Leveraging Facebook for Your Business

Updated: August 11, 2010

Social media serves as a tool that helps you as a business person to get your word out to many people at once. Although Facebook was not originally intended as a professional tool, it certainly can be used effectively as a business tool and is definitely worth the investment of time and resources that you will have to make in order to communicate your offerings, whether they are products or services.

Facebook, as well as other online social networks, allow people to share valuable information and it encourages those people to stay informed of what is going on in their social media communities. Their social network may be composed of personal relationships or professional relationships.

If you use Facebook as a professional tool, the rules of behavior will be different than if you are using it as a personal tool. Because of the fact that so many people visit Facebook on an extremely regular basis, you would be remiss if you didn't include it in your online marketing strategy. When considering the people with whom you share professional relationships through Facebook, remember to always consider their needs and help them to solve their problems, as is the case with all of your online relationships. Also, try to discuss topics that you feel will be of interest to them.

The following are simple, yet effective steps for using Facebook for professional purposes:

  • Your branding: If you want to leave a lasting impression on your readers, you need to have a clever marketing campaign. Your goal is to stand out from the rest. There are several ways to accomplish this.
    • Uploading your graphic image: It is important to upload a good-quality photograph of you so that people can see what you look like. If they can see you, they will be able to relate to you more easily and will eventually be more inclined to do business with you.
    • Writing a biographical sketch that pops: You need a biographical sketch that describes who you are and what you are doing in a compelling manner. Remember that you have very little time to capture the attention of your readers so you better make it good.
    • Make your Facebook profile as detailed and interesting as possible: It is acceptable to mix some personal and professional details on your Facebook profile. You need to make sure that you seem human so that your readers really feel that they can relate to you on a personal level.
  • Creating content: Facebook provides you with a golden opportunity to share information about your business and about you as you relate to your business. By taking advantage of this, you will be positioning yourself as an industry leader and a subject matter expert.
  • Networking: Facebook is an excellent social media channel for networking. You should network as much as possible with people who share your professional interests and goals. You need to identify and get to know the leaders in your industry. Make sure that when you are committing yourself to using Facebook for business, you don't get distracted by the personal aspect of Facebook, which is very easy to do.

Whether to use Facebook or another social network

When you are in the process of making the decision of whether to use Facebook for business, you need to make sure that people with whom you will be connecting professionally are people who can help you to get more business. You may be considering doing business directly with your Facebook connections by selling them your products and/or services or indirectly by using your Facebook connections to increase awareness of your brand or getting feedback on the products and/or services that you offer.

There are also other social networks that can be used for professional purposes, of course. You might ask how those other social networks compare with Facebook and whether using only one social network versus several social networks is enough for the success of your business or if you should be syndicating your content across multiple social media channels.

Facebook features

Facebook is used by older age groups, from people in their early 20s and all the way up. People spend a great deal of time on Facebook, time that they choose to spend there instead of on other sites on the Internet. Facebook has very little competition in that regard. The only possible competition is from MySpace, which attracts younger users and emphasizes music and videos and has more of a pop culture. Facebook is a social media network where people share life events, photographs, and establish new relationships as well as maintaining and strengthening already existing relationships. MySpace; however, is not used for professional purposes.

Facebook Fan Pages are an appropriate and effective way to use Facebook for business. With Fan Pages, people don't need to wait to be accepted by the person who owns the Fan Page. They can immediately become a Fan.

Facebook Fan Pages allow you to interact with other people, which is why they are an effective way to build professional relationships. Not only will you be building professional relationships but you also have the potential to increase your business. Just remember not to inundate your Fans with too many promotions and hard sells. You certainly don't want them to feel that you are spamming them.

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