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Lots to like about Facebook

Recent changes to Facebook can help etailers market their site by increasing interaction with customers

Despite Facebook appearing frequently in the press lately because of privacy concerns, it has made a number of system changes that allow retailers to really make the most of this social networking opportunity.

The most notable change is that fan pages on Facebook now give users the option to “like” the page rather than “become a fan”.

While the functionality of these pages will remain the same, Facebook decided to make this change to make things more consistent on the site (users already use “like” to comment on their friends’ status updates) and easier to understand. Updates will still appear in the newsfeed of users that have chosen to “like” that page and users can comment on the wall as before.

In addition to the straightforward “like” change, Facebook has also announced the availability of a number of new tools that can be incorporated into a retailer or brand’s website in order to help build the number of “likes” that a page has.

The aim of these initiatives is to make user experiences more social and personalised, and adding the “like” button to any page on an etailer’s site is the most basic option. This can be done by adding a simple piece of code to the website, which you can find on Facebook’s help pages. Once users choose to “like” a particular product or page, they can then see how many other people have done this too, including the names of their friends.

This action then appears on that user’s Facebook wall and in the newsfeed of all their Facebook friends, so it is easy to see how this can quickly and simply market a product or site to a number of new potential customers through a source they trust.

Other tools include an activity feed that is displayed on the etailer’s site. When visitors to that site are logged into Facebook, they can then see in the activity feed what actions their friends have taken on the site.

A simple “Find us on Facebook” box can also be added that allows users to see which of their friends already “like” the etail site and gives them the option to do the same in a quick and easy way.

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