Nov 17, 2009

Facebook -- The New Essential Marketing Tool

More and more businesses are using Facebook to market and promote their business. As reported in a recent New York Times article "How to Market Your Business With Facebook," there are 300 million people on Facebook--a vast audience of potential consumers. By creating a Facebook Page, small businesses can build their own online communities of fans and customers through targeted marketing that reaches those most likely to be interested in their product or services.

Clara Shih, author of "The Facebook Era" (Pearson Education, 2009) recommends that businesses start small and have a clear objective in mind--for example, getting more customers in the door. Then create a strategy to accomplish that goal. The owner of a cupcake bakery called Sprinkles increased its fan base and store traffic by posting a password on its Facebook page every day that could be used to redeem a free cupcake at the store. A simple, focused, and effective strategy.

Some other basic rules from the experts: Don't use Facebook just to market and push your product or services. Create a site that is inviting to users, reflects personality, and is interactive. Liven it up with news, useful information, and promotions--and keep it current. Also, be sure to listen to your users so you can see how you are doing and what changes you may want to consider based on the feedback you get from your online fans.