Marketing via Facebook or any other social network needs to be done strategically, using a proper marketing plan. So many people have destroyed their businesses because they abused these networks. Once you've become familiar with the tools described below, take time to outline a plan for yourself.
Here are some of the different tools (all free) with which Facebook allows you to promote your business. Using these tools wisely will help your business grow. Misusing them will kill your business and leave you with the reputation of nothing but a spammer. Browse Facebook and the "applications" link to find all of the below:
Creating a Group:
Anyone on Facebook can start their own group. An excellent way to build a community around your product or service is to create a group representing it. Some of the features that a group has are discussion board, a "wall," posted items (great place to post links) and the possibility to upload videos and pictures. When you start building your group, which is very simple to do, you can add your website link, location, contact and any other information you wish. The next step is to invite your personal network to join your group.
Joining Other Groups for Marketing Your Business:
The groups are one of the most powerful venues that can help you to promote your business. The effective way to do so is to join groups that are relevant to your business. Join those groups and become active in them. If you join and post a message only once, no one will look at you. Instead, participate in the back and forth on the discussion board and post regularly on the walls. One of the most effective ways to get attention is sharing your articles on the discussion board and responding to other people's questions. In many ways this is like a forum. Once you start participating in these discussion boards, people will respect you and learn to trust you.
Facebook recently launched "Pages," which is similar to groups. "Pages" allows businesses to establish a brand presence on Facebook. You can add html code, flash files and even Facebook applications to Pages that can help you customize the page better, which you can not do on groups. People who join your Page are called "Fans" – they become "fans" of your business.
Using the Wall:
On your profile page you have what's called "The Wall" – this is where the members of your network can post messages on your profile page. Whenever someone posts something on your wall and whenever you post on friends' walls, everyone in your network can see it. (Be careful not to post very private messages on a friend's wall.) If you need to do so, you have the option of sending a message to your friend's Facebook inbox.)
If you are having an event related to you business or a sale at a friend's house or on Ebay, this is the online place where you would want to post about it. After creating your event, you can invite your network to view and participate (or politely declare).
Notes and Photos:
These two applications allow you to share articles, blog posts or pictures with your network. You can utilize these applications to discuss your business or share photos of your products. Your friends can publish comments on your postings.
This is an excellent alternative to using your regular email. With this application you can send personal or group messages to people in your network. The beauty of this application is that you are protected from the possibility of sending inadvertent spam, since Facebook has excellent methods of eliminating that possibility before you can send anything. Just be careful not to email too often.
Marketplace is Facebook's classifieds listing service. Here you can post a variety of ads related to your business. The marketplace allows you to upload pictures as well. Just take care not to flood the marketplace with your ads, as this will get you deleted from Facebook.
This incredible feature allows you to let your network know what you are doing at any given time. If you have just uploaded new content to your website, added a new product to your product line or what ever it may be.
Now that you have received the basics for marketing via Facebook, you are probably thinking, "So every time I post an item or a photo I have to message it to my friends? This will take forever!" If that's what you're thinking, this next and final aspect of Facebook that we will discuss will blow your mind:
Facebook's News Feed:
This is our favorite, and this is Facebook's unique advantage over other social networks. Whenever you log into your Facebook account, the first page that you will see is the news feed. This page gives you all the recent news in your network: updates of what your friends have been doing on Facebook, what groups they have joined, what items they have posted, what videos they have uploaded, which they've added as friends to their network, etc. And just like you can see what your friends are doing, they can see what you are doing. In other words, every time you post something, your whole network will see it. This exposure creates a consciousness of your product or service within your network and beyond.
Be sure to use this feature, like all the tools of Facebook, with your integrity. Keep it clean and people will respect you.