If done correctly, you can use Facebook to promote your products & services, build awareness, research consumer opinion and much more! Here's a few ways...
You can create a free page for your business or web site with Facebook Pages which gives your business a presence on Facebook. You can think of it as the equivalent of your Facebook personal profile, only for your business or web site.
You can add your business details and logo and you can also spice up your Facebook Page with a range of applications.
Facebook users who become fans of your Facebook Page can post on the wall, buy your products, learn about special events or promotions, join discussion boards and upload photos and video content to your Facebook Page.
You can also send message updates to all your Facebook Page fans at once, which you cannot do with your Personal Profile.
You want to keep the social aspect of Facebook in mind as you create your Facebook Page for your business, and try to present the social, human element of your business as much as possible on your Facebook Page.
To create your Facebook Page...
Log into your Facebook home page and search for Create A Facebook Page via the search bar at the top of each page.
You might also want to have a quick browse through existing Facebook Pages in your niche before you create your own page. You can find these pages here...
You'll have various applications and options you can use once you've created your Facebook Page.
Here are some options you may want to consider...
The Notes Feature allows you to post notes in a similar way to blogging. You can add Notes to your personal profile or to your Facebook Pages.
Facebook users can subscribe to your Facebook Notes via RSS in the same way they would on any normal Blog. You can even import one external Blog into Facebook Notes via an RSS feed.
You can use the Facebook Events feature to create events pages for launches, openings or any other online or offline events you are hosting.
You can invite the fans of your Facebook Page to your events and they will be able to accept, decline or "maybe" your invitation. Your friends will also see a reminder of the event when they log in to their Facebook home page.
Facebook Ads allow you to use Facebook's platform for targeted advertising of your business. This is similar to AdWords content ads. You pay Facebook per click or per impression for ads which are displayed to your choice demographic among Facebook users.
You can target your ads to specific Facebook users according to age, gender, location and interests.
Should you consider Facebook Ads for your web business?
Paid web advertising can work for you when you provide high-profit goods or services.
You will therefore have the Return On Investment (ROI) to justify the expenses of advertising. You may want to consider keeping to free methods of exposure such as Facebook Pages and Groups should you not be in a high ROI situation.
You want to make sure to research the service well before you get started and then be sure to test your market at first with only small campaigns. You can always increase the size of your campaigns when you see which ads convert well.
You can get started with Facebook Ads by clicking the Advertising link at the bottom of your Facebook home page.
Facebook for Market Research
You will also find market research opportunities with Facebook...
Browse through Groups and Pages in your niche for a snapshot of the level of interest and activity.
How large is a group? How many members join each day? What are people's interests according to what they post on the group wall?
The answers to these questions can provide you with general data about the size of your niche and activity within your niche among Facebook users.
You can also create your own Facebook Group about a specific problem or issue in your niche and use it to ask questions to people who join. You can use the information you gather from the Group for content ideas for your web site or products you wish to develop.
Dave Lewerenz is owner of [http://www.marketing-for-people-who-hate-marketing.com] - a new site devoted to helping businesspeople and independent contractors find better ways to market their businesses. Written in a clear-cut format with no technical jargon and no sales hype!