Facebook (FB), the social networking giant, isn't just about advertising. Companies, and specifically, small businesses, are using the platform to boost sales for their own businesses, and build brand awareness for Small Business Saturday (SBS), as they seek to cash in on the holiday shopping season.
In an email, Facebook noted that mentions related to Small Business Saturday were up 1,200% on Nov. 30, compared to the week prior. That's impressive, but Facebook's new initiative, hashtagging, may actually prove to be more fruitful for small businesses in the long run.
The hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday saw a 2,300% jump over the daily average in the week leading up to SBS. Facebook recently incorporated hashtagging into its platform, similar to what Twitter already has. Other hashtags, including #shopsmall and shop small, saw huge increases in mentions on Facebook, up 900% and 550%, respectively.
Buzz came from around the country as well, allowing small businesses throughout the country to benefit from the new shopping holiday. The top five locations talking about SBS on Facebook were California, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Illinois. These are some of the wealthier states in the nation, which allows Facebook to demonstrate the power of its social network.
This allows the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook to keep track of these kinds of statistics, and allow advertisers, and its 25 million small businesses, to more accurately measure return on investment. Given that Facebook generates the far majority of its revenue from advertising, anything it can do to help advertisers is a windfall for Facebook.
In the third-quarter, Facebook generated $2.02 billion in revenue, with $1.8 billion coming from advertising. Of that $1.8 billion in advertising revenue, mobile revenue accounted for 49% of that, equating to $881 million.
Small Business Saturday was primarily a female driven event, with four of the top five demographics being women. Given that females generally control the purchasing power in households, this is a welcome sign for both small businesses, and Facebook. It's one thing to advertise on a platform, be it on social networks, television or radio. It's another for the advertising to actually generate revenue for the company doing the advertising.