What is Facebook Beacon and Does Your Business Need it?

Businesses are founded on relationships. You're not just focused on selling a product or service to someone - you started a business because you wanted to make their life better in some way. Your success on these terms - and the consumer's acknowledgement of it - acts as the rock-solid foundation from which all of your relationships are formed.

All of this is to say that if you're given a new opportunity to hone and cultivate those relationships - particularly one that uses the power of modern technology to your advantage - you're at least going to want to sit up and pay attention. Such is the case with Facebook Beacons - a relatively new concept that could make a major difference in terms of how well you're able to develop relationships moving forward.

What is a Facebook Beacon?

A Facebook Beacon is a small, wireless, Bluetooth-powered device that allows you to establish a direct connection between the beacon itself and the smartphones of the customers shopping inside your store. This powerful connection can be used to directly send timely information to consumers to enhance their in-store experiences in a number of meaningful ways. Facebook makes these beacons available for free for all businesses who choose to request them.

Thanks to the malleability of Facebook Beacons as a device, you can instantly send consumers more information about the products that they're browsing, make recommendations about related products that may have otherwise gone unnoticed, send timely and targeted promotions to encourage people to come down off the fence and make a purchase and so much more. Even something as simple as sending customers a welcome note and a photo, or prompting them to like your Facebook page and check-in, can ultimately make a big difference in terms of building and strengthening these ever-important relationships moving forward.

Are Facebook Beacons Right for Your Business?

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Facebook Beacons to small businesses in particular is that they're "hyper local". By directly targeting people in the immediate area, you're reaching them at a critical time in your relationship: The point where they actually have the ability to make a purchase. Television ads, newspapers and even websites do not afford you this opportunity.

Facebook Beacons are also a hugely efficient way to increase social media engagement among consumers, particularly among people who are already Facebook account holders. Facebook Beacons make it easier than ever to not only allow people to follow your business on Facebook, but to interact with others who do the same. By providing potential new customers a brief glimpse into what your company is, what it does and why this all matters, you're taking yet another positive step to engage directly with the people who matter most in an intimate, emotional way.

None of this is to say that Facebook Beacons are an ideal solution for all types of businesses, however - far from it. By their very design, they're really only optimal for brick and mortar businesses in particular. You need the ability to target people who are within direct access of your store and who are most susceptible to the types of timely promotions and other information that you'll be sending them. If you run a small business in an isolated area, or one that doesn't actually deal with customers in any type of direct way (like if most of your efforts are online, for example), you won't benefit nearly as much from a Facebook Beacon as others.

Creating Better, More Organic Connections With a 21st Century Audience

The chances are high that your business is already on Facebook, as are the vast majority of the consumers that you interact with on a daily basis. From that perspective alone, there really is no solid reason why you should not begin experimenting with Facebook Beacon technology sooner rather than later. Provided that you're operating the type of benefit that can make the most of the many different advantages that the beacons bring to the table, you'll be able to do something far more powerful than just send someone a well-timed coupon every now and again.

You'll be strengthening your relationship with your audience members on an individual basis, both for now and for all time. The importance of this is ultimately something that you just can't put a price on.

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