Visa Inc. unveiled the Visa Business Network (www.visabusinessnetwork.com), the first-ever application dedicated to connecting small businesses on Facebook. The Visa Business Network has been created with small businesses, for small businesses, and is a unique environment built on Facebook Platform for the small business arena. To celebrate this initiative, Visa will award a total of $2 million in Facebook advertising credit to help small business owners reach new customers and drive new growth.
The Visa Business Network combines Facebook Platform, and its ability to deliver innovative applications on Facebook, with the global leader in small business payment services, Visa. This inventive new site can help small business owners easily tap into a global network of peers and advisers from among the more than 80,000 small businesses already on Facebook. It will also provide small business owners with valuable business tools and help them efficiently identify and target thousands of prospective customers. This one-stop resource will empower small business owners to expand their customer base, manage their business better and exchange ideas with other businesses and trusted advisers.
“Visa has been working closely with small businesses for many years, and we know that they are anything but small. Small businesses have big ideas, big expectations and big ambitions. We established the Visa Business Network to help them thrive and grow,” said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa Inc. “Working with Facebook, Visa is breaking new ground by harnessing social networking to connect business owners. We are putting the power of the network in the users’ hands, and it will be fascinating to see how the community evolves.”
Visa focuses on enabling small businesses to pursue their passions by providing payment products that help them succeed. The Visa Business Network builds on that by providing small businesses with networking capabilities that will help to grow their business, get support to manage it more effectively. In creating the Visa Business Network, Visa and Facebook focused on these three needs:
* Connect with others — Networking is an essential part of a small business’ success; it helps owners grow and manage their business. The Visa Business Network is a simple way to find and network with other business owners for new business, best practices, advice or support. The network enables small business owners to search for and connect with relevant businesses.
* Manage more efficiently– Small business owners can access tools kits from content partners that provide easy-to-use products, including Google DocsTM, Google CalendarTM, and Google SitesTM, to help increase business efficiency. Small business owners can also quickly get an online presence through Google MapsTM. In partnership with The Wall Street Journal marketing, small business owners can also “Ask the Experts.” They can connect with leading small business experts from Entrepreneur by participating in Q&A forums and expert advice columns. Also in partnership with All Business, Forbes.com, Fast Company and Microsoft, Visa is providing small business owners with exclusive access to small-business news feeds, videos, blogs and editorial commentary about issues such as cash flow management, new ways to attract customers and cost management.
* Grow business — Small business owners can grow their business by reaching more than 80 million active users worldwide and more than 80,000 small businesses on Facebook. People can stay connected with their friends and peers and the people around them. Facebook users communicate and share information through the social graph — digital mapping of the connections and relationships between people that exist in the real world. It’s the power of the social graph that helps business owners connect with one another and connect with their customers on Facebook. In addition, Facebook Ads allow businesses to deliver relevant advertising that can be targeted to users based on their interests.
“Facebook plays a central role in people’s daily lives by helping them communicate and share information with the people they know,” said Dan Rose, vice president of business development at Facebook. “With more than 80 million active users worldwide, Facebook gives small businesses a great opportunity to connect with their customers and other business owners. We are proud to work with Visa on the Visa Business Network to bring even more tools to small businesses.”
Business owners Vivian Wang and Ingrid Chen, of San Francisco-based Viv&Ingrid, Co. jewelry, see the Visa Business Network as a valuable tool to help find advisers, peers and new customers. “As a small business, connection is extremely important to our ability to grow,” said Wang and Chen. “Just as we have to stay connected to trends in jewelry and fashion, we also have to connect with our customers to remain competitive. With the Visa Business Network, building and maintaining those relationships will be easy and access to expert resources will help grow our business.”
Getting Started Couldn’t Be Easier Joining the Visa Business Network is not only simple, but rewarding. Visa will provide the first 20,000 U.S.-based businesses that join the Visa Business Network with a $100 Facebook Ads credit, allowing business owners to reach the exact audience they want on Facebook through advanced targeting capabilities. Facebook Ads allow businesses to deliver relevant advertising for users based on their interests as well as targeting categories such as location, age and gender. Small business owners can quickly create their Facebook account by logging on to Facebook. From there, they can visit www.visabusinessnetwork.com on Facebook to join the Visa Business Network.
For more information about Visa Small Business, visit www.visa.com/smallbusiness.
NOTE TO REPORTERS/EDITORS: Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa; Dan Rose, Vice President, Business Development, Facebook; and Alex Craddock, Head of Small Business Marketing, Visa will host a taped video web conference today at 9 a.m. PDT/12 p.m. EDT. To view, visit www.facebook.com/visabusinessnetwork. Broadcast quality footage of the web conference is available by visiting www.thenewsmarket.com/visa.
Visa Inc. operates the world’s largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.