n the first few years of social networking, MySpace was the big name. Between 2003 and 2006, it grew to 100 million users, and by June 2006, the website was even more visited than Google. Then came Facebook.
By 2008, Facebook had surpassed MySpace in worldwide users, and in United States users a year later. As MySpace declined (it dropped to approximately 25 million users in June 2012), some businesses wondered about making a major advertising investment in Facebook—might it not also be displaced as MySpace was?
Well, perhaps—but in the meantime Facebook has surpassed 950 million users (and about 145 million users in the United States, about 43 percent of the nation’s population). Other than Google.com, it is the single most visited website on the Internet, giving companies unprecedented access to potential consumers.
Featuring nearly a billion potential customers, every business should be using Facebook. It is at least as essential as having a business web page—and actually much easier to create. Whether you represent a big brand or a small business employing only a handful of people, you can bet that some portion of your customers are already on Facebook. Commonly, Facebook marketing is used by:
- Brands. Food, electronics, home goods, restaurants—nearly any kind of brand can be promoted through Facebook, turning passive customers into active fans who follow news of promotions and developments, and who share with their own friends.
- Local businesses. Whether a business is family-owned, or a franchise of a larger company, a Facebook page can be used to turn a local customer base into a fan base that more commonly visits your store.
- Personalities. Musicians, celebrities, authors, syndicated columnists—anybody who makes their money through being known wants to be known by as many people as they can on Facebook.
- Non-profit organizations. Charities, political groups, and public service campaigns can all leverage the natural sharing capabilities of Facebook.