Of all the rides at SMB Digital Marketing Carnival, the longest line is at the Facebook funhouse. A whopping 13 million SMB pages are active on Facebook. And to help manage the lines, Facebook is making plans to reach out to anyone in the business of selling advertising to local businesses.
Dan Levy, director of small business for Facebook, is at the center. Prepping for his presentation at the 2013 Local Online Advertising Conference next month (see agenda here), Levy told me Facebook is looking for media companies that have “reach and relationships” into the local SMB marketplace.
“We have heard from many innovative companies who are helping small businesses on Facebook,” Levy said. “And their work has happened without any support from us. Obviously we’re interested in their feedback and in figuring out the best way to help them and the many small businesses who want to engage with their customers.”
Facebook wants to be a good partner company. “The biggest theme is that we want to do this in partnership with others,” he said.
Wouldn’t Facebook rather cut out the middleman, go direct, and let SMBs handle the marketing themselves?
“In an ideal world, all SMBs would come to Facebook to manage their own pages,” he said. “But our recognition is that there are folks who have those trusted relationships with SMBs,” and Facebook wants to work with them.
While I don’t know how close this will come to replicating Google’s or Yahoo’s reseller programs, I do know that Facebook is an unstoppable force. There’s a rumbling on the tracks that’s bound to cause ad revenues to explode as local businesses try to figure out how to slip into the wine-supping circles at the Social Media cocktail party. Here’s proof:
- When 1,410 SMBs were asked, “On what types of online advertising do you expect to spend money in 2013?” the largest percentage (29%) was “Place ads directly with Facebook.” (To download the full results of the SMB survey taken in Dec/Jan 2013, go to www.borrellassociates.com/SMB2013.)
- In that same survey, when they were asked, “On which social network does your company maintain a site?” 99% of them said Facebook and the average number of fans per company was over 1,000. (See URL above to view survey results.)
- In Facebook’s latest earnings release on Jan. 30th, the company said its advertiser clients had doubled in the past year and that more than half a million advertisers are now using Facebook’s “promoted posts” tool.
Can Facebook attract and manage multiple sales partners like Yellow Pages, newspaper, radio, TV and Internet pureplay sellers in the same market? Can you say herding cats?
The pieces of the puzzle aren’t in place, but Levy said to expect announcements in the coming months as Facebook unveils them.
I’m thinking that the Facebook’s plan to reach SMBs has got some serious legs. Maybe even Usain Bolt legs. It could be more fast-growing and viable than the reseller programs that Google and Yahoo launched several years ago with media partners and local sellers. And selling guided tours of the Facebook funhouse could provide a very comfortable living for anyone who knows and understands the nuances of social media.