Leveraging the Power of Facebook

When Facebook first came online back in 2004, I viewed it, as I know many other people did, as a personal communication site for the college age demographic. I remember my daughter telling me about being “face-booked” by a childhood friend who had moved away, or a former classmate who had gone to college in another state.

Due to their high accessibility and relative ease of use, more people began to utilize internet based sites to form relationships, not only for personal, but for political and business use as well. A shift was created in how people were locating, reading and sharing news, information and content. This union of sociology and technology has become known as social media. Facebook, one such social media site, has kept pace with and emerged as a global giant in this changing trend.

Facebook is free for individuals and businesses to join. The individual user sets up a “Profile” where they can share information about themselves, become “Friends” with other users, and there is even a chat feature for real-time communication. Each time a friend posts their status, new pictures, or an item of interest, it is visible to you through the news feed function.

Businesses can set up a Facebook “Page” which is publicly available and accessible for indexing by search engines. Businesses invite individuals to become a “Fan” of their page, and benefit from viral growth through the fan’s recommendation of the business to other friends. Through the news feed, businesses can push information out to their fan base. Any individual that is a friend of that fan, can also see the information the business distributes. Other ways to form relationships and promote your business on Facebook include:

* Joining Networks which are based around a region, workplace or school;

* Joining or creating Groups relative to your industry or niche;

* Utilizing the Events application to broadcast an upcoming event or gathering;

* Creating your own fun Application that friends and fans can interact with, sponsored by your company;

* Purchasing targeted ads based on CPC or CPM basis (cost per clicks or impressions).

Like many, I originally joined Facebook to make connections with friends, past and present. I recently attended a cook out hosted by an old chum from my middle school days, and his wife. I had not seen them in 30 years! They are the people, along with another friend who I also reconnected with through Facebook, that you see with me in the picture featured at the top of this post.

I have also made many new friends by connecting with people who have similar interests or are looking to network or cross promote. You simply cannot place a value on the importance of this type of social interaction, both personally and professionally. People want to be known and appreciated, and tend do business with people they trust.

Companies worldwide are leveraging the power of social media sites to improve customer relationships, create interaction, and increase brand awareness. Skittles and Zappos are two examples of companies who use their Facebook pages to actively engage with consumers. By making it a more personal experience for the user instead of an outward marketing ploy, Skittles and Zappos have earned priceless credibility and gained a very loyal fan/customer base.

Regardless of a company’s size, product or service, creating or enhancing their online presence through social media should be an important component of their overall marketing strategy. With resounding statistics, such as the ones below, it is easy to see why Facebook has become an integral part of social media marketing campaigns for businesses large and small alike:

* More than 100 million users log on to Facebook each day;

* The fastest growing user demographic is those 35 years of age and older;

* More than 6 million users become fans of Pages each day;

* More than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week;

* More than 30 million active user groups exist on the site;

* More than 50 international translations available on the site, with more than 40 in development;

* More than 30 million users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices; *

Creative Options Media specializes in assisting individuals and small to mid-size business owners with profile and content creation, distribution, optimization, campaign and reputation management services across various social media platforms.