UPTOWN Professional Aug 8, 2012

Facebook Is the New Way to Do Business

Tech Bytes: Facebook is the New Way to Do BusinessBy Chris Pointe

Facebook has transcended social networking and has become the face of business networking. The Internet is a dominant fixture in today’s society, and with it came the emergence of social networking websites designed to promote interpersonal relationships. Facebook is the largest and most popular of these and has gone from simply being recreational to becoming vital in commerce as well. It now has more than 800 million active users, with 50 percent of its users logging on every day. Networking is the foundation of business, and Facebook has transformed online networking and the business world simultaneously.

Author and award-winning business coach Dante Lee understands the power and potential of networking online. Through Facebook, he has mastered turning fans into prospective clients. Lee is the president/ CEO of Diversity City Media and cofounder of Lee Moss Media. His companies assist their clients in reaching African-American consumers through online advertising and public relations. His book, Black Business Secrets: 500 Tips, Strategies & Resources for African American Entrepreneurs (Smiley Books, $15.95), explains that business is 10 percent what you are selling and 90 percent to whom you are selling it. It also highlights how using the power of social media promotion can expand your influence and help you gain more customers.

“Social media is engaging,” shares Lee, which is why he joined Facebook about a year ago. “It gives you access to possible clients and allows you to market to new customers. People want the latest news and the most up-to-date information.” Lee ran stories specifically geared toward certain groups of people, such as single moms or young black professionals. When these ads resonated with a certain demographic, he transformed them into campaigns. “Those campaigns converted one out of every 10 readers into fans.” Astonishingly, his flagship website’s page, Blacknews.com, reached 100,000 fans in just one week on Facebook.

“Marketing is a science and science is about experimenting,” states Lee, whose experimentation with demographics was instrumental to his success. Facebook has given him the ability to dialog with the people who support and help grow his business. Unlike typical marketing, it was the ability to have a two-way conversation online that helped him keep his audience engaged. Social media maximizes word of mouth advertising, because when readers find information to which they can relate, they discuss it with their Facebook friends. Blacknews.com recently reached more than 300,000 fans – evidence of Facebook’s business potential and proof of Lee’s marketing genius.

In today’s technology-driven society, more businesses are incorporating social media into their marketing concepts. Statistics indicate that more than 1.5 million local businesses have Facebook pages. The average Facebook user becomes a fan of four pages a month, which indicates that this trend will likely continue to increase. More than 30 billion pieces of content, such as weblinks, news stories, blog posts and other information are shared each day on this popular website. Information travels fast online, which is why sites like Facebook are so enticing to businesses. Companies seeking a more cost-effective and interactive way to promote their business are flocking to social media. Facebook has capitalized on this marketing trend and has become a huge asset in the world of commerce.