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Whether you run an online business or a brick and mortar establishment, there is no better time to take advantage of the tools offered by Facebook for helping you to build and develop your business online.
As you probably know, Facebook is an extremely popular website, but did you know that it is used by over 750 million people worldwide? That is a massive chunk of the world’s population, and Facebook stores detailed information about the online behavior of its users, based on the subjects they have listed in their profiles and their activity interacting with friends.
All of this means that by having a Facebook presence for your business, you have access to the very people that could become your customers, and Facebook makes it very easy for you to reach out to them directly via its targeted advertising system, the use of sponsored stories and the Facebook Platform.
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You Might Already Have Your Business on Facebook
“But hang on," I hear you say, “Facebook has been offering these things for a while now!"
Indeed it has, but only recently has the www.facebook.com/business page been highlighting exactly which elements of Facebook can be used to promote your business and build an online community of fans and users with which you can interact and share news.
There is every chance that you already have a Facebook presence for your business, but have you taken advantage of advertising or sponsored stories? Have you spent time setting up your brick and mortar business as a location for visitors to check-in to, letting their friends know that they have dropped in to see you and potentially buy one of your items?
The reality is that Facebook offers a great range of free tools for you to access in order to promote your business, something that you really cannot afford to ignore.
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What Facebook for Business Offers
Most businesses are present on Facebook in the shape of a page which users of the website can regularly visit for news and information, to “like" particular things and generally interact with you or other users of the page. More importantly to you, their activity on your page is shared with their Facebook contacts, thereby spreading the word of your online presence and the services that you offer.
Pages have been available on Facebook for a while, but with Facebook for Business you can really see how to leverage them in your favor. Rather than have your business on Facebook, a page can help your business become an actual part of Facebook for the many users who visit you. It’s all about generating a community around your business or product, something that Facebook is keen for you to do with these tools.
If you are an existing Facebook user, you have probably noticed the ads that are run on the right-hand side of most pages. These are the targeted adverts that I mentioned above and are used to find potential buyers of specific products with absolute precision. Facebook for Business includes ads within its feature-set, another existing tool that is highlighted as a key element.
In addition to these aspects of Facebook that you might already be interested in, Facebook for Business has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve…
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In addition to the existing adverts that can be setup in Facebook, the new Sponsored Stories can also be used to highlight your Facebook presence. This tool is created in a similar manner to an advert, but while they are targeted at users with specific interests with ads in the right-side column of Facebook, Sponsored Stories appear in the feeds of your readers.
What this means is that if someone visits your Facebook page and “Likes" it or something that you have posted there, or if they have used a Facebook button on your business website, then this information is prominently shared with their friends. This is a very powerful way of attracting new visitors to your Facebook page or website, visitors who may also click the Like button and whom you can later target with useful news and offers!
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There is even more on offer from Facebook for Business in the shape of Facebook Platform, the easy-to-use system for creating apps for your page. This is another existing Facebook service which has been repackaged here and presented for the eyes of business owners rather than developers, and the tools on offer are pretty useful, ranging from a method of taking advantage of Facebook credits (the internal payment system) to building a social website featuring a like button, comments and an activity feed.
The idea of Facebook Platform is that you should be able to further leverage your existing Facebook page fans in order to spread the word about your service; the only difference is that your existing users are enjoying an app rather than clicking the Like button.
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So What Does It All Mean?
Ultimately, how and whether you choose to use Facebook for Business depends on your business type and the amount of time you have put aside for online marketing and promotion.
However, given the immense number of users on the website and the way in which it lets you target your potential market, missing out on these tools would be a shame unless you feel that you are already doing well out Facebook.
One thing is for sure: Facebook is going nowhere. Advertising fees aside, these tools are free, and with the reach that Facebook offers you should consider at the very least taking advantage of Facebook for Business and comparing the results with any existing and marketing and promotional campaign that you are currently running.