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Published:November 11th, 2008 09:37 EST

Facebook Goes Into Business Again

By Garrett Godwin

MICHIGAN: Over the last four years, Facebook has expanded as the main site for social networking -- outperforming MySpace in membership, which is not only college students but now also teenagers and adults of all ages. Now, with the economy in a Great Recession, retaliers are using their fan pages from the site to achieve an wider audience in hopes of offering advice and requests on certain items their customers may be interested in.

For instance, Farmington Hills` Shirt Box owner Rodney Brown made a sale of $800 dollars from a shirt by one of his customers. "It`s another venue to touch base with customers" he stated. "It`s not just for the teenagers anymore."

Unlike paid programs, these fan pages reveal how Facebook users can in touch with the retailers as well as directions on how to get there, and so forth.

"In a difficult economy", Brown continued, "any way we can reach out helps. It`s a heck of a lot cheaper than putting a stamp on an envelope."

Since Facebook introduced them in November of last year, fan pages have been a source of profit for business. According Web analytical provider Compete, over two percent of all time spent on the Net was used on the site. A recent study from the Massachusetts marketing firm Rosetta shows 32% of retailers prefer Facebook, with MySpace in second (27%), closely followed by YouTube (26%), and Flickr coming last (5%). However, developing fan sites requires dedication and discipline.

"I`d warn against just rushing into Facebook as a default answer" said Adam Cohen of Rosetta, in which he`s a partner of. "Having the page out there by itself is probably not going to drive business or customer engagement. It`s how you leverage it.

"Not every brand out there is like Nike Air Jordan and can do no wrong. Retailers need to be committed to address the dialogue in a respectful way."

Still, not every business retalier isn`t ready to speak Facebook. "Hopefully the page will stir up activity that will make people want to be our friend", Brown commented, "but wow, that sounds sort of pathetic."