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How can I grow my business using Facebook?

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With the growth of social media, in particular the meteoric rise of Facebook over the last year (a reputed 500 million users as of this Summer!), we're finding more and more of our client base looking to capitalise on this and embrace Facebook as an important part of their marketing communication strategy.

The 'social' aspect of this helps retain existing customers and, as anyone controlling the marketing purse strings will no doubt agree, it's significantly cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire them!

So, what are the obvious opportunities for a brand to cost-effectively engage with a consumer audience on Facebook?

Facebook advertising

Facebook Advertising enables advertisers to reach a highly-targeted audience and connect real customers to their organisation. With it you can advertise something on Facebook like a Page or an Event or even promote external web pages using their pay per click (CPC) or their impression (CPM) based model, although it can be easier to 'convert' someone within Facebook (by persuading them to 'Like' you) and encourage web visits from there. Performance can be tracked in real-time, and you can also gain insight into who's clicking on your adverts.

Facebook pages

Facebook Pages are essentially public profiles for businesses, brands, products, services and celebrities and, as they're visible to search engines they're good for SEO. It's relatively straightforward to create a presence that looks and behaves like a user to connect and engage with customers. With Facebook Pages you can start conversations, encourage interactions, promote content on & off Facebook itself, and the added bonus is that when fans interact with your Facebook Page, stories linking to your Page can go to their friends via a News Feed. This means that each time these friends interact with your Page the news feed keeps driving word-of-mouth to a wider circle of friends. You can also add custom Tabs to your Page including welcome pages, email registration tools, shop pages, blog feeds and the like to increase engagement and up-sell from there.

Facebook lexicon

The Facebook Lexicon tells marketers what people are saying on Facebook. Facebook counts the aggregate number of occurrences of terms across Profile, group and event Walls every dayand then allows you to customise queries to view results in multiple ways. A fascinating insight into what people are talking about right now.

Facebook share

Facebook Share is a button added to your site that enables visitors to share your content with their friends on Facebook. It empowers your visitors share your site with their friends on Facebook and bring new users to it.

Facebook connect

Facebook Connect allows users to share your content with their Facebook friends who click back to your site, generating more traffic. More impressively it also enables a site owner to increase qualified registrations by allowing new users to register for your site in just two clicks using their Facebook credentials, giving the site owner access to name, profile, photo, location, gender, age and more. Facebook Connect also allows site owners to include and show social context content on their site, such as what a user's friends are doing, helping to increase user engagement.

We'd be interested to hear your thoughts and/or success stories on Facebook marketing either here or on our Facebook Page.

Remember to 'Like' us at http://www.facebook.com/viedigital to keep up to speed on some of the cool stuff we're doing with our clients on Facebook.

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