of African American-owned small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook say that they built their business on the platform — nearly 2X as much as the general SMB population
of Latino-owned small and medium-sized businesses on the platform say that they've been able to hire more employees due to growth since joining Facebook — nearly 2X as much as the general SMB population
of Veteran-owned small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook say that the platform allows them to sell their products or services in other cities, states or countries — nearly 1.5x much as the general SMB population
See how American businesses are growing on Facebook
The PC Landing Zone
When business gets slow, I turn to Facebook and we see customers in the door the next day.
Victor Lezama always knew he wanted to be in the military, and that he loved learning about technology and fixing things. He spent 20 years in the Army and Marines working on avionics and electronics before retiring from the armed forces. In his new civilian life, he wanted to find a way to continue with his passion for technology. The PC Landing Zone was founded so Victor could continue to fix electronics and explore new technologies.
Since opening his doors in 2013, Victor has watched his business skyrocket. The secret to his success: Facebook.
He has used the social network since the first day, and he says 95 percent of his customers come from the site. He also uses Instagram and other digital marketing methods, but Facebook is what has made his business strong.
"We saw clientele come in at such a rapid rate that we had to start hiring people," he said. He saw 300 new customers in just a two-week period of using Facebook. Its ability to target the right demographic profile for his company was a game changer, leading to the opening of an additional location.
Victor also works on a nonprofit that gives back to veterans. He employs eight people, which is up from the two he employed when the business was first opened.
"Facebook has helped us spread the word faster than traditional methods" he says. "We hosted Bikelahoma, an event supporting the veteran community of Muskogee. We only used Facebook to advertise. We spent $1,000, reached over 80,000 people in five different states, and we had about 6,000 attend our first ever event raising over $7,000."
Betsy Boo's Boutique
Our success on Facebook not only led to $35,000 of sales in our first year of business, but we've been able to move into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and hire nine full-time staffers.
Betsy Harrison had it all: a beautiful and growing family, a successful career in real estate — and a great sense of fashion to boot. But, after welcoming her daughter in 2005, and finding herself back at work less than a week later, Betsy realized the cut-throat real estate business just wasn't for her. She noticed online fashion boutiques popping up on Facebook and, in 2012, decided to give it a try. "I started selling as a hobby in my basement, mainly to my Facebook friends,” Betsy says. "When I would tell people about Betsy Boo's, they would look at me like I was crazy, and that really gave me the drive to go for it.”
Betsy still posts new products and outfit ideas to the boutique’s Facebook Page, but the company has since added advertising to its Facebook strategy. Betsy Boo’s Boutique now boosts two posts each day, and runs special promotions and giveaways offering entire outfits, which it found were most popular among its audience. "We love using Audience Insights to learn new things about our target audience,” Betsy says. "We're now testing out Instagram to see how that might help us reach even more fashionistas.”
Betsy Boo's Facebook Page became so popular that, shortly after launching, Betsy started an ecommerce site to handle the pack of shoppers it attracted every day. The Facebook Page still directs 95% of the website's traffic and is responsible for reaching more than 90% of new Besty Boo's customers. "When we first started, we were strictly on Facebook,” Betsy says. "When we saw the growth potential and how fun it was, we decided to invest with Facebook to reach a larger audience, and we actually saw our sales triple.” Betsy Boo's made $35,000 in sales its first year. Now, thanks to Facebook, it's on track to hit $4 million in sales in 2017. "Our success on Facebook has not only led to an incredible sales growth,” Betsy adds, "but we've been able to move into a wonderful 10,000-square-foot warehouse and hire nine full-time staffers.”
Neon Retro Arcade
Mark Guenther, Mia Mazadiego Guenther
The success so far is beyond what we could have ever imagined and we know that it is thanks to Facebook and Instagram.
Mia Mazadiego Guenther, Co-Founder, Neon Retro Arcade
Mark Guenther loved to play pinball, and even had a vintage pinball machine in his dorm room. When he started dating Mia, he taught her how to play. It took some time, but Mia's suggestion that they use Mark's collection of games to bring joy to others made its way from a cool idea to something much more. From Mark's collection of arcade games and the couple's love of family and friends, Neon Retro Arcade was born. Before their dream became a reality, Mark and Mia had successful careers with the government, but something was missing. They knew they were missing their calling and that instinct paid off. But it wasn't always easy.
