We all used to think Facebook was for kids; I used to think the same thing as well, but it's time to change our thinking. There are many companies using Facebook to market and seeing success in doing so.
Consider the following statistics provided by O’Reilly Media. Between September 2008 and February 2009...
- The number of Facebook users between the ages of 35 and 44 increased by 51%
- Facebook users among the ages 45-54 grew by 47%
- Facebook users ages 26-34 increased by 26%
- More than half of the 140 million Facebook users are out of college
As you can see, Facebook is no longer for just college students. Why should you use Facebook as a marketing tool? The answer is easy; you can use Facebook to gain new clients, stay in touch with current clients, and promote new products and sales offers. You can also use it to create buzz and PR that is specific to your business.
How do you do this? Facebook offers you many tools. To be successful in marketing your business you must have an understanding of these tools. In this article we will look at two in particular:
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Groups
Facebook Offers you Facebook Pages. You can use Facebook Pages to create and give your business their own profile on Facebook; the best thing is right now they are free. These pages give your business an identity on Facebook which strengthens your brand. Current customers or even potential customers can become fans of your page and by doing so this allows them to follow you and receive any updates that you post to your page.
The great thing about Facebook Pages is that every time someone becomes a fan of your page all of their friends see that they have become a "fan." This often attracts other followers as well as creates a buzz regarding your business and of course your Facebook Page.
You can use your Facebook Page to not only share your company information, but also to post photos, videos, applications, and messages. Any activity that you perform on your Facebook Page is then broadcast into the mini-feeds of your followers.
When creating your Facebook Page, there are things to keep in mind. You will be given a choice of three options when you start out. You will be asked whether your page is about:
- A Local Business
- A Brand or a Product
- An Artist, Band, or a Public Figure
Each of these categories will provide you with an opportunity to complete your "basic information", "detailed information", or your "contact information." Each option will provide you with a page that enables you to provide different ways of showing your information. It's important to realize that you cannot edit your page type once you select it, and also remember that the page type that you select will categorize your page with other like pages in that category; this is why you want to make sure you select the correct category to be displayed in.
Your Facebook Page, when done correctly, can be used to bring in new customers as well as to help you maintain current customer relationships.
Facebook Groups carry a similarity to Facebook Pages. The difference is they are built around a group of people rather than your business or your brand. You must be a member of Facebook to create a Facebook Group. In order to create a group just login to Facebook and then click on the Groups link in the main menu on the left hand side of the page.
You can use Facebook Groups to create awareness, but they do not have the feature that allows users to become fans, only members. The downfall of this is it will not share as much information with friends of "group" members as they interact with the group.
Which One is Right for You?
The question I hear most when it comes to marketing on Facebook is "Laura, do I need a page or a group?" The answer depends on the goal you want to achieve with marketing on Facebook. The truth is you will gain more exposure from a Facebook Page, because it can be seen by unregistered users, but a group page can only be seen by registered Facebook users.
Now, that feature alone should make it easy to decide, right? Wrong. You must also consider that when you send a message to Facebook Page members, they will only receive an update notification, but if you are sending a message to your Facebook Group they will receive the message via their Facebook inbox. If you goal is to be able to communicate in a personal way, the Facebook Group option may be a better fit for you.