According to a new survey put out by Merchant Circle, 70 percent of all small businesses now market themselves on Facebook. This seems like a no-brainer. It's cheap, easy, and has 500 million users. The question is whether it's truly effective.
In other words, what's the ROI? Answering this question requires a few more brain cells.
A new report from Forrester Research also surveying businesses shows only 7 percent of those businesses listing social media as one of its top three sources for acquiring new customers. Direct mail ranked higher at 12 percent. Search engine marketing topped the charts at 90 percent. In other words, Mom was right; you get what you pay for.
All that aside, is Facebook's value supposed to be generating customer leads? I think it may be better for building repeat business among your existing customer base. For the small business, Facebook is a great way to have an online presence quickly and cheaply in those early days when you have neither the time nor money to invest in a full blown website. I do believe Facebook facilitates word-of-mouth advertising, as well.
Then again, I'm just a tech blogger. I would love to hear from small business owners reporting from the trenches. Tell us your stories.
Last updated: Apr 11, 2011
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio