We’ve all heard the incredible Facebook statistics. There are several, and they confirm what many of us already know—the time is now to get involved with this powerful marketing tool.

Here are a few facts about Facebook, and its growth that are worth repeating:

  • If the social networking site were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, behind only China and India.
  • It’s second in web site traffic, behind only Google.
  • More than 500 million people use Facebook worldwide.
  • The people who use Facebook, are on it longer than any other web site.

The list goes on.

What does this mean for you and your business? The Facebook phenomenon is growing too big to not be involved. Simply put, business owners need to cast aside their excuses. No matter the business, no matter the industry, your customer base is on Facebook, and it is time to engage.

Many businesses in entertainment, technology, or any other industry with a strong customer appeal have it easier than some, there’s no doubt. There are customers seeking out their product. Engaging with them in a meaningful manner can help reign business in.

Business to business companies, or companies that offer a slightly less glamorous product should not be on the sidelines, however. One common excuse from companies on the fence is that no one wants to talk about_______ (fill in the blank with your business’s product). With more than 500 million members, it is safe to say that the people who consume your product are using the website. It’s up to you to engage with them in a meaningful way.

One dentist for example took advantage of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. After people consumed a certain green beverage, they could come in to have their green teeth cleaned, the post read. With Halloween or any other candy-driven holiday, the possibilities for entertaining posts would be endless.

Do a Facebook search on your industry. There are successful business pages for dentists, insurance agents, construction companies and car mechanics. None of these are businesses offering a particularly “sexy” product. What they have in common is a desire to be seen as an expert in their industry. Every day the successful pages are out there connecting with customers in their individual industries.

Another common excuse is that businesses are scared it’s just a “fad.” The simple truth is that social networking is here to stay. With all the unbelievable facts listed above, it’s still possible that Facebook has not hit its ceiling yet.

There is that hypothetical possibility that one day the website will lose its power to drive traffic. Something will fill that void. Your customers have a desire to do business with someone they know and trust. Facebook is the best vehicle to develop that relationship right now. If you take away Facebook, that desire on your customer’s behalf will not go away.

So how do you engage with your customers in a meaningful way?

  1. A unique landing page-“The Wall” is the default place that Facebook sends your page’s visitors. You can create a landing page that entices customers to “like” your page. This gives your business a personal edge, allowing it to stand out.
  2. Have a conversation- Many businesses continue to use Facebook and other social networking platforms as a tool to release press releases. They are missing the point. Facebook is about having a conversation. So go to your fans posts, and comment. Don’t be afraid to talk about things that don’t have a direct relation to your business’s bottom line. Remember, that people do business with places they know and trust. So don’t be afraid to create relationships.
  3. Ask a question- The best way to see how people feel about something is to ask. Maybe you found a link with something newsworthy in your industry. When you post it to your wall, ask for thoughts. Or, maybe you ask what blogs people are reading, or what they are doing with their weekend. This gets people involved.
  4. Establish yourself as a leader-Are you constantly reading online web sites that have to do with your industry? Don’t just file that information away for your knowledge. Share it with your Facebook community. This helps educate potential customers, and lets them know that you are on top of industry news as well.