Facebook, a dirty word?

Have you ever noticed that people cringe or at least have an opinion when ever you mention Facebook? Despite being around for over ten years, this social media site still continues to polarise people, and most still find Facebook a dirty word.

For some there is a stigma attached to a narcissistic attitude that seems to be required when actively using Facebook, for others there is fear in privacy and how the data collected is used. And rightly so, we provide our full name, date of birth, place of birth and parents full names, all of which are used by banks to verify your identity when creating a new bank account!

Yet as a business owner, Facebook and regularly posting on social media sites are still the most cost effective ways of boosting your business profile. Facebook enables a user to see the real picture and get a sense of who your business really is, based on real people visiting and connecting with your business. Regular posts, when supported by having a website, also assist in boosting your google rating making it easier for customers to find you.

While most people are fearful that “big brother” is watching. Really, all of that private data that is collected by Facebook, is available for you to use, in that you can careful select the people you would like to choose to advertise to, based on their interactions, not only on Facebook but also through google.

It is a myth that it is just young people using Facebook. A few years ago, I launched a yoga class at the beach, with the demographic likely to be women in their 50s. I paid for advertising on Facebook, emailed my existing students and placed flyers at the studio. At the same time, I noticed another teacher had been advertising all over town, with flyers, posters and adverts in the local paper. Her class was at the same time and at the same location (she had neglected to notify the council that she had changed the time she had originally booked). There were over 30 people at my very first class, while her class that had been operating for some weeks, had only four students.

The difference? Facebook advertising. While she had a Facebook page for her classes, the profile had been inactive for months. The last post showed she had been graced with an editorial in the local newspaper, but no pictures of the class or what the students might expect in coming to the class.

The moral of the story? Change YOUR privacy settings and be mindful what you are posting will potentially be out there forever, check what information is available publicly within your profile and personal data. However most importantly, get with the times, and start making Facebook work for you.