With Facebook Canada releasing its user metrics today, marketers at small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) may want to pay attention to what those numbers could do for their companies.

About 19 million Canadians log into Facebook each month using desktop computers. Out of that number, 14 million of them are logging into the site everyday.

And of course, the number of Canadians using mobile devices to check their Facebook profiles isn’t lagging far behind. Among people connected using their phones and tablets, 13 million of them sign into Facebook each month, with 9.4 million of them doing that each day.

That means SMBs need to think about different strategies to market to Facebook users on desktop computers, versus Facebook users on mobile devices, says Robert Burko, the founder and CEO of Elite Email Inc. Based in Toronto, his company helps businesses market to customers using email and text messages.

Elite Email's Facebook page.
Elite Email’s Facebook page.

For example, by reaching out to Facebook users on their desktops, SMBs are opening up a lot of remarketing potential, he says. When potential customers visit the Elite Email site, for instance, they will get a cookie tracking their activity on the rest of the Internet. So when they visit other sites, including Facebook, they will see banner ads about Elite Email all over these pages. And the beauty of Facebook is that many users will log in more than once a day, he adds.

“The fact that Facebook is sticky and you keep logging in, now I have remarketing potential,” Burko says. “That, to me, is a huge opportunity. My advertising is essentially going to hang out wherever you’re hanging out, and that makes it really effective.”

In terms of a mobile strategy, ads don’t appear on Facebook’s mobile offerings because they won’t fit on the screens of most smartphones and tablets. So instead, SMBs can invest in Facebook’s sponsored posts, which appear alongside users’ friends’ posts on their news feeds.

That’s key, Burko says, because sponsored posts appear next to posts that users have demonstrated they are interested in. For example, the posts of friends who they follow regularly appear there, as well as posts that have received the most number of ‘Likes’ from other users.

“Within the world of Facebook, especially as [users are] looking on mobile … you’re in really good company because the psychology of the user is that they’re looking at stuff they really want to engage in and care about. And the business is sliding in there, saying, hey, you should really care about me,” he says.

Still, the real draw in using Facebook as a marketing tool is being able to target specific users, Burko says. Too many SMBs underestimate the power of a ‘Like’ of their company page.

“Most of the SMBs that I talk to understand that Facebook is a great social hub, and they know that Likes are good. But a lot of them have a tough time quantifying, what is the return on investment of a Facebook Like?” he says, adding there’s actually an “immense amount of value” to Likes as many SMBs don’t have the resources to pay for full-scale marketing campaigns.

“Conceivably, if this person likes you on Facebook for forever, you’re buying a lifetime of a marketing channel directly to that person. It’s great that they like you today, and it’s great that the number of Likes you have went up by one, and it’s great that you’re celebrating that.”

“But the real excitement is that you now have a person you can market to once every week, once every other week … without having to pay for that.”

Facebook’s announcement on its numbers comes as it launched a new program this week called Grand for Good, targeted at SMBs learning to market to customers. It connects them with media agencies that have learned different strategies on the social media network.

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  • WiMax

    “Conceivably, if this person likes you on Facebook for forever, you’re
    buying a lifetime of a marketing channel directly to that person.”

    You buy a lifetime of marketing only when you can communicate with the customer. If they are not reminded about your business on regular basis, they forget. How many people have liked hundreds of pages and then never give them a second thought?

    When Facebook changed their strategies to restrict a page owner from communicating with all of their followers, that is a serious impact on SMB.

    The biggest issue with FB’s revenue generating strategy is that they don’t tell page owners that there is no guarantee that postings will reach all of THEIR likes. When buying a posting, the system only says you are buying the right to reach “x number of people”. In other words, the paid ads are probably going to some likes and some others that the FB system thinks might be interested (ie paid spam). I continue to see all kinds of unsolicited postings in my news feed from companies I have never heard of. That is the definition of spam.

    As a social media strategist, I have followed General Motors’ lead and have all but abandoned FB. I have advised my clients to do the same.

    When these changes took place in 2011, it took me months to find out why my client was only reaching about 15% of their constituents. When we found out that FB wanted money to maintain the status quo, we estimated a monthly budget in the THOUSANDS of dollars per month, quite unaffordable.

    MY client admits that they put all their eggs in one basket (they used FB only) and, unfortunately, their revenues dropped more than 50% within six months after these changes.

    FB is no longer a significant tool for customer communication unless a business has deep pockets. I recommend a mix of Internet presence and encourage my customers to pay more attention to their website.

    It’s taken nearly two years for one client to recover, but now that they are using a mix of social media and concentrating on their website as the hub of activity, they are finally back where they were. That’s still not good because they should be beyond this.

    Proof that businesses should NEVER put all their eggs in one basket with respect to promotion and advertising and that FB could easily consume most of their ad budget.

  • WiMax

    Elite may have a good technology solution but if they were to survey people exposed to their system, I don’t think there would be a lot of impressed individuals. Tracking cookies are an intrusion into personal privacy. If a site wants to know a little about me, that’s one thing. But to install a tracking cookie is highly unethical. I don’t worry about it because I have technology that kills tracking cookies before they can be installed. My advice to companies like Elite: If you want to harvest my Internet activity and then sell it to customers, feel free to contact me to negotiate a royalty payment. I’ll gladly SELL you my information for a price.