Social Media for Business – Facebook Review

fbFacebook as a social networking medium has grown by extensively in India over the last 2 years. This is significant because India (and other countries like Brazil & Pakistan) were the largest consumers of Orkut the Google property that kick started the social networking revolution in India. Different social networks like Facebook and MySpace are mainly being used for entertainment and, to some extent, for marketing and advertising.

These powerful tools can be used in a much more specialized way. Businesses can use them to find opportunities and universities and colleges can use them for to better educate their students. Similarly, common users can use these social networks to build a positive public image. Educationists believe that “Facebook is not only great for expressing your identity, sharing with friends, and planning parties, it also has all the tools necessary to create an online learning community. Students are already frequently visiting Facebook.

Facebook has provided a number of tools that make it a powerful tool not just for individuals, but for businesses and brands as well.  And the Tools are no secret, Facebook has many very powerful tools that will help spread your brand and propel your business into the forefront of existing and potential customers’ minds.

6 Ways Facebook Can Help Your Business

Facebook Pages — Facebook “Pages” (that’s with a capital “P”) were created to give businesses their own profile on Facebook. Pages are intended to give your business or brand an identity on Facebook.  With a Page, those interested and following your brand can become “fans”, and when they do so, all their friends will see this. You can store photos, videos, information about your company, and custom applications on your Page.  All activity on Pages gets posted back to your Mini Feed for all your friends to see.  Click here and get a detailed overview on what fields you can store on a Facebook Page.

Groups — Groups on Facebook are similar to Pages but they ensure a higer degree of interactivity. They are meant to be built around a group of people rather than an individual business or brand.  Groups have no “become a fan” feature, and do not share as much information with users’ friends as users interact.

Applications — Facebook has a very powerful API that you can have developers write software for to help promote your business on Facebook.  Applications give you full power to say or promote anything you want about your business, and use the social tie-ins provided by Facebook to do this.  For instance, Visa created the “Visa Business Network” application, which takes information about users and allows them to better network with other small business owners.  They even integrated with Facebook advertising by offering those that install the app a credit towards advertising on Facebook.

Advertising — Facebook has a powerful advertising engine that enables businesses to specify a specific demographic target, see how many people that demographic will hit, and advertise to that demographic.

Polls — Facebook Polls are great for marketers looking to get a quick answer about a particular feature they’d like to implement, or just to find out information and opinions from a specific demographic.  You can access Facebook polls via this link.

Facebook Connect — just announced last week at F8, Facebook Connectenables your website to easily integrate with Facebook.  Now you can integrate Facebook into your login process, retrieve users’ friend information, and even post data back to users’ Mini Feed so all their friends can see their activity.  Think of Facebook Connect as the new Beacon, with much more flexibility to do even more throughout your site! Click here to learn more about Facebook Connect.

However, with these entire tool and more on their way, I still feel facebook has a long way to go before it reaches a the level of being a truly business networking platform. Today it stands between a linked in and a twitter.