Facebook is a popular social networking site with a high number of regular users. The users mainly use Facebook in order to socialize with friends. Nielsen report (2010) notes that social networking sites account for 22% of the total internet usage (Treadway and Smith, 2010). In January 2010 the Facebook demographics and statistics report 2010, showed that Facebook had achieved a 145 % growth (Corbett, 2010). This reports notes that Facebook had 20 million users back in 2007. However, today the social site has over 103 million US based users (Corbett, 2010). Therefore the popularity of Facebook is tremendous. Setting a business presence on Facebook is a viable avenue of reaching out to a large number of potential customers. In addition to this, it is cheap to set up and manage a business presence on Facebook.
Setting up a Facebook online presence is an easy task which allows business to personalize their appearance on the social site. Businesses with a Facebook presence can target a desired group of individuals and market (Treadway and Smith, 2010). A business can use social ads and/or the business ads which can further be linked with the official business websites. Through Facebook, businesses can get in touch with customers directly and receive feedbacks. The business as well as customers can and set up discussions regarding the company's services and products. Setting a Facebook presence requires the use of attractive graphics and texts in order to direct Facebook traffic towards their advertisements. The business is at liberty to change or develop new appearance for their Facebook presence at any time.
Businesses which manage to establish themselves on Facebook may often overindulge in this kind of marketing (Treadway and Smith, 2010). The disadvantage of this is that the social site may lose popularity leaving the company's advertising in an obsolete social site. If this is the major marketing avenue then company may lose contact with majority of their customers at an instant. Therefore companies may have to employ other marketing strategies to ensure that they have back up plans. Therefore Facebook cannot be a long term marketing tool and can only be used along with other marketing strategies (Treadway and Smith, 2010).
Once businesses sets up a Facebook presence they are able to create a profile which can be fine tuned to reach the targeted audience. People using Facebook are allowed to "join" or "like" the business profile. Once they do so they receive news and feeds regarding their company's desired products. The customers are given a chance to comment and post their opinions regarding these products (Breslin, passant and Decker, 2009). The business has to set up personnel to take care of the customer comments and opinions on Facebook. These people must have adequate knowledge regarding the business products and services so that they can offer good Facebook support (Breslin, passant and Decker, 2009). Through this method the business can advertise its products and offer customer care services. The company's customers who are already on Facebook usually find it easy to communicate with the company through the social site.
Letting employees participate in social networking sites can have a negative effect on their performance (Breslin, passant and Decker, 2009). The employees themselves can be addicted to social networking at the expense of their duties. The organization can lose its control over the flow of information. This can result to the disclosure of private information by employees. As a result several organizations especially financial firms have banned the use of social networking sites (Breslin, passant and Decker, 2009). People who are found violating these regulations are also punished and sometimes even fired because of the threat they pose to the company.
Setting up a business presence on Facebook may seem to be an excellent idea to most companies. However, these companies should ensure that they have the capacity to exploit these advantages as well as manage the possible disadvantages. Social networking sites are known to reduce the employee performance because most workers tend to over indulge in social networking. Introduction of Facebook in the workplace may reduce productivity significantly. It is also important to note that employees may share too much information with the public some of which may damage the company's reputation. On the other hand Facebook is a fantastic avenue through which the business can advertise and market its products. Companies should set up a Facebook presence but must ensure that the negative effects of social networking are managed or minimized.