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Facebook Provides Another Opportunity for Small Businesses to Capture the 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' of Raving Fans

Apr 22, 2010, 06:33 AM by
Read our article, 'Facebook Provides Another Opportunity for Small Businesses to Capture the 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' of Raving Fans' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
A recent article written by the Associated Press announced that Facebook is enhancing users’ profiles to emphasize pages for bands, books and businesses (Hooray!) that millions have become enthusiastic admirers of through this enormous online social network. Right now, users can list their likes and dislikes, hobbies, favorite music and TV shows as part of their profiles. Facebook is putting another foot forward with two new enhanced features designed to link your profile to pages about these hobbies, likes and dislikes and TV shows. So as of April 19, Facebook nudges you to explore these two new features. Say you had Johnny Cash in the “favorite music,” section of your profile, the article cites. Now Facebook will automatically ask you to join his page – if you haven’t become a fan of it already. The option to hide this connection on your profile is available, but your name will still be listed on the Johnny Cash page as one of the 1.2 million “people who like this” formerly earmarked as “fans.” The Facebook blog has cited that these changes were spurred by them noticing more than three times as many of you have connected to Facebook pages, such as those for businesses, bands, non-profits, universities or anything else that trips your trigger (previously known as ‘fan pages’), as a way to express who you are. So to make it even easier to display these affiliations, Facebook has boosted the profile section. Now, certain parts of your profile, including your current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests, will contain "connections." Profiles on Facebook will immediately connect to the things, experiences, places that comprise who you are.  Here's how the new tools work according to Facebook:
  • Opt-in to new connections: When you next visit your profile page on Facebook, you'll see a box appear that recommends Pages based on the interests and affiliations you'd previously added to your profile.
  • Connect or not: You can then either connect to all these Pages—by clicking "Link All to My Profile"—or choose specific Pages. You can opt to only connect to some of those Pages by going to "Choose Pages Individually" and checking or unchecking specific Pages. Once you make your choice, any text you'd previously had for the current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests sections of your profile will be replaced by links to these Pages.
  • Free expression: If you would still like to express yourself with free-form text, you can still use the "Bio" section of your profile. You can also use features and applications like Notes, status updates or Photos to share more about yourself.
The second fold of this process involves Facebook’s Community Pages. Community Pages are a new type of Facebook Page married to a topic or experience that is owned collectively by the community connected to it. Community Pages let you connect with others who share similar interests and experiences – similar to the functionality of official pages for organizations and businesses. On each Community Page, you'll be able to learn more about a topic or an experience—whether it's sewing or cooking —and see what your friends and others in the Facebook community are saying about this topic. Do you see that light bulb above your head yet? So what does this mean to you, spirited entrepreneur, and go-getting small business owner? The potential for you is remarkable with these new Facebook features. You are able to peek into a promising customer’s thoughts. Say you are running a cookie business, and you discover a whole community who likes the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts that you just happen to bake and sell. Start getting involved with the chatter and zone in on that community. Have them link to your business. This is why it is also so important to keep your small business information on your Facebook page current, interactive and fresh. If you haven’t joined the ranks of Facebook junkies, take some time to develop a page. Cultivating a fan base also takes time, but it’s worth it. Considering you can reach new customers without opening your wallet, you should take a little bit of effort to update your page with fun elements and nuggets of wisdom. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s all about experimentation Does free advertising get any better than this? What other methods have you tried to successfully promote your business? Do you have personal experiences to share in promoting your small business on Facebook?