Facebook for Businesses: Using Social Networking as a Marketing Tool

With the growing popularity of social networking, Facebook can serve as an effective business tool for marketing and advertising. A Facebook business page can increase consumer awareness about products or services, draw new customers into the fold and provide a different way for consumers to interact with a business. By creating a free business page on Facebook, taking advantage of the various applications offered and considering the inexpensive advertising options, a business can provide an accessible online presence that reaches consumers in a more personalized manner. Businesses interested in creating Facebook pages can do so rather quickly. These business pages allow users to become “fans” with the simple click of a button. This feature is advantageous because fans can share any updates and information about a business with all the Facebook users in their networks. Whenever a business adds an update about a product or service, makes an announcement or adds an event to its Facebook page, not only does it appear on its page, it is also sent to fans, who have the option of displaying this information on their user walls where it can be viewed by many people. Facebook is a rather user-friendly platform, and no special skills are required of its users. It is important, however, for a business not to confuse a personal Facebook site with the more-restrictive page option and the inability to possess a fan club, as this is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service and can result in removal. Although the business page option does not allow inclusion of the many personal applications offered on Facebook, businesses can still find many creative uses of the approved applications for business promotion by targeting their markets. A business should use its main website to advertise its Facebook page and offer visitors the ability to become fans. Some businesses provide customers who become fans with coupons, early notifications about events or other incentives that encourage participation as fans. Fans can leave business reviews, share comments or respond to any information that appears on the business’ page. The business page’s moderator can control all information that appears on the page, including reviews, comments, images, videos and links of interests. A business can make use of a Facebook page by including items such as a new television commercial, pertinent photos and resources for customers. A creative page creator can make use of Facebook applications, such as the inclusion of relevant book lists, appropriate games, related amusements or a list of causes that a business supports. These applications can demonstrate a business’ character, which provides users with a more personal view and increased level of interaction. In addition to word-of-mouth, user-to-user and main website-based advertising to promote a page, Facebook also offers several inexpensive advertising options that are flexible enough for a business to promote either its Facebook page, its main website or a specific event or product. A business can create a small advertisement that appears on Facebook’s advertising space, which is the far right column on users’ Facebook sites. The benefit of this advertising method is the ability to target the kinds of users to whom the advertisement will appear. A business can target a group by such criteria as age, location and interests. In addition, an advertising campaign can begin, end or change as a business sees fit. A Facebook page can become a business tool that uses the power of social networking to increase consumer awareness, expand its customer base and provide an additional method of engaging and accessible interaction. User-friendly and extremely popular, Facebook business pages can become effective marketing tools that allow businesses to keep customers updated, while taking advantage of online social networking’s increasing popularity.

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