Social networking is one of the 3 components to local search. Currently there are many different sites and services one can use. Facebook is one of the more popular services and one that you should take a closer look at, when discussing local search.

I have only been involved with Facebook for a short time but it is one that I use every day now. A lot has been and will continue to be written about Facebook but the two components I want to touch on are: local businesses using Facebook (today’s post) and local search on Facebook (tomorrow’s post).

Leveraging Facebook for Business: This is a nice summary (written by Jordan McCollum at Marketing Pilgram)  of two different articles about businesses and how they can use Facebook.   Facebook is a viable option for any business.  The smart businesses and organizations will look into how they can tap into this social networking, because it is only going to grow.

I would summarize Facebook’s key points for business are:
-it is very easy to connect with those in your field and/or customers
-can create topic / service specific group(s)
-can participate in your network marketplace
-can create and use a variety of applications within your profile
-overall is a good tool for branding yourself or business

What about the local business specifically? A few months ago Darby Sieben had an article: Facebook – Can Local Business Florish in Social Networking on his blog.  Darby talked about how a local (Toronto) Yoga instructor doubled her class size after posting it in the Facebook Marketplace.  He provides some cool stats and a link to the original article.

Darby believed small local business can and should use Facebook to build their business via their network market place. I totally agree.  Darby concluded: “I would encourage any small business owner to build their profile on Facebook.com..Then invite your best customers to join and have them talk about their experiences..if you have a unique product or service, build a group and really generate the buzz around it – one very interesting aspect of Social Networking is that people want to hear what other people have to say. Just ensure that you do it in a manner that is consistent with the forum that you are in.”

It does not take a lot of time to create your profile, the time commitment will come during the “social” aspect of Facebook -adding friends, applications, creating/interacting with groups.  For the small business, the enemy is usually time but it does not need to be a daily activity.  Remember our motto- small local business looking to find creative ways to increase their local on-line visibilty….