Since 2004, over 40% of the United States population has created an account on the ubiquitous social networking website known as Facebook. In just 7 years, the site has grown from its origins as a Harvard university photo site to become the second most popular website in the world, with 600 million users strong. By now, cthe odds are pretty good that you have a Facebook account and have grown familiar enough with wall posts and fan pages that you don't need an article to tell you about them. What you may not know about, however, is just how much value facebook can add to your business.

Yes, it's true. Facebook is a tool for business as well as for pleasure. With its massive user base and numerous publication tools, the site makes the perfect platform from which to market your business. And believe it or not, some of the best methods of Facebook marketing are completely free. The following are three methods can be used to promote your business online through Facebook, whether you have the money to spend on advertising or not.

1. Create a Page

If you've been a Facebook user for any length of time, you've probably been invited to join a few pages for businesses or celebrities. On the off chance that you haven't, a Facebook page is a profile-like web space that is used by people and organizations to promote themselves and their causes. To make your own page, look up "create a page" on the bottom left corner of your profile, enter all the requested information (business name, location, and contact info), then use the "invite people" feature invite people from your friend's list to "like" your page. Once people have decided to "like" one of your pages, you can use the messaging feature to send all of those people mass messages promoting your business. People who like your page will be notified whenever you post something to the page wall, so every time you post something from the page, the people who have joined will be reminded of your business. You can also post your business' website and contact information on the site, making it a handy reference for potential clients.

2. Join Pages and Groups

Creating your own page is great. But if you really want to get the most out of Facebook, you need to join other people's pages as well. By joining pages related to your area of business (e.g. potential clients' pages), you can post messages from your own page that promote and advertise your services. Good things to post include blog entries and website links, as these direct viewers to your business websites. Anyone who clicks "like" on your postings can be added to your page, and anyone who happens to be looking for the services you offer can easily contact you by joining your page and looking up your contact information.

3. Use your Profile Creatively

Inevitably, some of the people you invite to join your page will not join. Some users may be inactive, while others may avoid joining pages as a matter of principle. Fortunately, by using your profile creatively, you can get the message out to these people as well.

The first change you can make to your profile is to add a professionally done picture of yourself in business attire. You can set this picture as your profile picture by cliking "make profile picture" in the bottom left hand corner of the photo viewing page. Doing so will give your profile viewers a general impression that you are a businessperson, and may get some people looking up your info to see what you do.

The second change you can make is to start a business blog, and post each blog entry to your Facebook wall. A business blog is a regularly updated journal-like web page that you use publish writings and images related to your business. You can start a blog right now by signing up for an account with Blogger, WordPress, or any one of the many popular blogging sites out there. From your blog, you can publish several paragraph entries on your topics of expertise, plugging your business' products and services every other paragraph. You can then post these entries to your wall whenever they are published, thereby creating an audience for your material and potential customers for your business. It is a good idea to name your blog after your business, and to include your business' contact information somewhere prominent on the blog page. For example, in my case, I'd say "you can find my blog at "


If you get started today using the three suggestions I mentioned here, you'll grow your company's brand awareness in no time. Naturally, the tactics mentioned in this article increase in effectiveness as your friends list grows, so if you plan to promote your business through Facebook, make sure you keep growing your friends list by adding people you meet in real life and through online communities. Of course, the strategies in this article are by no means the be all and end all of Facebook marketing. The site does offer paid advertising, after all. But for business owners on a budget, there is no better place to start with Facebook marketing than with the three simple strategies mentioned above.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Button is a freelance writer based in Canada