Executive Summary: Who knows?
But here’s a data point of one:
The Main Street Meat N Fish Market recently opened in Pleasanton. My wife asked me to find their hours so I went to Google and queried “pleasanton meat n fish market“. At the top of the SERP was this result from Patch.com (congrats to them!) but no Google Place Page for the business. The Patch article pointed to their website, but it’s serving GoDaddy ads right now. I clicked on the Maps link to see if there was a local listing for this new biz but again there was nothing there.
I went back to the Web SERPs, scanned the results and found Main Street Meat N Fish Market’s Facebook Page, which, lo and behold, had their phone number and store hours, not to mention 151 fans (152 now). And check out how the Wall aspect of this page makes it so much more interesting than a Google Place Page that has a bunch of scraped data from all over the place:
This made me wonder if more new SMBs weren’t claiming/creating a Facebook page v. a Google Place Page. Inevitably many will do both, but Facebook may have the edge, particularly with new businesses.
A from-the-gut reasons why that could be happening – Many SMBs may already be on Facebook participating socially, so it’s not a big stretch to think that they would try to use their FB network to promote their biz. And it’s certainly easier than building your own website.
While probably 100% are “on” Google too, the relatively “dead” feeling of Google Place Pages and the lack of the social net on GOOG doesn’t provide the same community feel as these Facebook Pages. And a Google Place Page seems more like a “set it and forget it” kind of thing, while the SMB will likely visit its Facebook Page daily, and participate in the conversation there (if there is one of course).
A while ago I wondered aloud if Facebook was the new local Borg. It’s still too early to tell, but I know one purveyor of dead animals that was just assimilated.
Resistance doth indeed seem futile.
UPDATE: Just got a call from a friend in town. At the end of the conversation she said, “So you like the new meat market?” I said “huh?” She said “I saw you on their Facebook Page.”
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us…We are the Borg.