Earlier this year, two important things happened. Social networking overtook email as the number one activity that people spend time on while using their computers. And Facebook started allowing businesses to create their own page. Let that sink in – if you aren’t promoting your business on Facebook, you are missing out on the most popular trend on the Internet. Unless you choose to support your efforts with advertising, all it costs is a little time. Because you must have a personal account inn order to create a business page, this move was clearly targeted at small business owners. But 65% of the top 500 e-tailers on the Internet already have a Facebook page. Here’s how to get the most out of your Facebook presence:

1. Create a page. Busiesses don’t have profiles like people do, they have pages. Instead of friends, they have fans. It costs nothing to have a page for your business. To create a page, you must be legitimate representative of the brand. Once your page is up, you can use the feature to “suggest to friends” so they can become a fan. If you are already on Facebook, I’d like to invite you to become a fan of the WebStores Ltd. page.

2. Host an event. These are actual time-sensitive physical events. For example, I use Facebook to promote the seminars that WebStores Ltd holds. If you are launching a new product or holding a sale at your shop, don’t miss the opportunity to promote these with Facebook. You can even use Facebook to send invitations to your event. Each event invitation that you send requires an RSVP so if you want to, you can control numbers if space is limited. The events page also lets you send out waves of invitations so that you can add to your guest list at any time. You can invite your friends, fans and group members. From within Facebook events, you can send your invited guests additional information about the event to build enthusiasm for it.

3. Build a Group. Facebook is all about networking. Groups provide an excellent opportunity to tap into the social networks of your group’s members. Groups are simply Facebook pages where group members can interact with one another, post pictures and videos, and carry on discussions. Having a group page for your business can go a long way to creating a community of interest for your organization or brand. For example, if you own a garden center, a group would be a great way to build a community of gardeners discussing their common interest.

4. Let people know about your Facebook presence. Use other marketing tools to let you customers and potential customers know about your Facebook page. Add a link to your Facebook page from your web site. Be sure to include a notice on your e-mail marketing about your Facebook pages. You can even link your page to your Twitter account (if you have one).