Do you think Facebook is just for teens and college students? Or that it is a fad that will soon pass? Have you avoided building and developing your business presence on Facebook because you are not sure how it applies to business? Do you think it is just too personally intrusive and do not know how it applies to your marketing plan? 

Fair enough – those are some of the reasons why others have avoided Facebook in the past.

That being said, Facebook does not look to be disappearing anytime soon – in fact it is continuing to grow. Here are some Facebook facts that may be useful as you reconsider your stance on the popular Social Networking Site:

  • Facebook currently has 350 million active users. It is predicted that by 2011 there could be up to 500 million active users
  • 50% of the active users login to Facebook every day
  • Facebook is the 5th most visited website on the Internet
  • Facebook is the largest photo-sharing application on the Internet
  • The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 30+ crowd
  • The average user spends more than 55 min. on Facebook per day
  • The average user has 130 Facebook Friends

Facebook is like an online cafe combined with a business mixer.

It is where people are hanging out and interacting on the Internet. Users are using it to communicate. They’re private messaging, chatting, posting on their friends’ walls, commenting on photos and videos etc.

With all of the people and interaction, if your business is trying to build relationships with its clients, find new leads, or even market your message, utilizing Facebook in your marketing plan could prove very rewarding.

That being said – if you sign up for Facebook and only sing the praises of your business, push your message, or constantly pitch your products you will quickly far fall from the graces of your Facebook audience. Think of Facebook like it is your monthly networking luncheon, combined with a family reunion, crossed with a high school reunion. You are reuniting, reconnecting, making new connections all at the same time.  You are being personable and forming relationships. Occasionally you might talk about your business or your products but your first and foremost goal is to connect. After all, you do not want to be that guy who only pushes his products at the networking luncheon, or that lady who only phones when she has something to sell.

How to Build Your Facebook Profile

  • Sign up for and begin building your profile.  Under the website box ensure that you list your website, blog URL, Twitter link, linked in profile etc.
  • Build your friends list.  Do you know anyone already on Facebook? Request their Facebook friendship. Browse through their lists to see if you recognize any names of mutual contacts and request their friendship.
  • Arrange your Friend List into lists.  Family, close Friends, Business etc. From here you can set privacy and application options so that only your family see your photos, for instance.
  • Search for Groups in your targeted area of business. Participating in a Facebook group is a great way to become a voice in the industry. It s also a way to meet others who are interested in a similar topic.
  • Interact with your Facebook friends and in Facebook groups

Sure, none of this may directly bring you website visitors or new customers; however, it is helping to develop your Facebook profile and is the start to building great online relationships. Once you are familiar with Facebook and the interactions that take place, you may wish to start promoting your business, products or services.

You can do this through:

  • status updates
  • photos of business events
  • starting and interacting in an industry-specific group
  • starting a business fan page
  • posting links to articles, your blog, your website etc.

Just keep in mind – those who succeed on Facebook are generally those who keep it personable, are not always pushing or pitching something, and genuinely enjoy the application.  So create your Facebook Profile, build your relationships and have a little fun along the way!