Facebooking for business

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Facebook

Facebook is on everybody’s minds these days (or blogs). It’s the latest killer app/site/web 2.0/social/community thingy. Well, it’s not really the latest, since it’s been around for a few years, but since they opened up registration to non-college people, it really took off.

Since I joined Facebook, I’ve been able to create a continuous connection with family and friends who are overseas, and rediscover friends from days of yore. I’ve had people contact me who I haven’t seen or spoken to for 15 years!

Cons of Facebooking for business

But is Facebook a good business tool? I’m not sure. A number of bloggers believe that Facebook is a good business tool, and that it can help you promote yourself professionally. But I think there is a major problem with Facebooking (can it be a verb?) for business: there is too much blending of personal and business.

My Facebook profile is simultaneously communicating with my 20-something cousins and business contacts. I have pictures of my kids there plus announcements of business events. There are probably people on Facebook who maintain a purely professional profile, but I can’t/won’t do that since I need to use Facebook for personal communication too.

Pros of Facebooking for business

If we compare Facebook to the current standard in business networking, LinkedIn, Facebook has a definite advantage in that it helps you look alive; it brings color to your online face. With Facebook, you can post notes, change your status, send messages, build groups, etc. You also get to see what’s going on with your friends: who they’re friends with, what they’re doing, new pictures they’ve posted, etc.

LinkedIn is the most boring site on the planet. My profile just sits there and does nothing. It is not dynamic, it rarely changes, and has no personality whatsoever. The same for the profiles of my LinkedIn contacts – boring, static and cold.

As a website developer, I’ve found another major advantage of Facebook: it drives traffic to your sites. I have been working on a new site for many months, and now that it’s getting closer to official launch, I decided to put a link to it on my profile. Surprisingly, the stats show that a high number of visits are coming from Facebook. (If you want to see the site, go find me on Facebook and look at the sites listed in my profile…)

Conclusion

Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people around the world. It’s easy to use and dynamic. Although it can begin to consume way too much time if you’re not careful (read about Jason Calacanis’ Facebook melt-down) I do suggest that if you haven’t yet set up a Facebook profile, you do so immediately. People are looking for people over there, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity.

Update: Rebecca, illuminea’s Account Manager, pointed out this video which is a must see for anyone involved (obsessed) with Facebook:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PH4aElf6CU[/youtube]

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