Should My Business Have a Fan Page on Facebook?
I can't think of a single reason your business shouldn't have a fan page on Facebook.
Consider the cost of traditional advertising -- are you really getting everything you hope your hard-earned money is being spent for? How certain are you you're reaching the right people? Consider the speed of traditional advertising -- if you take out a page in the local newspaper, how long will it be before that page (for which you've paid a lot of money) will actually be seen by the public? Radio and television advertising in very costly, and again, you can't be sure you're reaching the people you want to. It takes no more than the length of a sneeze to miss an advertisement (and commercials are a good time to make telephone calls or get something from the kitchen).
Now think about being able to target your audience, provide your viewers with up-to-the-minute information, be able to engage in two-way conversation with people who are interested in what you do, and do all this for little or no cost! (The basic Fan Page on Facebook is free, although there is a premium upgrade available for not too much money.) A fan page gives you an idea how well your business is viewed, and offers an opportunity to make adjustments that will increase your popularity.
I have a Facebook fan page, and it has enabled me to have a relationship with my followers. They feel invested in what I do. People like to be on the 'inside track'. Those who follow me become alert to (and curious about) my progress. When my next project is completed, I am more certain that they'll be interested in what I've done.
The person who encouraged me to develop a fan page is a silversmith -- she spends summers attending art fairs and trade shows, selling her jewellery. The hundreds of people who follow her fan page always know where she'll be (and what she'll be selling). Their knowledge of her work also put them in an excellent position to recommend her work to others. It shows in her sales, and it has cost her nothing.
Developing a relationship with your public helps to maintain 'repeat business' as well as attract new clients. You may even attract new colleagues and referrals: 'No, I don't do that, but this person I've been following does!' With a Facebook presence, your followers (customers or colleagues) have a constant reminder of you. People are more apt to seek and recommend friends than strangers.
A fan page helps you have a means of controlling of your trade and public image. It gives you much quicker and more reliable contact with your public and by keeping you in the public eye, keeps you also in the public thought. (Whoever was famous for being unknown?)
Paul TN Chapman, Blog Manager, Reed Social Media Group