Just when you thought Facebook was simply a tool to allow you to play Mafia Wars, post pictures of family and friends or searching for long lost school chums, along came a new idea.... why not use Facebook for business?
As of 15th September 2009, Facebook now serves more than 300 million people across the world. A couple of months on, it is very likely that this figure will have overtaken the population of the United States. So, if Facebook were a country they would be the 3rd most populated on the planet!
Just think, every business has the opportunity to market themselves to more than a 5th of the world's population, the burning question is how?
I would highly recommend that should you decide to actively market your business or products on Facebook, you consider a business account. a business account is slightly different from a personal account.
Read Facebooks terms and conditions. You really don't want your account banned, and mark my words, Facebook will ban your account if they don't believe you are behaving fairly.
Make sure your privacy settings are configured to ensure 'personal information' is kept private.
Try and integrate your existing web site with your Facebook account using Facebook Connect.
Post newsletters and company information in your profile.
Post your Facebook address in your email signature, business cards etc. There is no point going to the trouble of setting these things up unless you tell as many people as possible where to find you.
Use other social networks such as Twitter alongside your Facebook account.
And finally.... Don't be too pushy when talking about your products and services online. Social Networks are generally free of charge sites to help you build contacts within your industry, people can just as quickly 'unfollow' you if they think they are getting a 'hard sell'.
I am Managing Director of Matt Porter Web Design Limited. Based in Ipswich, we design, manage, host and optimise web sites for all sizes of businesses and provide the tools to market themselves on the...