In the social networking world known as Facebook it can be hard to know whether you need a page that accepts friends, or seeks fans. It’s difficult to know when the page is about you the person, or when you should be operating as a business.

With a guest speaker earlier this month, the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce tried to answer these questions and many more during a Facebook 101 workshop. The guest speaker was Becky Kimes, an internet marketing specialist who helps local business owners create and maintain a profitable online presence.

The workshop had about 20 participants looking for assistance on how to break into the social networking world.

Kimes said to start, business owners need to have a personal profile before creating a business page. Through filling out personal interests, and connecting with friends, family and acquaintances, Kimes stressed it will allow businesses to build a successful profile later.

A personal profile means you can request friends and build a base quickly, and requires mutual acceptance. A business page requires other people to “like” the page, or in Facebook world, become a “fan.”

Kimes said Facebook business pages are beneficial because the pages do pop up in online search engines. Because of this, Kimes said business owners should always take the time to fill out the descriptions, which will give assistance to the business popping up in search engines, such as Google because key words will be used throughout the completed descriptions.

Another layer of advice provided by Kimes is that no business should rely on a Facebook page having one administrator. Kimes said if the only administrator is banned from Facebook, or something else happens, there has to be someone else available to manage the page.

It’s no surprise more and more businesses, even those old-school establishments who still don’t understand social networking, are working to catch up with the technology.

When it comes to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, statistics don’t lie.

Facebook alone has an estimated 600 million users, with an estimated 700 billion minutes being spent on the site per month. The average Facebook user has 130 friends, Facebook users can interact with more than 900 million objects (e.g., community pages), the average user is connected to 80 pages and groups and events, and the average member creates 90 pieces of content each month.

Social networking is about grouping specific individuals.

The impact social networking has on society became clear in 2011 when citizens of Tunisia and Egypt used the sites to rally the troops, which were the country’s unhappy citizens, to get rid of leaders who had survived assassination attempts, rigged elections and controlled all aspect of government, local media and policy. Ultimately, these actions laid the groundwork, showing people everywhere the power they literally have at their fingertips.

While social media has taken the 21st Century by storm, it is not a new concept. In fact, social networking originally began in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, who created a usernet that allowed people to post articles or personal thoughts.

Social media has evolved over a span of 30 years, and for creators is becoming easier and easier to top the last trend. MySpace took 10 days to code; Facebook was created in a dorm room.

With programs like Facebook and Twitter, people have the capability to group together like a small rural community or neighborhood subdivision, except in these cases instead of in person most of the networking is through online chatter. There are millions of people all over the world looking for individuals with similar interests, tastes in cooking, sports or even gardening. They develop friendships and alliances even if they have never met face to face.

Now, businesses and organizations are quickly learning that they too can capitalize on this free service available on the information super highway.

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