How Does Facebook Work?

A Basic Overview of Facebook

Facebook Overview
Facebook for fun and business!. Credit: jdillontoole | Getty Images

With over a billion users, Facebook is the most widely used social network. Because so many people use Facebook, over one million businesses advertise there.

Initially, Facebook started as a social network for students at Harvard, and later expanded to other colleges. Since then, it's opened up to anyone and everyone, allowing people to connect with old school mates, family overseas and more. However, its uses aren't just being social.

Through Facebook, you can connect with your clients and customers, and build your business credibility and reputation to reach your market.

The Inner Workings of Facebook

Many people use Facebook for fun and entertainment, to post information, interact with friends and family, and enjoy themselves through games. But there's much more to Facebook. Similar to Google, Facebook pays attention to what its users do, and will provide information based on activity. For example, it will look at the similar connections people share. When you’re connected with Friend A and Friend B, Facebook will suggest that Friend A and Friend B also become friends. This networking helps to connect people all around the world. Facebook also pays attention to the things you like, offers you click on, and what you share. It might seem creepy, until you realize what a benefit this can be in promoting your home business.


Getting Started on Facebook

Signing up for Facebook is fast and free. All you need is a name and email. Once you have an account, you fill in your profile where you can add a profile picture, a cover photo, a bio and other information you want to share. Note, if you don't want the world to know something about you, don't post it on Facebook.

Through your email, Facebook can search and find your contacts that also have profiles on Facebook so you can "friend" them. If they accept your friend request, you'll be considered friends, and you'll begin to see their Facebook posts and they'll see yours.

Another way to find friends is through the Friend Finder. Click on the people icon at the top of the page to see your friend requests and access the Friend Finder. You might know these people or you might not. Facebook suggests them based on the friends you're connected to. Note that you might get friend requests from people you don't know. You have to decide if you want to connect to strangers, but be careful. Many strange folk and scammers use Facebook to find people. A safe rule of thumb is to only accept requests from strangers if many of your trusted connections are already friends with him. Facebook lets you know how many and who are mutual friends so you can decide if you want to accept the friend request.

Fun on Facebook

You can chat with, send messages, and write notes to your friends through Facebook, making it a great way to stay connected. Facebook has discussion groups on nearly every topic and many people and businesses have pages, which you can "like" to be a fan of, get news and updates, and even coupons or discounts.

Facebook also offers a host of games and activities. 

You can use Facebook for purely social reasons, or you might want to create a group page or a business fan page for your business.

How Facebook Can Work for Your Business

Facebook can also be an effective way to inexpensively promote your home or small business. Because Facebook limits the number of profile friends to 5,000, consider setting up a Facebook page that allows for unlimited fans, and through which you can promote your business. For example, you can share your blog posts or special offers. You can promote your page on other social media and your website or blog, inviting others to “like” (formerly, become a fan of) your Facebook business page

Another option is to start a Facebook group, so you can have discussions with your clients, customers, and prospects.

Groups allow for easier conversation than fan pages. Further, because Facebook now limits how many fans will see your page posts, groups can be a better way make sure everyone is seeing what you're sharing. 

You can promote an event and/or host an online event through Facebook as well. Not only can you let people know about the event, but you can have discussions around the event. Facebook makes it easy to invite your "friends" who can RSVP through the event page. 

Facebook offers paid advertising options as well. You can "boost" a post that has lots of engagement so that more people see it. Or you can create a pay-per-click ad that runs on Facebook. One of the great benefits of Facebook ads over other PPC networks, such as Google Adwords, is the ability to highly target who sees the ad. You can target by gender, age, location, interest, and more.

Is it Time to Put Facebook to Work for You?

You might be feeling social media overwhelm; however, as a home business owner, you can't ignore the benefits of social networking. It's affordable (free in most cases), has an expansive reach to your market, and it's effective at engaging people to look at your business. The trick to managing social media, including Facebook, is to be visible where your market is, and provide content that makes them take notice.