For the second year, American Express and Facebook are sponsoring Big Break for Small Businesses, an initiative geared toward small businesses. The winner will not only receive a Facebook makeover from one of the site’s branding experts, but also $25,000 to put the advice into action.
The contest is being held on Amex’s OPEN Facebook Page. SmallBizTechnology’s Ramon Ray, who writes for Amex’s OPEN Forum, points out that every business benefits from entering. As Ray points out, all businesses receive educational and brand-building tools, as well as $50 in Facebook advertising credits. American Express cardholders and merchants who enter will receive $100 in Facebook advertising.
But is such a makeover relevant, when some businesses have ceased Facebook advertising efforts in recent months. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out recently, ad revenue for the site fell by half in the fourth quarter of 2011, then fell even further in early 2012. Advertising revenue is now at 21.2% of what it was in 2011, according to a report by research firm IDC.
“The effectiveness of advertising on Facebook is just really terrible,” Karsten Weide, IDC vice president of media and entertainment told the newspaper. “Advertisers are realizing that Facebook isn’t as effective as they first thought. They’re pulling their money and taking it elsewhere.”
GM is one of the latest. In May, the automaker’s global marketing chief announced the company was pulling paid ads from the site, deeming them ineffective. In recent weeks, though, Facebook has been working with GM to show how advertising on the site can pay off.
This may explain Facebook’s motive for hosting the contest for a second year in a row. The site stands to gain from getting small business owners excited about advertising on the world’s most popular social media network. But if Facebook users aren’t clicking through, is a Facebook makeover valuable?
Still, Facebook’s determined to conquer the field of advertising. The company is currently meeting with businesses to determine the best way to implement marketing campaigns that work. If this research brings success, small businesses may be poised at the beginning of a new successful marketing era for the company.
Even if advertising on Facebook isn’t a business’s preference, the contest will also award the winning businesses’ communities with a panel of experts to help with social media efforts. This panel will teach local entrepreneurs how to best utilize social media marketing to bring in business and build brand.
To enter, small businesses need only go to www.facebook.com/OPEN and complete a brief questionnaire. From the entries, ten finalists will be chosen, with five chosen from those ten by fans of Amex’s Facebook Open page. The deadline for entries is July 13.
SmallBizTechnology’s Ramon Ray is the author of The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing, set for release in November of this year. This guide to social media marketing walks small businesses through each step of the process, from setting up a great Facebook presence to taking advantage of the site’s marketing features. With help from members of Facebook’s own staff, Ray helps small businesses get the most out of the ultra-popular social media network.