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SmartIdea: Turning Your Small Biz Customers Into Fans Via Facebook
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By Rich Karpinski

Facebook's new seem like a truly odd concept, maybe even odder if you are not familiar with the social networking site.

Here's the step-by-step:

1. Facebook Ads let *companies* build their own Facebook pages.

2. Users on Facebook can link to those pages as “friends” (yes, brands as friends).

3. The company and the user then exchange messages about the brand (with or without explicit ads attached) that are visible throughout that person’s network of friends.

4. All of this is done with targeting help gleaned from Facebook's "social graph" of information about users, their activities, their friends the Web of connections between them all.

I told you it was odd.

So what are Facebook Ads *really* all about and how can a small business take advantage of them?




The Power of Influencer Marketing

This is all about viral or influencer marketing. With an overload of information about products the norm these days, people trust their friends or others that they consider knowledgeable (an influencer) more than any other source.

The key to marketing in this environment is to inject your company or brand as a peer in the marketing environment. You don't talk *to* your customers, you talk *with* them. You don't broadcast messages to them, you share info that they share with others.

This isn't a new idea. Books from Seth Godin's Unleashing the Ideavirus to Ken Blanchard's Raving Fans have touted this approach for years.

A quick check of Amazon for info on those titles spawned a more recent book that cuts directly to our topic today: Marketing to the Social Web.

What all of these books have in common is the same idea that is at the root of Facebook's "social ads" -- turn your customer into an endorser, an ally, a *fan* and your marketing will happen almost by itself (aside from all the hard work it takes to build these fans, target them online and tend to the relationships).

Ultimately, what Facebook's social ads represent is the first large-scale, universally-available implementation of a "raving fans" marketing ecosystem.

You can build a Facebook page for your business today and buy targeted ad messages on the platform to get your word out.

Small business successes will be born out of this environment -- though it's hard to tell who or how.
But why not your SmartBiz?




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