Businesses turn to Facebook to lure in customers

September 16, 2011 8:50:25 PM PDT
The rough economy is forcing both local businesses and people who need jobs to look for new ways to make a buck. Many of them are turning to Facebook.

Brenda Vo used to advertise her salon in the newspaper. She got about two new customers for every ad. But then she started running a special: $5 off if you check in on Facebook.

"Friends will see that they check in, and the next thing you know they will talk about what they got done in the salon," Vo said.

For every check-in, Vo estimates she gets five new customers.

"So far, it has helped my business so much; I've only been here 2.5 years and we have more clients than we can handle," Vo said.

Facebook Small Business Initiatives Vice President Grady Burnett says for a business, a friend's referral is worth its weight in gold.

"If you think about how people discover businesses or find jobs, it's often through your friends, and Facebook has created an environment where that can happen incredibly fast," Burnett said.

It's why Facebook sells what it calls "Ads with Friends," displayed with a little endorsement by someone you know.

"My friends would see it saying, 'Grady likes this,' and my ability to recall that ad is increased by 68 percent," Burnett said.

Unlike regular advertising, social networks really are a two-way street. Businesses can use them to find customers, but people can also use them to find jobs.

Danny Zhen saw a Facebook post looking to hire a stylist. He's working toward his cosmetology license, but he doesn't have it yet.

"So I decided to call Brenda and said, 'OK, is there anything I can do besides being a stylist that I can be in this field,'" Zhen said.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg says if you're looking for work, prospective employers might just read the writing on the wall -- your wall, that is.

"If you're looking for a job, you should be telling the people you know you're looking, but if you do that in a status update or a post, you can tell all of your friends and then they can pass it on to their friends," she said.

Nielsen, the same company that does television ratings, did a study of the ads with your friends' names; it turns out people are four times more likely to buy a product if their friend's name appears somewhere in the ad.

Load Comments