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For Merchants, Facebook's Value Can't Be Beat

Posted on 2.20.2011

Two new studies conducted independently of one another have arrived at the same conclusion – that Facebook marketing pays off for small businesses on the Web.

Daily deals site ChompOn has attempted to determine the actual short-term values that different social media marketing actions bring to businesses, with some interesting results. The company analyzed the conversion rates of websites for which it ran deals and marketed through Facebook and Twitter, calculating the gross revenues that each social action brought to the sponsors of every deal.

ChompOn determined that the action with the highest value was a Facebook Share, worth $14 apiece to the gross revenues. Facebook Likes were the next valuable action at $8 apiece, followed by Tweets at $5 and Twitter Follows at $2. What the study admittedly could not quantify was the longer-term value that these social marketing actions provide companies in terms of customer loyalty.

Those are pretty impressive returns for what are essentially free marketing channels, which brings us to the study conducted by MerchantCircle – the largest online network of local business owners in the U.S. The quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey of more than 8,500 small and local business owners reveals that Facebook is now the most widely used online marketing method for local merchants, overtaking the top spot from Google.

Facebook marketing among local merchants jumped from 50 percent to 70 percent in the past year, followed by Google at 66 percent and Twitter at 40 percent. Another 32 percent of local merchants said they use Facebook Places for location check-ins, compared to just 9 percent that have used Foursquare.

An important note to take away from the MerchantCircle survey is that because 75 percent of respondents said they lacked sufficient knowledge of mobile marketing strategies, only 15 percent of local merchants are presently engaged in a mobile marketing campaign.

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