Facebook is by far the most popular social network and one of the most visited Web sites in the world. Here is a little bit of statistics about Facebook;
·         Facebook has more than 500 million active users.
·         50 percent of active users log on to Facebook in any given day.
·         The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 60 pages, groups, and events.
·         People spend more than 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
·         The average user creates 70 pieces of content each month.
·         About 70 percent of Facebook users are outside the United States.

Now from such statistics, surely every business should aspire to make use of Facebook as an online social media tool. Here are few tips that businesses can tap into to exploit Facebook’s capabilities;

Establish the company page—and the real people behind it
The creator and administrators of a fan page are somewhat behind-the scenes initially, but when they start responding to questions and replying to wall posts, their identities come to the fore. This can be a great opportunity for companies with well-known or visionary founders associated with their brands. And it’s also a good thing to humanize the company by putting your social-media guru out there, front and center. But you may want to establish new Facebook accounts for the people managing your fan page, separate from their existing personal accounts.

Post regularly
Establish a publishing plan and stick to it—perhaps you’ll post seven times a week, with one special promotion per week and the rest informative, newsy, or entertaining posts. You’ll need to be flexible to post about relevant events at your company or in your market as they occur, but it ’ s a good idea to sketch a rough plan.

Invite your friends
Individuals can suggest their company page to your friends. There are some cool JavaScript hacks out there that make it easier to invite all your friends in one fell swoop. But be careful. Nobody wants to be spammed, least of all by their friends, family, or peripheral colleagues. So do two things: First, make sure the site is an active, interesting place you ’ re proud of, and second, invite only those friends you know well and feel comfortable suggesting the page for their benefit, not yours.

Promote your Facebook page to existing customers
You need to kick-start your fan base, and the best way is to tell your core customers about it. Add the Facebook logo to your Web site’s navigation. Announce the fan page in an e-mail to your customers—maybe offer a discount to everyone who “likes” you.

Set up a custom URL
When you have at least 25 fans, you can reserve a good, recognizable URL, like http://www.Facebook.com/your company . You can establish the new URL by visiting http://www.Facebook.com/username/ .

Add a Facebook status widget to your home page and a Facebook logo link to your navigation
These elements show your Web site visitors what ’ s going on at your fan page and encourage them to join in—and it also makes it more fun for active participants when they see themselves on your site. I recommend making explicit calls to action: “Join Us on Facebook!” and “Follow Us on Twitter!”

Add Facebook share and/or Facebook connect features to your site, and also display the “AddThis” widget on your pages
A little bit of JavaScript added strategically to your Web site ’ s page templates can add Facebook ’ s “like,” “share,” and other features to your Web site, making it easy for Facebook users to promote your content or products to their friends. The “add this” widget does the same thing, but also for Digg, Twitter, MySpace, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, and other social-media sites. When you launch a cool product or publish a noteworthy post, make it easy for your audience to share it with their friends. It’s a fairly subtle way to show you’re hip to social media and put the “network effect” to work. You’ll attract more fans to your Web site and to your company Facebook page.

Use Facebook’s richness to your advantage
Unlike Twitter, Facebook welcomes photos, videos, events, and limited HTML (or FBML, its unique Facebook Markup Language). Your Facebook page can be a rich and entertaining place. Make a point to upload a lot of the various content types—such as photos from a recent company picnic. Create contest entry forms or e-mail signups so your fans don’t have to leave the comfort of Facebook in order to connect with your company. See what people like and what they respond to.
Staff for customer service
Increasingly, fans of your brand will turn to Facebook—not your 1-800 numbers or your customer-support e-mail address—when they have questions they need answered.
Ask questions
Some of your posts should pose a question to your audience. Asking your fans what they think, or asking for their own stories or experiences, is an easy and effective way to encourage more engagement.
Have a contest or host an event or meetup
It’s so satisfying when your Facebook program helps you deepen the relationship with some members of your audience, from the passive (lurking and reading), to the casual (liking, commenting, and posting), to the active (participating in an event, entering a contest, or buying something from you).
Be active in the community
This is where the identity of your administrator and the identity of your company intertwine. A company can’t “friend” people on Facebook—only a person can. As your administrators get to know your fans, it is natural—and very good for the continued growth and popularity of your fan page—for them to be actively friending your fans, joining relevant groups, and endorsing relevant causes. When they do these things, status updates percolate through their entire network, raising their visibility and that of your company.
Monitor your quality scores.
Facebook displays a “post quality” and an “interaction” score for your fan page based on how many fans “liked” your posts or commented on them. It ’ s a dead-simple approach to quality measurement, and it ’ s really important. Challenge yourself to write good, compelling posts that your fans respond to!

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