Six years since its birth, Facebook has extended beyond socially connecting users around the world to providing a tool for businesses to engage customers. As Facebook has recently surpassed Google as the destination where users spend the majority of their time online (in the US at least), businesses should definitely establish a presence on the social network. Read on to find out how.
Facebook was initially created to provide a way for Harvard University students to connect with each other, at least that was the vision of creator Mark Zuckerberg.
However, six years and half a billion members later, Facebook has matured into a grander vision, extending beyond socially connecting users around the world to providing a tool for businesses to engage customers.
Social networking seems at first glance like a frivolous time sink - and for individual users, that may be true. For that reason, though, the site is also a gold mine for businesses looking to market products and services. Facebook recently surpassed Google as the destination where users spend the majority of their time online, and that means businesses should also establish a presence there.
This restaurant customised a Facebook Page with tabs for a menu and a contest.
Build a Facebook page
The first thing you need to do is to set up a Facebook Page for your business. A Facebook Page provides a forum for sharing information and engaging customers without forcing you to add each of those users' Facebook accounts to your social network. It lets you establish a community, but with a certain degree of anonymity.
Begin by visiting 'Create a Page' on Facebook. On the righthand side choose between setting up a page either for the business as a whole or for a specific brand or product. Next, you can assign the page to a category from a drop-down list of choices. Give the page a custom name and URL, and make sure to check the box at the bottom declaring that you are authorised to create a page on behalf of the business, brand, or product.
As you work with Facebook, you'll find that it clearly wasn't designed as a business platform, and that it has yet to fully embrace such a function. It's sort of like putting a nail in the wall using the end of a screwdriver: It will work, but it isn't the most efficient way.
Facebook lets you establish a Facebook Page for a community, business, or product, or for a prominent person or group.
If you are already logged in to Facebook, the page you create will be associated automatically with your Facebook profile. If you're not logged in, you will see a screen that will let you either log in to your account or create the page under a limited business account by supplying an email address and password. Navigating Facebook and managing the page is significantly harder using the limited business access, though, so I highly recommend using a Facebook profile to set it up.
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