Facebook is in the news every day. Not all news is positive; there are concerns about identity theft on Facebook and about data safety and security. However, there are still over 600 million users worldwide using Facebook. Facebook is rapidly becoming the chosen method of finding information and new businesses. Facebook is challenging the large search engines like Google and Bing. Facebook's Like/Dislike button is extremely popular with Facebook users.
A Facebook fan page is different from a Facebook member page or even from a Facebook group page. Firstly, a fan page is accessible to anyone - even if they are not Facebook members. Secondly, there is no limit on how many fans you can communicate to in one go (unlike with group pages). Note: a business should not use group pages to represent its business - this would have serious disadvantages in the long run. A Facebook fan page could integrate business-specific apps, discussion boards, a review page or even a whole online shop. With Facebooks new programming interface there is almost no limit to what you can do.
So why should a small business set up a Facebook fan page? Here are my top 10 reasons:
1. It's FREE! - no costs neither for the internet users nor for you as a business! (except if run advertising on Facebook)
2. Popularity amongst Internet users! - It is not just the 600 million active users, but also the frequency of the users using Facebook. Facebook users spend hours communicating through that platform
3. Bye, bye Google! - Some Facebook users have abandoned Google and Bing and do everything in the Facebook environment. It is expected that Facebook will soon improve their own search to make it even easier for users to do everything within Facebook. This would mean that your company's WEB site would not be found anymore by these type of users, unless you have a Facebook fan page.
4. Hello Google! - Google is indexing Facebook pages. That means that Google users will potentially find your business through a search result linking to your Facebook site depending on the seacrch term used.
5. Free SEO & link building! - It is suspected that Google values an active Facebook fan page for the ranking of your own WEB site in Google. Your Facebook fan page has a backlink to your company website - therefore there is a clear affinity between the two sites. Furthermore, users could send on links to your WEB sites through the Like button. This could be an advantage again for your SEO effort for Google and Bing.
6. Viral Capability! - Sharing information to all friends can be done in Faceboook with one click - as opposed to the time involved in creating and sending individual messages. A simple click on a "Like" button on your WEB site could have that effect.
7. FREE feedback from your customers! - Collecting feedback from customers can be very difficult and expensive. In Facebook users like to share their views for free. This could help you to understand your customers and improve your products or services. However: be prepared for critical feedback, too.
8. New advertising platform! - Facebook offers an advertising system which allows highly targeted ads within Facebook. This might just be the right thing for your business to open up new markets
9. One-stop-shop! - Internet users don't like to have dozens of logins they can't remember or to enter repeatedly their credit card details every time they buy from another shop. The future of Facebook could be that they can do everything within Facebook. Therefore, you need to have your products presented in Facebook, too.
10. Integration with mobile services! - Facebook expanded really fast with the introduction of smartphones. The combination of Facebook with the local environment is a key concept for the future. Facebook is introducing couponing services, or location based advertising. This is expected to boom over the next years - especially of interest for local businesses.