When we first started to hear about Bebo, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIN and all the other social networking sites, it was easy to write them off as just another fad that would soon die away. However, just a few months later it seems as though everybody is using them.
Understanding how these networks can be of use to your business is still only just becoming clear, but we’ve done our best to highlight some of the ways the biggest, Facebook, can help you and your business.
If you have something to talk about why not set up a group? A group on Facebook is just like a group in the real world; it has officers or organisers, members and events. Setting up a group on Facebook takes just a few seconds and if you have something to share then it makes for an effective means of communicating for free with your audience.
You can publish events and even compile the attendance list for an event easily with the tools built into the application. You can message all members at the push of a button or post information or links they might want to read.
Facebook pages are like profile pages for your business. They allow you to upload company information, including opening times, contact details, links, pictures and logos. Like groups they cost nothing to build and have options to message all your ‘fans’ (the term for anyone who likes your page enough to link to it).
Every person that links to your page displays a neat little icon showing they adore you, what could be better! And, if you want to see just how effective it is, all the data relating to people visiting your page including; gender, ages etc is stored in the system for you to see.
Facebook offers one of the most highly targeted forms of advertising around. Using the details stored on individual member profiles, the Facebook advertising system can target advertising to be displayed for your exact target market alone.
The system works on a pay per click or pay per impressions basis; with fees charged only when someone clicks on your ad in the first instance or for every display in the second.
Profiling options include: gender, location (right down to town), job title, interests, education status, relationship status and sexuality.
Ads can be used to promote a Facebook page, group or application; or a company website or micro-site.
For more information check out http://www.facebook.com/ads/
Chances are that most business people have undertaken a form of networking at some point or another. This may have involved going for breakfast with members of your local chamber of commerce or BNI, it may have been a speed networking event organised by a local company – either way networking on Facebook isn’t much different.
The principal behind ‘social networking’ is that through publishing a bit about your social activity you will find shared interests with friends or colleagues, helping foster a closer relationship between you.
This may sound all too frightening for many businesses; however, once you have spent a little time working out just what you want to share (and the bits you might want to keep private) it can prove an effective means of building stronger relationships with potential customers or partners.
Each profile comes with something called a ‘status update’ (see example below), this is a small one line statement detailing what you are doing, thinking about etc at the very moment in time. Using these to publish small sound bites about you or your company can present interesting results. Try experimenting with different statements and watch as people mention them the next time you meet or call.
Tags: bebo, facebook, facebook advertising, facebook groups, facebook networking, facebook pages, facebook profiles, myspace, networking, social media, Social Networking, social networks, status update, status updates, web 2.0