Build a branded social media community for your business.
In 2006, the total marketing spent on social media was $350 million, the forecast for 2011 is more than $2.5 billion.
Facebook was launched as a way for founder Mark Zuckerberg to connect with friends at Harvard. Today, Facebook has exploded online with nearly 200 million users, and a million new members joining each week in the U.S. alone.
Social networking platforms like Facebook provide the business community an ability to get repeat exposure with the people within your network. Clients, peers, and prospects can make up your network, and you can promote events, sales, special offers and more through your Facebook profile. It also makes it fun to connect with old friends, family and co-workers. Sharing an old grade school photo can create an instant bond with those from your past. Even personal connections have the potential to become new business opportunities.
Reaching a market of 50 million people would take 38 years by radio, 13 years by television, four years on the Internet, and three on iPod-but only two years via Facebook.
There are many social media styles and types; however, according to Riva Richmond, blogging for the New York Times, Facebook’s traffic this year increased 97%. In February 2009 a Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, Facebook can help spread your brand and propel your business into the forefront of existing and potential customers’ minds.
How to start on Facebook?
Create a Powerful Profile
You account or user name must be tied with your real name, not your company or anything else. You can use your resume posted on your personal website with photos to describe your business practice, philosophy, mission and what you do. You can also include links to your website, blogs and other business resources. Be sure to include your photo so that others can recognize you online.
Build Your Contact List
Facebook is based on the concept of connecting with friends. You can send and receive friend requests and once accepted, your friend can view your profile and you can view theirs. To begin connecting with people that you know, you can either import your contact database or you can search Facebook for individuals.
You can also view the friends list for each person you are connected to. If you know any of your them (or you would like to know them), send a connection request.
Facebook Pages — Facebook "Pages" (that’s with a capital "P") were created to give businesses their own profile on Facebook. Pages give your business an identity. With a Page, those interested in following your brand can become "fans", and when they do so, all their friends will see this. You can store photos, videos, and information about your Real Estate business on your Page. All activities on Pages get posted back to your Mini Feed for all your friends to see.
Here are some ways to maximize Facebook for your business:
Communicate with Wall Posts
Each Facebook member has a "wall" where friends can post messages. This is a great place to post a quick note to those in your friends list. In the business networking world, this is the online equivalent of picking up the phone to say hello.
Update Your Status
At the top of your Facebook home page is a status box. When you post a status update, everyone in your friends list can see your update on their home page. This is a place to share tips, promote events and even boost sales. Effective business updates may include: "found a great article on foreclosures in San Jose,CA : www…." or "Joe at XYZ Realty in Saratoga is hosting a special Open House! Check out www…."
Networking is best when there is a two-way exchange. If you can help a new Facebook friend, they will likely want to return the favor.