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Putting Facebook to Work in Web Marketing

With the mammoth horde of users on Facebook, you might wonder what you can accomplish at the site for your business. If you’re clever, consistent, and attentive, you can accomplish quite a bit:

  • Brand, brand, brand. Facebook is an inexpensive way to get your name out to the undifferentiated masses.

  • Drive traffic to your website. Use links in your profile, wall postings, captions, and everywhere else you can in order to drive visitors to your website or other primary web presence.

  • Improve your appearance in search engine results. Search engines find your company name, keywords, and inbound links from Facebook profiles and postings. All these elements may help improve your ranking on search engine results pages.

  • Support customers. Many companies have started using Facebook as a way to address the specific needs of different users by setting up groups and responding quickly to any complaints that appear in postings. If prospects see that you treat customers with respect and honesty, your reputation will be enhanced. Of course, your reputation can be damaged as well.

  • Fill your conversion funnel. Though Facebook isn’t the best venue for driving sales, you can bring prospects to your website and start them down the path to purchase. Users are rarely thinking about buying when they’re on Facebook. They certainly may follow someone else’s recommendation to look at your page or at a product on your site, but unless they find a must-have item or an appealing impulse buy, converting them to buyers may be difficult.

  • Entice new customers with special offers. Offer special deals to people who Like you or are members of a Facebook group. Run contests, polls, surveys, or games, or give virtual gifts — anything that will bring customers to your door.

  • Build your e-mail list. Have people register on Facebook for a contest or give them something in return in exchange for their e-mail address and permission to send targeted messages.

  • Become an industry resource. Although Facebook appears particularly well-suited for B2C purposes, B2B companies can use it to establish their expertise within their industry and provide technical support, especially by participating actively in groups.

  • Drive a viral campaign. Encourage people to share your page and your website with others. This strategy works especially well with photos and videos.

  • Provide timely information. If tweets are too short and blog posts are too long, Facebook entries may be “just right” for announcing new products, project status, appearances at trade shows, and current involvement in community activities.

For SEO and advertising reasons, do not make Facebook your primary web presence. Use a website or blog platform with a domain name that you own. At this time, websites support complex forms of database integration, transactions, and business transformation techniques that Facebook can’t yet sustain.

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