facebook-logoThis social utility has quickly taken over the Social Networking space and provides a secure environment for people to interact with family, friends and others in the most efficient manner possible. The common belief now is that it will soon leave MySpace behind.

Facebook currently has around 200 million active users, with 100 million users logging on each day, and boasts of annual revenue to $150 million.  These figures and an unbelievable 25 million user groups say a lot about the huge potential for marketing Facebook holds.

Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, a young Harvard University student in 2004, from his Harvard dorm room and it was initially meant for his peers.  Fast forward five years and you have more than 62 million users from around the world.  Zuckerberg is now likely to be the youngest billionaires around with Facebook valued at $15 billion.

He even turned down Yahoo’s offer of $1 billion for Facebook.  As of 2007, Microsoft owns 1.6% of Facebook and the cost – $240 million.

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How Does Facebook Work?

Facebook is a wonderful marketing tool and can be used to find new customers, stay in touch with existing customers, promote new products or services and also as a perfect customer service medium.

Facebook provides users access to several functions and applications.

  • Creating profiles
  • Adding people to the friends list
  • Forming networks
  • Forming Groups
  • Messaging
  • Chat (New)
  • Sharing Photos and videos
  • Sharing Events

The whole concept of Facebook is to first earn the customers’ trust by building a community around it…the good old fashioned way.

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How Facebook Helps In Marketing Your Online Or Offline Business

Today thousands of business owners and professionals thrive online because they know the secrets of using Facebook, which offers unprecedented opportunities for the large corporations and the individual professional alike.

They are successful because they realize – it’s not what you know, but WHO you know and WHO knows you!

facebook-05It is easy to get to the point where everyone in the industry knows you with Facebook.

Your goal is to use Facebook to get exposure to whatever your company is dealing in and build a brand.  You can use all the numerous marketing tools Facebook provides, such as your profile, messages, friends, applications, news feeds, groups, market place, networks, events, pages, socials ads, beacon, polls, Facebook platform ad networks, Facebook applications and sponsored groups.

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The three most important ways of leveraging Facebook for marketing:

  • Establish a strong profile as this is the basis of your entire Facebook marketing strategy because it gives you the ability to show others what you can do, who you can help and what you have to offer.  This is where you can list your website or blog and works as a wonderful portal to take people there. Get people to your profile and if they find it interesting enough, they will click on the links.
  • Reach out to people in your niche and make connections. This is a wonderful way to reach out to others who are out there and share similar interests, and see how you can leverage that and help out both your businesses.
  • Reach your target market easily by using the Facebook feature that allows you to see friends of friends.

facebook-02These are some of the popular and more successful Facebook tools that help you take your business to the masses:
Whatever your needs, chances are that you can use Facebook advertising to your gain.

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  • Facebook Pages - You can represent your business by creating a professional profile on Facebook for free using Facebook pages. Users can become fans of the business just as they do with other profiles.  When a user becomes a fan, their friends list can see this and it acts as a motivation for them to join too.  There is also no limit to the number of fans.
  • Facebook Beacon – With the Beacon, it is possible for users to share information from other websites with their friends on Facebook through News Feed and Mini-Feed.
  • Social AdsSocial ads are highly targeted advertising and you can create the ad targeting the age, sex, location, workplaces, education levels, keywords and other demographics.

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You can even get free ads initially when you sign up.  Log in to Facebook and click on this link to join the Visa Business Network Facebook App and you will be emailed a coupon for $100 worth of free Facebook ads. However, Facebook asks for the credit card but they will not charge it until the $100 is used up.  You have the option to cancel the campaign once this money is used up.

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  • Groups – Form Groups to get your business across. Although, they are similar to Facebook Pages, they are more personal as you are forming a group of friends.  You can keep adding content from your blog or website once a week or more and let everybody in the group know.
  • Facebook Applications - If you’ve heard about Facebook, you would have heard about Facebook applications.  Applications are important tools that can help you make friends and let people know of your existence. They can drive traffic to your website.  Last.fm was one of the first companies to boost their business using a Facebook application and now has launched a new app called “What I’m listening to.”  Social flowers is an example of a business that uses Facebook, and allows Facebook members to send flowers to each other.
  • You can develop or get any kind of Facebook app developed as long as you have the money.  Make sure the applications you develop are related to your niche.  Check out the Facebook Developers’ section for more information and tools you will need to get going.  An app is a program that interacts with the Facebook site and users can add apps to their profile.  Once the app is ready, time to distribute it!  List it on the site and invite your friends to install it and it will spread virally.
  • Marketplace – Items can be listed in the Facebook marketplace for free.  You can restrict the sale to a targeted user group. The best part is that your profile shows other users what you have for sale.

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You can even use Facebook for research purposes too:

You can conduct polls to understand what makes your customers tick and what they think of your product.  Find out what they’re looking for.  The best part with Facebook market research is that you get all the answers within minutes.

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facebook-07So, how are you going to use Facebook for your business?

Facebook marketing is not limited to buying ads and advertising through them.  Here’s a plan that always works for any sort of business: offline or online.

  • Sign up and create an interesting profile
  • Create groups and networks
  • Find niche specific friends
  • Develop a relationship with them
  • Answer questions and offer suggestions and tips
  • Create applications and give them out free (optional)
  • If you have a blog or website, provide those links
  • Use feedback to tweak the product or service if necessary
  • Soft sell your product or service

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You don’t have to necessarily follow all the steps, but if you look at several companies promoting their business on Facebook, these are some of the things they are doing.

Don’t just offer your deals and promotions…..converse.  Through these conversations you are building relationships and earning trust.  People crave for the community feeling and a sense of belonging.  Use that to your advantage.

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Ready to start?

To do this, you will need a valid Facebook account and start sending invites to friends.  This may take some time to do but there are people who have thousands of friends they market to.

Explore Facebook and get familiar with the system and mull over it for a while and see what you can come up with.

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