What Does "Poke" Mean on Facebook? An In-Depth Look for Small Businesses

Facebook‘s poke feature may seem like an outdated gimmick, but it can still be a strategic communication tool for small businesses if used properly. As a small business consultant, I‘ve seen companies successfully incorporate poking into their social media marketing and customer engagement efforts. Here‘s what small businesses need to know.

A Brief History of Poke on Facebook

Poke was introduced all the way back in 2004 as a simple way to get someone‘s attention. By 2009, over 500 million pokes were being sent per day. But usage has declined dramatically since then:

  • In 2012, only 5 million people used poke per day.
  • By 2016, poke engagement had dropped 95% since 2010.

Today, less than 1% of Facebook actions are pokes, according to Facebook data.Decline in poke usage largely correlates with the shift to mobile and the growth of alternative messaging options.

Who Still Uses Poke on Facebook?

Despite the overall decrease, poke still enjoys niche popularity among particular demographics:

  • Teenagers and young adults familiar with old-school Facebook culture
  • Long-time Facebook users feeling nostalgic
  • Those in remote areas with limited internet who rely on simple Facebook features

Some customer groups like poking for the fun and spontaneity of it. Businesses targeting these groups may benefit from thoughtful poke integration.

Should Small Businesses Use Facebook Poke?

Using poke allows small businesses to:

  • Get attention: Pokes stand out from crowded newsfeeds.
  • Be playful: Pokes are a more casual way to engage.
  • Reach niche demographics: Some groups still enjoy poking.
  • Drive traffic: Pokes can direct customers to content or promotions.

However, poking also carries risks like coming across as unprofessional, annoying customers, or attracting internet trolls. Follow best practices to poke effectively.

Poking Best Practices for Small Business

  • Poke sparingly – no more than once per week per customer
  • Poke only loyal customers who opt in or don‘t mind
  • Pair pokes with promotions like contests or giveaways
  • Poke strategically around holidays for humor and nostalgia
  • Never poke customers who requested no contact

The Future of Poke and Small Business

While poke usage continues to decrease, some businesses will likely find creative ways to incorporate it into campaigns – similar to Snapchat filters or Instagram reels.

As my fellow small business owners know, succeeding requires embracing new technologies while still leveraging sometimes forgotten features like poke. With the right approach, poke can be an amusing and low-cost customer engagement tool.

Key Takeaways

  • Poke allows playful, nostalgic customer interactions on Facebook
  • Small businesses can use poke to get attention and reach niche groups
  • Avoid poke overuse and only poke appropriate customers
  • Pair pokes with promotions and campaigns for best results
  • With the right strategy, poke can aid small business social media efforts

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to share small business social media tips and tricks.