One hurdle was finding an affordable space for the arcade, and another one was getting the word out. In the Los Angeles area, there are millions of people and thousands of events going on all the time. That made building interest in Neon Retro Arcade a big endeavor. Mia's father helped them with the location, and then they started up a Facebook page to get people interested. They wanted to connect with customers and bring the community along on their journey.
Reaching out to Pasadena and innovating the area by bringing something new was a big goal for Mark and Mia. They considered other types of marketing, but ultimately decided that Facebook was getting the word out the way they wanted. They never even sent out a press release for the arcade, yet every major news outlet in L.A. has come to see them and find out what their business is all about. By establishing themselves through Facebook and connecting with people who share a passion for retro games, Mark and Mia have made Neon Retro Arcade into a must-have experience.
Through various Facebook marketing tools, including boosted posts, they were able to reach tens of thousands of people. The company grew rapidly from there and now employs seven people. All of the company's marketing is done on Facebook and Instagram.
"Facebook has been a huge part of our success, for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising," says Mark. "In fact, our lifetime ad spend on Facebook is less than 1 percent of our total sales. Comparatively, 26 weeks of a small print ad in a local paper cost us roughly the same, but Facebook brought in 17 times more business."
San Francisco, CA
Amy Norman, Stella Ma
It was really when we discovered Facebook that we were able to see that hockey stick growth.
In 2009, best friends Stella and Amy were young moms with a passion. They worked from their homes helping young kids learn about the world. They launched Little Passports to give children the ability to see and experience the world through the eyes of characters the duo created. When a character visits a country, subscribers get a package in the mail. Not only do they get to "travel" the world and learn about new cultures, but they get tangible evidence of all the great things that can be found in that locale.
By 2016, the had become a nearly $30 million global venture with significant growth ahead of them. While most of the customers are from the U.S., a significant percent of business originates in international markets. There was great consumer interest in the company from the beginning, but it wasn’t until Stella and Amy discovered Facebook that their business really took off. With four million delivered experiences, Little Passports has taught so many children about cultures in other locations.
What started out as a small endeavor, with clients in the U.S. and Canada, has grown to ship to far away locations such as the UK, Australia, and Singapore, mostly thanks to the amazing reach provided by Facebook. Shipping to other countries seemed daunting at first, but Facebook quickly proved to Stella and Amy that there was a market for Little Passports worldwide. Testing to see if people wanted what Little Passports had to offer, at a price that was cost effective for the company, was easy to do through Facebook tools, helping the co-founders make decisions about which countries they wished to target.
Both Stella and Amy believe that they could not have had this same level of success without Facebook.
"We have come so far and we have so much more to do. We have over 40 employees, four different subscription lines and our first book in market," says Amy. "We are building the next great children’s brand and Facebook is a major part of that journey."
Love Your Melon
Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller
The impact that we could have through Facebook to get in front of a huge audience created an issue where we couldn’t make enough hats to supply demand.
Zachary and Brian took an entrepreneurship class together at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. On Oct. 22, 2012, during one of those classes, they founded Love Your Melon, an apparel company that provides hats to cancer patients. The duo’s mission was to improve the lives of children who were battling cancer, and it all started with the idea of getting every one of them a hat. With the power of Facebook at their disposal, Zachary and Brian set off to achieve their dream.
Many children lose their hair to the chemotherapy treatment that most cancer battles require, and having a hat can help protect them from the weather and keep them from feeling too self-conscious.
"We weren’t entirely sure how we were going to execute our business plan on a national scale, but we knew we would never be able to do it without Facebook," said Zachary. "We tapped into the social network’s seemingly endless business-friendly tools and the rest, as they say, is history."
The first goal was to provide 45,000 hats — one for each child who was fighting a cancer battle in the United States. Thanks to a national effort launched on Facebook, that goal was quickly met, so Love Your Melon set another goal. Now they wanted to give $1 million to pediatric cancer research, so they could provide further support to children and their families.
To date, the company has provided 110,000 hats to cancer patients and $2.6 million to cancer research. They will continue to provide more, and one of the ways they have been able to do that is through getting the word out on Facebook.
