I get asked all the time what makes Storeboard different from Facebook. Facebook is simply so ubiquitous that it's hard for anyone to imagine that there is any site that could have something Facebook doesn't or that Facebook may not be the answer to everyone's needs on the Internet.

I remind people that at one time there was ABC, CBS, and NBC and now you would laugh at a Cable provider who didn't offer hundreds of channels! I remember when Fox came out and people weren't sure if a fourth network could survive. It is very similar now to Facebook's dominance. It is hard for anyone to imagine that there could be another social media network. Similar to television channels, there will be other major social networks.

Before I go on to tell you about Storeboard, let me say one thing. I am a huge Facebook Fan. I think it is absolutely brilliant. The technology, presentation, and marketing are all top notch and will provide numerous case studies for MBA students for many years to come. Facebook also has thousands of super employees including top notch programmers, marketing gurus, and the finest professionals. Facebook has revolutionized the Internet. I think it can actually be a catalyst for World Peace - need I say more?

When I tell people that our competition is Facebook, people shun the comparison. It's as if to say they are telling me: "Please don't say that. It's not possible to compete with Facebook. Why would you want to? Why do we need another platform?" Rather than intriguing most people, it actually seems to disturb anyone to think that Facebook, now an American icon and the embodiment of the American Dream, could ever be outdone or improved upon.

So how could a small start up from New Jersey (nonetheless) ever compete with Facebook?

What if I told you that this startup is headed up by a former real estate developer with no tech experience who went bust in the real estate meltdown? What if the company's only programmer was a British guy living in Mexico who used to work for the Weather Bureau of the UK. What if there was only these two guys? And I forgot to tell you - they have no VC backing! Would you believe they had a shot? Most (maybe all!) say no way. We've been dismissed as two guys working out of a garage who have no idea what we are doing.

So how could a small start up from New Jersey (nonetheless) ever compete with Facebook? Without further adieu - here is how Storeboard has tried to improve upon the Facebook experience:

1. Focus - Storeboard is focused on small businesses getting their messsage out there. Sure we have some big companies on Storeboard but we focus on being the best social media site in the world for mom and pop businesses, home based businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups. We are hyper focused on improving our platform so any business can do business in their community or around the world without spending a dime on advertising!

While other major players like Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook focus on paid advertising, Storeboard focuses on free advertising.

2. Combines Social, Directory, Marketplace , and Classified Sites Into One! - Storeboard combines the major elements found in Social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, Directory sites like yellowpages.com and Merchant Circle, Marketplace sites like Amazon and eBay, and Classified sites like Craigslist and Backpage.

All aspect of these types of sites is integrated into one site. If you want to associate a video you have uploaded with a classified ad, there is no need to upload it again. You can simply select it from a dropdown. The integration of these site types allows the user to perform many popular activities under one roof with more ease.

3. Custom Profiles - When you join Storeboard, you will immediately notice that you have to select a profile type. In order to facilitate viewing of different businesses, Storeboard uses profile templates that look the same but differ according to the type of business. For example, if you are a store selling products, you will have a Products tab whereas a restaurant will have that same tab allocated to a Menu tab. By homogenizing the profiles, Viewers can quickly cut through the chase. They know where to find things. They know what information and media fields "hold" and what can vary.

If you want to perform a search for "Hotels in San Francisco" on Google, you will be directed to a myriad of websites. On Expedia, however, if you perform the same search you will be presented with a wide array of hotels all presented in a homogeneous profile. The content will vary but the presentation holds. This facilitates search and the use of filters. Storeboard business profiles are designed to operate in a similar fashion.

4. Your Profile Aggregates Your Media - On Storeboard, you aggregate all your videos, blogs, images, coupons, and other types of media. While they are posted, they don't descend over time. They are always accessible by clicking on a button like Videos. You can see every video you ever posted. Instead of posting on a virtual bulletin board that either gets covered up or taken down, your media is tucked away in virtual shoebox that can be accessed over and over. Remember that video you posted two years ago? It's still there on your Storeboard profile.

5. Your Can Search Media - When you post media on Facebook, it resides on your wall and may get displayed on your friends wall. However, it can't be found by anyone else. In contrast, when you post a public video on Youtube it becomes searchable. Facebook does not have a search mechanism for media.

When you post on Storeboard, your video, blog, coupon, image, or ads are all catalogued and searchable. People can discover you or your business that wouldn't otherwise by discovering your postings.

6. Sharing Is Encouraged - When you post on Facebook, you can't turn around and share that posting on all the other social networks. Facebook is recently starting to integrate with Twitter but widely distributing your Facebook postings is not possible.

Storeboard facilitates sharing your Storeboard postings on over 300 other sites. Everything you post on Storeboard gets assigned a unique URL and can be easily shared on other networks. This allows for a wider distribution of your content and generates publicity for your business.

7. Storeboard Helps Build Your Audience - When you post something on Facebook, your postings show up on your Friend's walls but how do you reach people who are not your Friends? What is you don't have a lot of Friends? How can other people find you and learn about what's happening in your business? On Facebook, its your job to attract people to your page.

On Storeboard, your postings immediately appear in several areas on the site. For example, when you post a Blog, it displays on the Main Board so everyone can view it. Your Blog also appears in the Blog section at the top based on when it was posted but also in the Category that it is under. There is a blog widget on the Main Board which will also display your Blog. It will remain on your Profile. Storeboard assists you in getting your media out there so it can be seen.

Summary

As you can see, there are numerous differences between Storeboard and Facebook. Facebook was created for personal use with a heavy emphasis on sharing and distributing images.

Storeboard is designed for small business. It was conceived to cut advertising costs not to create alternative way for businesses to pay for advertising. While there are numerous challenges that lie ahead for Storeboard, I hope that you can appreciate the what's different about Storeboard and how posting on Storeboard can help your business. By the way, Storeboard is a free service!

David Waller is the Founder and CEO of Storeboard.com - The Social Media Site for Business. He has owned numerous businesses including a paper route, a disc-jockey service, a commercial cleaning company, a residential cleaning service, a window washing company, a law practice, a construction company, a property management company, and a real estate investment company. For the past 5 years he has lived and breathed Storeboard.com.

Written By: Storeboard.com
Location: 419 Lafayette Street
New York, New York
Phone: (800) 242-4805