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In: Social Media

Facebook, once only known for social gatherings and connecting with friends on the web, is starting to look more and more like a huge online marketplace. Retailers are scrambling to reach the intense audience that Facebook draws in daily and turn users into paying customers. It started with the Facebook Fan Pages, which allowed businesses to create a presence for their brand on the social media site. They are allowed an unlimited number of fans to follow their fan page, and many big name retailers have already successfully created a large following. Recent Facebook has been linked to e-commerce on an even larger scale. Many of these businesses which were already well integrated with Facebook are beginning to create their own e-commerce apps, allowing them to sell their products to their fans directly through Facebook.

If you own an online business or are thinking of starting one and you have not tried Facebook marketing yet then you better get started. The first thing you must do is create a Facebook Fan Page. It's quick and easy, just look for the link on their site and fill out the information. Once you have done that, it's time to really begin customizing the page in a fun way that will draw people in and get them to become fans. Here is a list of features on the fan page and how you can use it to promote your business.

Wall – get your fans to leave comments in this area, share their thoughts, help make suggestions, ask a question, etc.

Info – write a description of your business, make it clever and remember to speak to your audience in a way that they will like

Notes – share the latest news on your e-commerce business, announce promotions, etc.

FBML – create up to 10 customized html display areas where you can add anything you can think of

Photos – add photos of your products and you can allow your fans to share their

Discussions – get the conversation started, have your fans give you feedback

Videos – add videos to promote your products and demonstrate how to use them, you can also allow your fans to share their videos

Events – announce special upcoming events or promotions

Reviews – have your fans rate your products or services

Others – add other applications created by third party developers that are meant for use on the fan page

Once you have your fan page set up you can start focusing on how to attract traffic. Your page does not have to be perfect, it's one of those things where the more participation you are able to get, the better the content. So start small and watch it grow and develop over time. Once you are able to reach the pulse of your fans, you can think more creatively about what to offer them on your Facebook fan page. You can create exclusive coupons just for them. You can also start a fun contest for your fans as part of a promotional campaign where the winner receives something for free. Try to think of as many creative and fun Facebook marketing ideas to increase the amount of interaction on your fan page.

Ads are another great Facebook marketing tactic to get people to take notice. However Facebook ads are in a lot of ways very different from other types of ads. The advertisements on Facebook can not focus on direct sales like Google AdWords ads can. The reason for this is that they each have a completely different type of audience. The people on Facebook are there to socialize whereas the people on Google tend to already know what they want and actively search for it. When you are trying to reach a Facebook user, you can not push your products on them. You must first give them a reason to become a fan and then build a relationship with them. Once the relationship is there, you can find interactive ways to keep your products and your brand fresh in their mind, and the chances of them becoming a customer is far greater. So apply to become an advertiser on the Facebook network and create banner ads that link to your Facebook Fan Page instead of your e-commerce site.

One of the more recent Facebook marketing techniques is direct selling. Since selling directly through Facebook is now all the rage, there is no reason for you not to do it too. The big name retailers are just starting to make their fan pages even more interactive by listing their products on there. The ones that have already built a large community are finding that integrating e-commerce with Facebook can be very profitable.