Businesses should have a presence on Facebook, especially those that market consumer products and services.
Facebook has several networking tools for organizations: causes, groups and fan pages.
A Facebook cause is an online campaign for collective action that can be started by any Facebook user. The creator of a cause can champion any issue, from the global, like “End Poverty,” to the local, like “Support the Berkeley Y.M.C.A.” Finally, a cause can be used to raise money for a beneficiary or to simply promote a position, such as “Puppies should not be sold in pet stores.”
When someone creates a cause and wishes to raise money for it, they can select a U.S. nonprofit or Canadian charity as the beneficiary of their cause. The chosen beneficiary is usually an organization whose work is aligned with the cause’s goals, as they will receive all money donated through the cause. The cause creation process allows creators to browse or search for a nonprofit or charity that is a good match for their cause.
You can designate any number of administrators to manage your cause. Both administrators and primary administrators can make announcements, delete posts, and generally manage the cause.
Fan Pages and Groups
As with individual pages, a Facebook Fan Page has tabs for various uses: news updates, photo albums, information, polls and surveys, notes, and the like. Many corporations, especially those that run Facebook-oriented campaigns, have custom-branded tabs.
The are two major differences between fan pages and groups:
- Fan pages are visible to unregistered people and are thus indexed (important for reputation management)
- Groups allow to send out “bulk invite” (you can easily invite all your contacts to join the group). Groups are thus better for viral marketing; any group member can also send bulk invites to the friends of his.
Fan pages are generally considered to be better for long-term relationships with your clients. Groups are generally regarded as better for hosting a (quick) active discussion and attracting quick attention. Facebook explains how to create engaging Fan Pages.
Facebook can also supplement e-mail and extend your reach to demographic groups your current e-mail efforts don’t reach yet. Your Facebook Fan Page should always link to your company Web site. It should also prominently feature a link to your e-mail signup page, along with the benefits of subscribing.