"The people who can watch the company meet milestones on Facebook feel like they are a part of our growth," said Zachary. "And that encourages them to help us do even more to help pediatric cancer patients."
When they created their Facebook page, they received 400 "Likes" the very first night. They knew there was something special going on, and that helped them move forward. Now there are 16 people on their team, and both social media content and ads are coordinated. Love Your Melon knows that "providing a company like ours an opportunity to get our message out there wouldn't have happened without Facebook, and it is the best advertising platform for our needs."
Facebook helps us use our superpowers as a small business to stand up for things that we believe in.
Jody Hall always loved the human connection she experienced at the coffee shops around her native Seattle, and she knew she wanted to be a part of that community. After a trip to Manhattan, and a treat from the famed Magnolia Bakery, she realized her place in the Seattle food scene—and set off to open Cupcake Royale, the first cupcake shop in the coffee-crazed city. "My friends thought I was crazy; nobody had a cake made from scratch," Jody says. "But we put cupcakes on the map on the West Coast, and started something of a third-wave movement."
Cupcake Royale claimed its Page as soon as Facebook became available to local businesses. "At Cupcake Royale, our mission is to be the most joyful part of a person’s day," Jody says. That extends to Facebook, where Jody and her team engage with fans by sharing delicious new cupcake flavors and special sales, and run ads promoting seasonal cupcakes—like its St. Patrick’s Day cupcake or its Valentine’s Day packages. But the Cupcake Royale team goes beyond promotions. They connect with their community on Facebook by encouraging people to purchase cupcakes that come with a charitable donation. One dollar from the sale of every Gay cupcake, for instance, is donated to the It Gets Better Project; the shop also donated 10% of its sales on Indigenous Peoples Day to the United Indians of All Tribes organization.
In fact, the small cupcake shop has become a real charitable force in its community. Cupcake Royale donates upwards of 50,000 cupcakes to different causes every year, while its Gay cupcake helps the brand donate $15,000 to the It Gets Better Project annually—a figure that grows thanks to its promotions on Facebook. In fact, the popularity of its Facebook Page has enabled the company to make a national name for itself: it now ships cupcakes to 34 states across the US. And its success hasn’t just translated to charity. Over the years, Cupcake Royale opened five additional locations, and often hires its staff through Facebook’s job postings. "The success we’ve had with Facebook is really encouraging," Jody says, "so we spend more time there, are more willing to spend more money there, and are seeing more bang for our buck there."
Waffles and Whatnot
Facebook has been instrumental in Waffles and What-Not's success.
Derrick Green, Owner & Founder, Waffles and Whatnot
In 2016, after serving 18+ years in the Army, Derrick Green decided to take a sabbatical from serving the country to see if he could follow another dream – opening a business. During the sabbatical, he created a 21-day pop up shop selling waffles from a picnic table in Anchorage, Alaska. The pop up and waffle recipe were such a hit that Derrick decided to build a business out of it - Waffles and Whatnot was born.
Waffles and Whatnot has evolved over time. The first iteration was a pop up, the second was a mobile food truck, and the third was a restaurant located on a military base. With the restaurant and the mobile food truck, Derrick learned he had a passion for developing fellow food entrepreneurs. That’s where the “Whatnot” portion of his business name comes in. Derrick knows first-hand how hard it is to get a business started, so he donates his time, mobile food truck space, and menu to fellow foodies who want to start a business.
Facebook has been there to help Derrick both personally and professionally. Derrick first discovered the power of Facebook when he established a Page to share his "Stop Talking, Start Walking" journey - a 22-day walk to raise awareness of veteran suicide. When it came time to start his business, he knew Facebook would play a big role. Derrick first used his Page to build awareness of Waffles and Whatnot in his Anchorage community.
Today, Derrick invests a small amount in Facebook on a weekly basis to promote his restaurant and menu items to the local Anchorage community. He even invests in ads promoting the fellow food entrepreneurs he features on his mobile food truck, giving them not only a physical space to learn, but a platform to get the word out. Derrick’s strategy, motivated by his desire to give back to his community, is proving successful. He is preparing to open a second location and Waffles and Whatnot was named the best food establishment in Anchorage in 2016.