly an amazing step forward in social media marketing, the concept is not perfect and has its share of drawbacks.

Most effective for businesses with store fronts—especially retail

One of the downsides of this device is that it is most suitable for a brick and mortar business. This is because it targets people who are out and about, within direct access of a store. Small, online based businesses or those in more isolated areas won’t benefit nearly as much.

Technological learning curve

Although Facebook has designed this device to be as simple as possible, it may be off-putting to those who aren’t tech-savvy. That’s just on the business end. This device assumes that people are constantly checking Facebook. So, if a business’s demographic consists of people who aren’t accessing Facebook, or don’t have Bluetooth enabled devices, then this is rendered useless.

Privacy concerns of Facebook beacons

One issue that may arise among users is the potential for an invasion of their privacy. Facebook has already addressed these concerns sayings that, “They don’t collect any information from people or their phones or change the kind of location information Facebook receives.”  However, there is still a good chance that people may be put off by the device.

If that is the case, users have the option to disable the feature in several ways, such as turning off their internet connection or disabling the Place Tips feature directly through their settings.

How to sign up for Facebook beacons

Facebook claims that it can target potential customers better than any other social media company, but are they right? So far that seems to be the case, but Twitter is now announcing they will be stepping into the beacon marketing arena as well.

As of now, the Facebook Bluetooth beacons are free for a limited time. If you and your business are interested in using one of these devices, then fill out this form and you will be notified if and when you can have access to the device.

When free beacons are no longer available, they will be distributed for a low price. Facebook wants to encourage businesses to use their site, and these beacons offer a very tempting reason to hold it above the other social media sites.

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