But it is still too early. For now, we need to read the tea leaves of early adopters. Here are a few examples of success stories with Facebook that show a business impact:
- Bryce Gruber is the 23-year-old owner of IntenCity Global, a five-person marketing and public-relations firm in New York. She says Facebook works well for her and has brought tangible results. She recently drew more than 300 people to an opening party for a clothing store that she expected would only attract 150 to 200. And the people who learned of the party through Facebook bought several thousand dollars in merchandise. Her approach is to post information and reminders about her events regularly, and upload plenty of party pictures afterward. Each day, she gets 20 to 30 messages on her Wall and keeps that going with quick replies. The effort means she shows up often in her Facebook friends' news feeds, where people are notified of their friend's activities on Facebook.
- On the company page of Rootsgear's, which designs T-shirts with political and social messages, people can look at the firm's designs and see a calendar of upcoming events. The company stokes its group membership of about 1,400 by every few months sending out invitations to join to new Facebook friends collected by cofounder Sunmit Singh. Mr. Singh says the Facebook page drives more traffic to Rootsgear's e-commerce site than Google's search engine or MySpace, another social-networking site where it has a presence. And Facebook has helped the year-old company's sales.
- The company page on Facebook of Junnoon, an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, Calif., includes basic information such as address, hours, prices, photos and coming events, as well as reviews from local newspapers and Zagat. By opting to become a "fan" on the company page, instead of just a Facebook friend, people can make reservations directly from the page and post ratings and reviews. Although company pages are free, Facebook hopes companies that use them also will buy ad space through its new Social Ads program. Ads can be used to target Indian food enthusiasts in the local area. Companies can either pay per click or per page view. The minimum cost is $5 per day.
So where is the Buzz? You need to do 2 things right away: 1) Get a Facebook strategy for yourself personally (see my "Get a Facebook Strategy" blog post, November 2007), and 2) Start a company page for your company before someone else does. Think of this in the same way cybersquatters were buying URLs - you need to control your own destiny.
(Some portions of this post were excerpted from a Wall Street Journal article.)
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