The Social Network…for Businesses

I joined Facebook a couple years ago; using it as a tool to connect with past and current friends. Who knew a couple years later, I would be logging into to the website for work. Facebook has transformed from a highly exclusive site at Harvard (seen The Social Network?), into an amazingly popular marketing tool used by large corporations to small businesses. How is that a website used to connect and share ones life turn into such as valuable tool for businesses? Here are a few reasons:

Word of Mouth – “Did you hear? David is dating Beth. No way, I thought they hate each other. What? No way. OMG!” People love to talk. When they have a communication platform as easy to use as Facebook, talking about anything and everything becomes second nature, especially if it’s about the latest and greatest…stuff. Imagine a stranger walking up to you recommending that you buy item XYZ. Then imagine a friend doing the same thing. Chances are you would trust your friend’s recommendation over a stranger. This is based on the fact that you have a foundation set with your friends already. Your likes and dislikes, interests, hobbies, etc. usually align closely with your friends. So if your friend likes product XYZ, you probably will too. When you’re on a business page, users have the option of recommending the page to their friends by clicking on the “Suggest to Friends” link. Once there, they have the option of choosing specific friends or do a mass send of recommendations to the page with all of your friends. If you’re a business, this is a valuable strategy to increase visits and “likes” to your page.

A study conducted by Morpace shows that nearly 70 percent of Facebook users are more likely to purchase a product from a brand that was suggested to them by a friend. Studies has also shown that users are more likely to buy from a brand that they follow on Facebook. With this kind of buying potential, it would make sense for businesses to attract users and their friends. When you “like” a business page on Facebook, that information shows up on your friends’ news feed. When they see it, they have an opportunity to like the page as well. And once they do, then they’re in, and you’re free to show them why they should keep following you (sorry, Twitter term)!

500+ Million and Counting – You have a homemade product and you’re deciding on where to go sell that product. Would you set up right outside your house? Maybe do some door to door marketing? Or would you go to a local farmers market or obtain a booth at the state fair? I would go with the latter. Just in shear numbers, you would have a better chance to selling your product. Or in the least case scenario, have more people know about your product. The same applies in the online marketplace. There are over 500 million Facebook users worldwide! Each one is a potential customer…a potential user who can “like” your business page. And remember, users who like a business’s page is more likely to buy from that business. Check out these amazing statistics regarding Facebook.

Flexibility – What can you do on your Facebook page? Photos…check. Videos…check. Blogging…check. External links…check. And so much more! Someone with a little knowledge of Facebook can turn a page into a work of art; incorporating general information such as contact info, and business visuals such as logos, photos and videos. More advanced users can create customized tabs that increases the overall brand and user experience. However, more importantly, Facebook allow consumers to interact and communicate with the business…and of course, vice-versa.

Social media is about sharing and engaging with your network. It’s a fundamental shift on how we communicate. Facebook is a platform that can provide you with a perfect complement of tools allowing you to connect with a large network of Facebook users; collaborate with your audience through informal, two-way communication; and contribute by providing fresh, interesting, and creative content that hooks the attention of your audience and provide opportunities for them to engage with you.

In a couple of weeks, I’m doing a presentation in Salem for small business owners about Facebook and latest social media trends. If you have any suggestions on topics to cover, feel free to add a comment below.

Photo courtesy of AJC1 on Flickr.

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