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Leveraging Facebook for Business

ClickZ and Business Week both offer stories today on how to leverage Facebook— without their upcoming targeted advertising.

Facebook for B2B
Tessa Wegert, writing at ClickZ, offers her plan for B2B networking and marketing on Facebook. Among the opportunities and benefits that she sees are:

  • Brand evangelism (even if you have to do it yourself)
  • Personal branding
  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader
  • Creating a Facebook group as yet another touchpoint for your brand
  • And, possibly in the future, advertising targeted to workplace networks and business sectors.

Wegert concludes:

To date, Facebook has been predominantly a personal social network, but that hasn’t stopped businesses and their proactive marketing and sales teams from adapting its existing features to suit their networking and promotional needs. As their own networks of business contacts grow friend by friend, so too does the site’s B2B community as a whole, and the opportunity for interactive marketers to target it.

Facebook for profit
Business Week’s feature by Maha Atal discusses how to turn Facebook’s platform to your profit. Some of his advice when looking to develop a Facebook application is especially relevant to all Web 2.0 efforts:

  • A “free-and-easy attitude is all part of the territory, and other, more serious-minded ventures need to not only understand this attitude but be willing to live with it.”
  • “Despite its exploding demographic, this is still a forum for the young: 56.4% of users are under 35, according to ComScore. Applications need to be appropriate and relevant to that audience.”
  • “Kevin Rablois, vice-president for strategy at San Francisco-based Slide, the largest developer of Facebook applications, says there are two ways for a business application to grow: through exploiting its social side or by providing users with a means for self-expression.”
  • “According to [Facebook Senior Platform Manager Dave Morin], too many companies still see applications as marketing rather than as new business. . . . [C]ompanies should be trying to make the application into a self-sustaining business that generates revenue through the service it provides on Facebook.”
  • “[M]ost users expect Facebook to be entertaining and, well, free, so getting them to pay for an application directly is unlikely.”
  • “Facebook . . . users expect applications to augment their social experience with little effort and at no cost”
  • “Ultimately, the most successful applications are those whose business model, brand identity, and natural users match the culture and demographic on the network.”

Atal also examines the most popular “business” applications and their strategies, exposing flaws and weaknesses to make sure that you can avoid the same mistakes when creating your application.

  • http://www.wpromote.com/blog Mike Mothner

    It’s amazing to me what a hot topic Facebook has been in the past few months and continues to be on an ongoing basis. The fact that Facebook is now being converted into an effective business tool for networking and marketing, as well as a potentially profitable business opportunity, further highlights the scope of Facebook’s utility. It is truly much more profound than simply a social network site. In addition to being a culture in and of itself, we can now see that Facebook is inspiring interesting new developments in how businesses may be able to more effectively market their brand.

  • http://www.pushingenvelope.com Kevin Norman

    It will be interesting to see how much respect Facebook will get in the business community, given that it’s full of non-business users. With an established well designed LinkedIn network I’d say it has an upward battle.

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  • http://www.personalbrandingmag.com Dan Schawbel

    Let’s be careful here though. The intention or purpose of facebook was to connect friends with each other in a social network. To position it as a business mechanism is not proper use. Tools like LinkedIn would better serve that purpose. I think everyone needs to seperate professional from personal life here.

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  • http://omadsense.com/articles Omad

    I still have a difficult time using Facebook – may be I’m used to myspace and the other social sites. But I like what has been presented here.

  • http://blog.ourchurch.com Paul

    Dan, I don’t think you can draw a line between personal and professional life. Everything you buy in your personal life is some company’s professional life. So, I definitely see legit business opportunities from the standpoint of companies creating apps that allow their customers to talk about their brand and connect with other customers.

    Where it gets tricky is in the area of professional networking. I can see the value of a social networking platform like Facebook for professional networking, but I wouldn’t want most of my business associates as “friends” to the same Facebook profile I use to connect with my personal life friends.

  • http://symbiancorner.blogspot.com William

    LinkedIn network is more convinient for these purposes. And also there are other big social networks like LiveJournal or Orkut. But they poor by tools still good for relationship with people.

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  • http://www.kuhnektid.com Trevor Brooks

    All it will take for Facebook to surpass Linkedin as the business networking site of choice will be the right app.

    We think Kuhnektid is that app.

    [link removed]

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  • http://www.slackbarshinger.com b2b direct marketing

    I agree that facebook has been a very hot topic and agencies would be wise to not overlook a consumer with over a million users internationally. We still sell to the public right?

    [link removed]

  • http://www.writebuy.com Neil Donnellan

    Facebook to me is great for businesses to advertise to consumers. For b2b to work you’d have to join a group and become very good friends with others.

    Just recently a new app on facebook has come out to help businesses advertise to other businesses. More info of this app can be viewed at this website: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=13172922694 or visit b2badsnetwork.com to go ahead and add the app straight away.

  • Nicole

    To me, Facebook is a little too informal for business (I don’t really want to poke any potential future employers, to be honest). However I do think LinkedIn is limited in the socializing you can do… just making a connection is a bit boring. I like http://www.octopuscity.com since it combines the business focus of LinkedIn and the sociality of Facebook.

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