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Facebook for Business: Good Idea?

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/24/2010

If you've read our MySpace in Business article, you may be wondering about the same pros and cons of using Facebook for your business. While the basic premise of the two networks are the same, there are some fundamental differences which may help make a decision.

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    Facebook for Business

    Facebook Facebook was the first competitor to MySpace, and was originally meant for high school and college students. When they realized the student niche was not going to work in their favor to separate them from MySpace as they watched other social networking websites gain popularity--they lifted the student requirement and allowed everyone to join.

    Now full of applications and other things like MySpace, Facebook fights hard to make itself different from MySpace, and honestly, they are generally the same. Facebook has made some recent changes allowing people to secure a profile name, and many businesses are now marketing with their Facebook fan pages, and advertising to consumers to follow them there.

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    Business Mindset

    Facebook allows a business to have a profile--it's own page on the network. With this profile, businesses can showcase photos and videos on their profiles, making it a powerful marketing tool for those who also use YouTube videos. Connect to an audience of consumers to find out what they want, what they like, and what they do not like about the products or services. Connect to similar companies offering a service in conjunction with your own to offer discounts and specials.

    Facebook has a Group function like MySpace, which allows business owners to find groups of like minded people to target or to create a group of their own to find more consumers. These groups are limited only by the imagination, as there seems to be something for everyone in the group section. As people are allowed to participate in more than one group, this is very beneficial for business professionals.

    Facebook has plenty of applications--many of which are not practical for the business mindset, though using the Facebook API, a developer team may create an application for your business to use with Facebook. It is something to keep in mind for serious internet marketing with the website.

    The new Facebook Connect feature allows everyone to integrate their website with their Facebook activity, much like Twitter allows. This helps people who find your website find you on Facebook and vice versa.

    The Facebook Polls feature allows business owners to survey their target audience to find out more about a specific idea or plan of action to see if it should be implemented or not.

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    Facebook for Business: Should you use it?

    More businesses are turning to Facebook to connect with their audience. Large companies such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and TGI Friday's are using Facebook fan pages to announce specials, and fan only discounts. Depending on your business model, this too mya be something you should get involved in. To ensure against security issues and productivity hindrances, time spent updating the Facebook profile, finding new Facebook contacts, or communicating with people should be factored into the work day, limited to one or two people, and considered a task like any other to keep it balanced between helpful and problematic.

Social Networking and the Workplace

Does allowing your employees to participate in social networking activities place your business security at risk? In this six part series, learn about five popular social networking websites and what harm they may or may not cause to your business security.
  1. Social Networking and the Workplace: Social Networking Policy
  2. The Role of MySpace in Business
  3. Facebook for Business: Good Idea?
  4. The Role of Twitter in Business
  5. The Role of LinkedIn in Business
  6. The Role of Windows Live Spaces in Business