500 million users. That’s how many people are on Facebook as of last summer. 7 hours. That’s how much time people spend on Facebook per month. Those are just some of the staggering stats on Facebook. If you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, let me explain Facebook in a nutshell. Facebook is a social network that allows people to keep up to date on the happenings in their friends’ lives by sharing pictures, status updates, videos, links, reviews, and much more. Facebook allows businesses to have business pages so they can keep their interested Facebook users updated on news, specials and conversations the business is having.
If you want to actively promote your business to the public, a Facebook business page is a great way to do it. Your prospects and clients are already spending time on there sharing photos of last week’s party, lol’ing with their buddies, and checking up on news from their favorite retailers and other businesses. A business page allows you to keep your message in front of your clients and prospects on a consistent basis.
Business pages are public, so you can keep the pictures of yourself by the pool on your private personal page, and allow the people who want to keep updated on your business keep informed just by clicking the “like” button on your business page.
I don’t think Facebook business pages will replace company websites. With all of the changes (which sometimes seem on a whim) to the Facebook rules, layout and privacy, I think people know that leaving their content and functionality in the hands of Facebook decision makers might not be the best idea. However, Facebook can be used as a communication channel to your followers to keep them informed and drive them to your website when they want to inquire more about what your business does and is therefore a great marketing tool.
Business pages are easy to set up. You need an email address other than the email address you have for your personal Facebook page (Facebook currently only allows one email address per account).
Once signed up, you can invite people to “like” your business page. You’ll start with a name like Facebook.com/MyBusiness/1673568487369343
Once you get 25 people to “like” your business page you can get rid of the junk on the end of the URL and get a vanity URL- so it would look like this: Facebook.com/MyBusiness. Ask your existing contacts to “like” your page so you can get your vanity URL quickly, then post it and link to it from everywhere, especially your website.
When a user “likes” your business page, they’re allowing your business updates to appear in their timeline. Please don’t abuse this privilege by spouting out the same sales pitch over and over.
Facebook has different applications that allow your Facebook business page advanced functionality. These applications allow you to:
Give your Facebook page the same branding and look, consistent with your company website.
Import your company blog from your website into your Facebook business page.
Converse with people directly on your Facebook wall page
Put videos, product demos, slides, and more, on your Facebook business page with easy to use applications.
Look at Facebook like a networking event. There are already so many people there that you can develop relationships with to help your business. Though like any networking event, you need to show interest in them as well.
I can’t repeat this enough: Social Media is a two way conversation. Respect your community of followers (and their timelines) by asking for their input on products and services. Invite conversation. Show your interested users that you’re listening to what they’re saying and then build your community.