There’s no question that more and more people are using social media. Facebook has become the next big thing; the cleaner, sparkly version of MySpace.
I originally started using Facebook back in college, mostly to keep track of my friends from high school. Facebook grew and started to allow high school students to participate as well and finally opened to the general public. As a social tool, to keep up with friends I have found Facebook to be invaluable, especially on the “college scene”. However, as a business tool, I must admit I have my doubts. Some people find Facebook to work really well. But it seems that Facebook is a “viral” effect. Its like posting a youtube video, it hard to know what’s going to suddenly take off and be the next big thing, and what is going to flop.
Facebook has a business section that you can explore which has more in-depth information. They talk about advertising and also applications. Applications are an interesting concept. They allow you to create a game or some other hook, which brings you users that you can then give your information to. There are plenty of website about how to “create a viral app” or the “best app design” but here’s something to consider: The majority of people I know on facebook, who are average Gen Y users, think of application requests as spam. The majority of applications require you to invite friends before you can use it and so it maintains a vicious cycle. My senior year of college, these applications gained a nickname: FACEBOOK AIDS. That’s right, we thought of applications like STDs; they spread quickly, everyone you touch gets it and it clutters up your entire profile.
However, there are way to make creative and useful applications. I use friendfeed’s application on my profile, as well as a “free gift” one so I can send cute images to my friends to brighten their day.
You can also create a group or just a profile specifically about your business. This gives you a chance to link up with people you work with, went to school with or have been your clients. Of course then you have to figure out where to draw the line on personal information: do you post crazy pictures? What if someone else does and tags you in them? Do you list your birthday, phone number and religious affiliation? You have to decided how much you want to give.
I admit, I’ve not really used Facebook for business. I use it mostly social and list my business information. What do you think? Here is a blog that talks about business leverage in more detail and here is one that talks about the cons. Feel free to share your experience or other data. The debate rages on.