By Umika Sharma:
Facebook today has evolved from being a simple network connecting people, to a big business hub for all sorts of business activities. Its major role in business has become that of an advertising agent. Be it a newly established business or well-known and celebrated company, all seem to need Facebook to reach their target audience. Facebook offers them a perfect and innovative platform to reach people.
Facebook has a number of ways of advertising and promoting. The small ads on the sides of the pages are great examples. They are sponsored ads for which Facebook gets paid. Not only Facebook, but also the people putting up these ads, benefit, as people like you and me notice these ads, ‘like’ them and most often end up buying their products or making use of their services. Also, these ads show how many of our friends have liked these products. So in a way these products get the approval of our friends in our eyes and the typical word of mouth gets replaced by the word of Facebook.
Thirty nine percent of business owners say that they plan to spend money on Facebook marketing in 2012 and eighty nine percent agencies say that they plan to hike the amount that they spend on Facebook. All this simply shows that businesses have realized the importance of Facebook and are slowly making it an important aspect of their advertising plans.
But it’s not just the business houses using Facebook to advertise. Even individuals are using it to promote themselves. There are many offbeat products for which Facebook acts as a perfect advertising forum. Let me tell you about a group of high school guys who formed a band and created a page to promote themselves on Facebook. They uploaded photos, their latest songs and covers. Within a few weeks they had bagged a number of gigs to perform all over the city! Even my father who has been in the legal profession for the past twenty years has started promoting his law firm on Facebook. He has been asking me to share his website with my friends and their parents so that his network can grow.
Then there are many artists and photographers I know who have showcased their work through Facebook and have achieved considerable recognition. Facebook served as the platform where these artists could promote themselves through their friends and then this chain continued through common friends. These people would never have got their share of fame if it weren’t for Facebook. The above examples also show how advertising on Facebook has worked wonders for those fields where the often used print media would have been useless or would have created negligible results.
Not just various businesses, even Facebook itself benefits from advertising. Now don’t tell me that you were under the impression that Facebook is just a third party and acts as a medium for advertising. Let me break the bubble for you my friend, Facebook does not provide all these services for free. It gets paid for all those tiny ads in the corner. The intelligent and tech-savvy Facebook folks have evolved many advertising strategies for promoters and charge for it. After all it’s not a charity organization that we are talking about.
Another aspect in which Facebook greatly helps is that of feedback. Businesses can get straight and often frank feedback and suggestions from their customers. Almost all of us follow our favourite brands on Facebook and very often make it a point to share our views about them. It’s Facebook that serves as the connecting force between businesses and consumers. This direct interaction ultimately benefits both the sides.
Today, all businesses need to recognize the role of Facebook in their marketing strategies and use it to their advantage. If Facebook doesn’t feature on your marketing plan, it’s high time you include it.