The movie, “The Social Network” doesn’t portray Facebook or its founders in a very positive light. It seems as though Facebook exists in spite of itself. But a movie about a website? There is no mistaking the fact that Facebook is more than just another website – it is a cultural phenomenon. This was made even more clear when I went to Walmart last night and saw on the bottom of my receipt a “Like Us on Facebook” logo.

Clearly, large companies are taking Facebook seriously. This is not just a place to play Farmville or for college kids to hang out and socialize anymore – it is a mainstream avenue for business. With 400 million users, over half of which log onto the site every day, its no wonder that even Google has its own Facebook Fan Page. And since Facebook now sends more traffic to other websites than Google, it’s easy to see why businesses are focusing a lot effort at Facebook. Studies now show that 1 in 2 Americans are now on Facebook (and my guess is that those who aren’t live with someone who is and use their account to find out about their family and friends). We are now a nation of Facebook users.

The fact is, it used to be that you had to have a website for customers to find you. Today, you not only have to have your own website, you have to have a Facebook Fan page. But the problem is, most businesses are not very good at leveraging their fan pages into bottom line results. Some companies continue to try to use personal profiles as their corporate image (which Facebook does not permit), while most simply let customers land on their “wall”, making their page look exactly like everyone else.

An effective Facebook strategy requires that businesses provide a reason for customers to connect with them. The number one reason that people “Like” a brand on Facebook is to get exclusive offers and deals that aren’t available anywhere else. But in order for this to work, the company has to be very proactive – simply putting up a Facebook page because everyone else is doing it won’t produce results. You need to create a custom fan page that really engages your audience – perhaps with a unique application. You need to post specials on a weekly basis, and make sure these are exclusive to your Facebook fans. You need to provide customer support and interact with your customers. You need to provide fresh relevant content for your customers to consume. And you need to push out messages to your fan base with the “Send Message” feature.

On Monday October 11th, WebStores Ltd will be hosting a webinar at 12:00 noon MST. This free webinar will show you how you can not just increase the number of fans your company has, but to actually grow your business using Facebook. To reserve your spot  go to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/775188936. Or simply visit us on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/WebStoresLtd.