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Facebook Just Might Be the Smaller Business' Best Marketing Tool

If you are among those who firmly believe that Facebook offers nothing to business but a way for their employees to waste time, you are not alone. But as the social networking tool grows in popularity, it seems increasingly likely that it could be redefining the whole concept of marketing.
If you are among those who firmly believe that Facebook offers nothing to business but a way for their employees to waste time, you are not alone. But as the social networking tool grows in popularity, it seems increasingly likely that it could be redefining the whole concept of marketing.Fast interviewed Stanford University professor BJ Fogg who is in the process of writing a book about the psychology of Facebook, and he lays out a powerful argument for Facebook's growing ability to serve as a business tool.

Fogg terms Facebook "the most effective persuasive technology ever" and notes that it's "high trust culture" (as opposed to MySpace) is what enables it to be such a persuasive force.

The crucial point for smaller businesses is Fogg's answer to the question: "How do you see these persuasion dynamics playing out in business?"

His answer: "A lot of our exposure to services and products is now going to be socially mediated. It's going to be very hard to create a centralized broadcasting message about a brand or product. That's gone. Organizations need to understand how to get distribution within these social networks. How do we get friends to tell friends? How do you create new viral videos? How do you create groups that people are going to join? How do you create events that people will invite other people to? That's where mass interpersonal persuasion comes in. Through the newsfeed and my social network, interesting stuff now comes to me; I don't have to go searching for it."

Even more significantly for smaller businesses, this is one definition of marketing in which larger businesses don't have to hold the advantage. Getting noticed on a social networking tool is more the result of creativity and effort than deep pockets. A viral video will get sent around if it's funny and clever. A great device will get talked about. As Fogg says, "You have to focus on creating a spectacular product or service, and your market will find you. The people it resonates with will share it with others, and it will be distributed."

Are you using Facebook to market your smaller business? Let us know how in the comments.

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