The 2004 launch of Facebook is a classic rags to riches story. Its enormous success surprised even the young Harvard founders of this now massive social marketing network. Initially launched as a website where Harvard students could discuss and exchange ideas, its concept soon took the world by storm.
Now, Facebook is the social network of choice in more than 60 countries around the world. While it is extremely popular as a social community, Facebook is equally popular and useful as a marketing resource for attracting new customers and enhancing relations with current customers.
Online marketers find Facebook a highly useful and even a fun tool. Businesses can connect with millions of users with the power of the social network. Facebook uses a network of friends to link users together. All friends in a person’s network are able to see the various activities of that person. For instance, friends are notified about any of that person’s posts, comments, or “likes.”
When something is “liked” it is essentially being recommended by the person who did the “liking.” When other members notice that a friend has given an approval of a site, they would also be inclined to check out the site. Getting a like from a Facebook user can make any marketing effort go viral.
It has never been easier to build brand awareness than with Facebook. There are many benefits to getting a company’s name in front of an audience through Facebook. It is fairly simple, cheap, and very extensive in its reach. The enormous number of users translates to greater sales potential.
In addition, because the lines of communication are wide open on Facebook, consumers will feel more connected with the company. Customers that are comfortable with a company are more likely to purchase something from them.
Facebook has millions of members, which means companies can get their services and products in front of more people than ever before. There is no way that conventional marketing methods can reach that number of people. Due to the simplicity of Facebook, users as young as 13 are mingling with users from the senior bracket, giving marketers an array of possible targets to tap.
Interactive sessions are one of the most promising marketing strategies, because they address the basic human need for connection. Facebook allows companies to connect with potential clients personally, an option that is available through very few venues.
Customers can literally write on the company’s page and receive a personal response. Such a system offers benefits to the customer as well as the online marketer. The customers feel like the company actually cares about what they are saying and will continue to be loyal because of the attention they get.
The business benefits because the relationship is increasing customer loyalty and consequently customer retention. The open communication channel also serves to relay public opinion of the company and gives the company the chance to engage in public relations exercises should it smell the beginnings of a rift.
Today, most companies also have a link between their Facebook page and company website. Facebook links to sites can serve as an effective lead generator. Members can enter email addresses and contact details to take advantage of offers posted by the company on its page, while the company is collecting addresses for future promotions and communications. Today many company’s have special staff dedicated to developing and building connections with Facebook members. These personnel look up other member pages to locate potential customers who identify with the company’s mission and goals and build contacts with them. Using Facebook in this manner essentially drives pre-screened, targeted traffic toward a company’s site for free.
Today and in the foreseeable future, social network sites are the essential tool for online marketing. There are few other traditional marketing tools that can compare to the potential of Facebook and other social media applications. Though there are various other social media sites, no other site is a match to Facebook in its popularity. Every Internet marketer should have a presence on Facebook if they want to sell their products.