Four Ways the $50 Billion Facebook Valuation Impacts Small Business

by Kevin Casey on January 3, 2011
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Definitions of what constitutes a “small business” vary wildly, but it’s safe to say that if your company is worth $50 billion — as in nine zeroes — you don’t qualify.

That is Facebook’s value after its most recent round of funding, according to The New York Times, an eye-popping $500 million commitment from investment bank Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor. Goldman will also help Facebook raise up to an additional $1.5 billion as part of the deal.

Face it: Facebook hasn’t been small by any measure since well before it was assigned a value higher than, say, the GDP of Luxembourg. It claimed its 500 millionth user account last year — its days as a fledgling startup are long gone. But as social media becomes an increasingly mainstream marketing tool — with Facebook undoubtedly leading the charge — the news has considerable bearing on smaller businesses.

Here are four ways in which Facebook’s paper billions affect your business:

1) Facebook isn’t going anywhere any time soon – How’s that for a “duh” moment? But the fact is crucial for small businesses with limited human and financial resources: If you spend any amount of time or money developing a social media plan, you simply cannot afford to be on the wrong site at the wrong time. (Remember MySpace?) Playing catch-up is too costly. The digital landscape is ever-changing, but the last drops of doubt that Facebook has legitimate staying power should be drying up right about… now.

2) Facebook has the cash to compete for your cash – Local marketing across online and mobile channels has become its own industry. Just recently, Facebook was a key partner for American Express and its inaugural Small Business Saturday, offering $100 in free local advertising to independent businesses as part of the campaign. Don’t be surprised if Facebook makes an even bigger push into the local business advertising market: It has the bank balance necessary to go head to head with Google and other heavyweights in the fight for your budget.

3) Facebook’s profile is in a league of its own – For businesses just getting started with social media, the first question is often: Where? Or, the wordier version: With the countless (and counting) options for building a social media presence, where should a novice business begin? Answer: Facebook. There are plenty of sites that may be good fits for your business, but Facebook is officially the social network. (Didn’t you see the movie?) If nothing else, start with a basic Page for your business. Otherwise, it will be conspicuous in its absence.

4) Facebook Insights has the resources to mature Insights, which launched in 2010, enables businesses to begin to take the guesswork out their social presence by providing analytics tools to monitor data and trends on their Pages and applications. That’s critical intelligence for a small business looking to elevate its social status. The Goldman deal ensures that the product development coffers are flush.

Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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