With more than 350 million active users, Facebook is almost certainly populated by a good chunk of your customer base. The social networking giant is free to use, and has recently introduced “fan” pages for businesses.

Setting up a Facebook fan page is easy: simply click on this link and follow the instructions. The real question is why should you set one up? Here are five reasons why setting up a Facebook fan page could be a great move for your organisation:

  1.  Free of charge. It costs nothing but a few minutes of your time to create a Facebook fan page and to send the link to all your contacts.
  2.  Effective list-builder. Everyone who becomes a fan will have your page listed on their profile. Given that the average Facebook user has 130 friends*, you can introduce your business to 13,000 people with just 100 fans.
  3.  Shout louder. Won an award? Received some favourable press coverage? Announce it on your Facebook page and have the news picked up by your fans in real-time.
  4.  Direct customer feedback. E-commerce retailers in particular can benefit from speedy feedback from customers when they post photos and descriptions of new products.
  5.  Blog promotion. If you have a business blog, you can post links to each update from your Facebook fan page and benefit from extra traffic to your website.

To see a Facebook fan page in action, have a look at my company’s (and become a fan if you like what you see!). I use it primarily to raise the profile of my blog, whereas several of my clients use theirs to research new product and service ideas, or to build up their database of contacts.