14: Promote Your Business

(EN: Repeating this notice at the head of each chapter: the specific details of this book are likely outdated, but the core concepts of social networking are likely timeless.)

With so much attention from so many people, it was only a matte of time before commercial interests wanted to join the party - and given that marketing on Facebook costs nothing but the time it takes to do it, it's an attractive target for many small operators.

(EN: The author continues through this chapter to give instruction without much in the way of advice, which is rather dangerous, as firms that ignore etiquette, intentionally or accidentally, can do much to damage their brands in the social media. I'll continue with the notes, but with the caveat that none of this should be done without further study and intense caution.)

Using Facebook Ads

Facebook is free to users, but generates revenue through advertising on the site, which is typically seen in the right column of various pages. Because FB has a great deal of information about its users, it enables its advertisers to be highly specific in targeting specific market segments.

The author offers some reassurance to users who are apprehensive: an advertiser can target their ad toward certain criteria (single females, between 30 and 45, who are college graduates, who live in Michigan, who own a cat, and who like classical music) but cannot purchase a list of the names of people who meet those specifications. (EN: However, such reassurances are only promises that may or may not be kept, and FB can change its policies at any time and make your continued use of the service contingent on your agreeing to new terms.)

Some extremely general advice is given for advertising: identify goals, determine audience, keep your message simple, use an image, etc.)

A link to create an advertisement is located in various places in the site - most commonly, you can click the "see more" in any advertising section to retrieve a list of ads you may like, which includes a button to create an ad.

Criteria for the ad itself include a destination URL, a title (25 characters), a body (135 characters) and an image ( uop to 110 x 80, no animation).

The advertisement may be targeted based on location, demographics, likes and interests, and some "Advanced options" that are not explained very well. (EN: Notably, it does not seem possible to indicate an advert should show on certain pages - it's focused on audience - though there is the option to contact the FB advertising team, suggesting that advertisers who have a significant amount to spend can discuss other options).

Once this is done, the order can be placed and the fee paid by options that include credit card or online payment services. (EN: No mention of rates and schedules for advertising - my guess is this was omitted because "it depends" and because it will change over time. FB itself is evasive on the topic, suggesting you can see pricing while creating an ad, but it looks like there are CPC and CPM options and that they use bidding as well.)

Business Accounts

Use of a "page" to promote a business has been covered in the last chapter, but it is also permissible for a regular account to be created under the name of a business to leverage the full array of features that any individual FB account holder has at their disposal.

However, the author suggests that FB restricts certain activities for business accounts: it does not allow a business to view profiles of users or other content, the business is not listed as a "person" when searches or conducted, and a business cannot send or receive friend requests.

(EN: I'm not sure how much of this is technically true - I've seen many businesses set up the same as a personal account The ability to "friend" rather than merely "like" is one of the more obvious signs of this. I don't believe FB polices this policy, if it exists as well, and have not seen any argument that it is undesirable or offensive to their "normal" users.)

He does mention that business accounts are meant to represent the business, not any individual employee, and are often administered by marketing departments and used only for official business communications.

He details the way to create a business account, which involves logging out of your personal account, finding the link to create a FB page without logging in ... then provides no further information. (EN: This doesn't seem possible, as I tested it and the second step in creating a page is creating an account, so I don't see how this could possibly work.)

HE also indicates that FB doesn't allow people to have multiple accounts, and "treats this as a serious violation of its terms," and even suggests that a person who creates a business account must not have a personal account.

(EN: I don't think that's entirely true, either. While FB is set up programmatically so that only one account can be created for a given e-mail address, it's common practice for professionals who work with Facebook, marketers and developers in particular, to create a separate work account from the one they use at home, using their separate work and home e-mail addresses to create them. I have never heard an instance where FB reacted to this and can think of no reason why they would. Creating false personalities is discouraged, but having multiple accounts is not.)

Developing Applications

Another way of making money on FB, not at all related to promoting a business but commercial nonetheless, is using FB as a platform to deliver software applications.

Many of the applications on FB are provided to users at no charge, and are developed by those who aren't looking to make money, but commercial development can be done, and some have been extremely successful at making income from apps.

The author suggests that "only basic programming skills are needed" (EN: which is technically true, but you can't build sophisticated applications with "basic" skills) and FB provides extensive documentation about its application programming interface (API) and plugins, both for Web and mobile versions of FB.

The only way to derive revenue from users of applications is to charge users, who pay with FB credits to use your application. Facebook itself keeps 30% of the revenue as a commission and pays out twice a month by electronic transfer. (EN: No details on minimum payouts, options, etc.) Using other methods of payment are expressly forbidden by the terms of service.

(EN: Detail here is scant and insufficient, just gives a sense that it's possible. Consult other sources.)