Facebook has grown rapidly and continues to do so. Today this social Website is used by a wide range of demographics, including business decision makers. Consider how this social networking site is an incredibly useful and powerful tool for businesses:
Great, free exposure
One of the best aspects of Facebook is that it’s free. Facebook lets you create a professional profile for your business where people can “like” it and become fans. With your business page, you can link to your Website, blog, Twitter or any other links that might be relevant. The links established on Facebook are valuable because they enhance your search visibility. Search engines recognize Facebook and other Social Media sites as trusted, established Websites. This means the links pointing to your site from Facebook or Twitter are more valuable than the ones coming from spammy Websites.
In addition to link building, Facebook helps your business gain exposure by allowing you to network with fans. As a brand, you can interact with other companies and industry resources with business pages. By writing relevant posts on other people's profiles or Pages, you’ll gain credibility from your fans and make new ones. Replying to posts from your fans shows them that you acknowledge and care about their thoughts and questions, thus building trust and credibility. Whereas a business that ignores posts and is not interactive with fans leads those people to take their business elsewhere. A good example of a business that interacts well with followers on Facebook is Target. Target regularly posts interactive content on their Facebook page, such as polls and photos that engage fans, and Target consistently comments back.
Marketing and ad opportunities
In addition to creating a page for your business, there are many other Facebook applications that you can use to your business’s advantage. These apps are a great way to market your brand's services and products, as well as show people what you do. Some of these applications include:
• Social RSS - Link your business’ blog to your Facebook using RSS. Fox News has a Facebook welcome page where they link to their outside sites, with one of the links pointing to their RSS feed.
• Twitter - Integrate your corporate Twitter account on your business’ Facebook page. You can update your Twitter right from Facebook and vice-versa. Check out Baskin Robbins Facebook page to see how they integrated their Twitter into their Information page.
• Recommendations - The recommend button allows you to recommend pages, places, and products to your friends on Facebook. Ask your customers to leave recommendations based on their experiences with your company.
In addition to these free apps, businesses can also take advantage of ad space. The right hand side of Facebook is dedicated to targeted ads. Your business can advertise to specifically targeted audiences. You can choose your ads to appear to Facebook users based on their location, use of keywords, relationship status, age, birthday, education, gender, work place, language and even target based on what pages people like or applications people use. If you know your business’ demographics, these ads can be very powerful.
Facebook is not going away
The Web has evolved from a place where people used to go to access information to what is now called Web 2.0; a place where people interact via platforms such as forums, blogs and social media like Facebook. Facebook isn’t a fad. 7 years ago it was a work in progress in a Harvard University dorm room and now it has more than 800 million active users worldwide.
According to Facebook, there are more than 900 million objects that people interact with, which include Business Pages. Businesses are taking advantage of this constantly growing and popular site to network and promote their business. Ignoring Facebook for your business will not only put you at a disadvantage, but it will also give your rivals the competitive edge. So make sure you take advantage of all Facebook has to offer for your business!