How does Facebook work?

Many (small business) people ask me “How does Facebook work“?

And “How can it be profitable for my business?”.

I’ll try to answer that question below from a business point of view.

Before explaining how Facebook works, let me ask you first:

Why are you on Facebook?

Or, if you aren’t yet, why would you join?

When you search for an answer on the Net, you’ll see that many reasons are given, but in my opinion there’s a growing trend in nowadays individualized society to express oneself as an individual in a group they create themselves!

More and more people like to be showcased on TV and on the Internet. They want to be heard.

That desire is mainly based on one of the most striking human characteristics:

people like to belong to a community!

only… a community they LIKE.
Social networks use that in their advantage.

How does Facebook work?

So, to answer the question Why Facebook, there basically are three real reasons:

  1. to build contacts and find lost ones,
  2. to profile and express yourself for whatever reason or
  3. to do business.

Pick any of these reasons and you can use the other 2 within it. And that’s easy to do on Facebook, because you can cross-communicate.

On his Facebook blog, Mark Zuckerberg says:

When we built Facebook in 2004, our goal was to create a richer, faster way for people to share information about what was happening around them. We thought that giving people better tools to communicate would help them better understand the world, which would then give them even greater power to change the world.

Emphasis is on ‘around them’.
You see, whenever YOU connect to someone on Facebook, by inviting her/him as a friend, THEY become part of your unique, personal newsfeed. You are able to read their messages and responses.
Thus you get feedback and new opinions from all Friends in your network, which on its turn invokes reactions from you and others.

It’s this newsfeed that makes Facebook a social network and simple ideas can spread like wildfire reaching a crowd in no time.

Are you beginning to see the answer to the question “How does Facebook work”?

The same applies to Facebook’s Fanpages. If you see one of your friends join an interesting fan page, you may want to join too. And that action may even invoke your friends to join. If that happens, you have a snowball effect.

That’s why Fanpages are popular amongst companies. Once the gets a lot of fans, they can update their page and their newsfeed spreads this message amongst all these fans.

Take a look at this one and notice the number people who like this page in the menu at the left!


Now, I don’t say you can achieve results like this big company, but still this can be very interesting for your business, because…

…there’s a distinction between Friends and Fans in my opinion.

Friend can be REAL friends, but also any person who invites you to be a friend, even if you don’t know this person.
Even if you know the person that invites you very well, they may not be real friends. Great examples are parents who invite their children. Is this social family control? Don’t they see their children at home? Do the children want to accept?

Fans are a whole other breed. They’ve expressed their interest in the topic by becoming a fan. Voluntarily! Because they liked what they saw.

Seeing a friend become a fan therefore has a huge impact. And then the personal recommendation kicks in. People tend to buy faster if something is recommended by a friend.

That’s the answer to the question “How does Facebook work”!
Are you seeing possibilities here?

If you’re interested in how to create and use highly successful ads on Facebook, just sign up for my newsletter at the top left and you’ll get 6 videos explaining how to do just that.

So, what do you think about how Facebook works?
Post your comments below

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15 thoughts on “How does Facebook work?

  1. btelis says:

    Till now i dint belive to thw power of social networking…now it seems that is a necessity..

  2. Dexter says:

    I have been on Facebook for sometime and I have seen it really grow. What has really surprised me is how it has grown for businesses. I have recently built a fan page for one of my websites and I have seen the interest in the business grow. I am very pleased withe my results so far. Now it about time to start converting.

  3. Uk says:

    Really a very informative and good post regarding to facrbook social networking site. a facebook is good platform for advertise or promote the business online. thanks for the wonderful post.

  4. Jexa says:

    I have had success with facebook using the fanpage concept you described above. I think your comment on the differention between fans and friends is a great one.
    The fan designation shows true interest in the subject whereas the friend is there for many possible reasons.
    Looking forward to reading more from you!

  5. Susan says:

    I honestly believe that Facebook is a better tool than Twitter. It’s more interactive, and less overrun with businesses that just spam with advertisements. Facebook has more content available and people typically spend more time on it than they do on Twitter.

    • Case Stevens says:

      That’s not my experience.
      I started out on Twitter just helping other people I already knew.
      That’s how I got feedback, new friends (real (viral) friends!) and a few profitable JV invitations. A very interactive experience. πŸ™‚

  6. @Susan What type of business are you promoting?

    I’ve had some great success with facebook and twitter, but with completely different outcomes.

    Facebook seems to be the ‘me me me’ channel where everyone wants to discuss how awesome they are, whereas on twitter, a lot more content sharing goes on (at least in my experience).

    I get more clickthroughs from facebook to my articles, but have made quality connections on twitter that have led to guest posts and many other opportunities.

    I use my facebook fan page much like I do twitter, sharing links (only one in five is to my blog) and things of value for my fans and keep my profile page for my personal rants etc.

    Thanks for the article mate!

    • Case Stevens says:

      The response on social networks may be (a lot) different depending on the niche you’re in.
      And it depends on your personality that you show in your profile and your personal preferences. See Tom’s comment (2).
      That’s why even people in the same niche can achieve different results, although there’s always a trend.
      You’re welcome mate! πŸ™‚

  7. Case Stevens says:

    In most cases it just takes a little snowball to get an avalanche and it may start by getting to know your friends better and help them out with something.

  8. Kean says:

    I agree with the 3 reasons you mentioned for using facebook. But I would like to add another. Many people use facebook simply because everyone else is using it. It becomes a form of knowing new people.

    For example when you meet someone new at a party, nowadays it’s more of “add me on facebook”, rather than “what’s your phone number”.

    So I think another reason why everyone is using facebook is because everyone else is using it that it becomes an essential social element in our lives.

  9. Arf says:

    I honestly believe that Facebook is a better tool than Twitter. It’s more interactive, and less overrun with businesses that just spam with advertisements. Facebook has more content available and people typically spend more time on it than they do on Twitter.

  10. Komodo Dragon says:

    Great post. Now I know why I often get requests from my friends to ‘like’ a person or product even though I have no interest or relation to it whatsoever.

  11. Sets says:

    I am also satisfy with your discussion. Facebook is really very famous social networking site to share your views with your friends who they are already joined you on it. You can also share your business related topics. It gives oppourtunity to share a website link with the help of link share option.

  12. Stuart says:

    This is a great article – I had always previously only considered facebook from a SEO point of view and not seen the full potential of it. As far as I’m aware you can’t get any backlinks from facebook that would increase your search engine ranking (although I’d be very interested if anyone could tell me that this is possible), however it seems that nowadays you could potentially get as much traffic to your site from a well thoughtout facebook marketing campaign as you can from ranking highly in google. (Does anybody have any examples of sites that generate more traffic from Social Networking sites than from search engines?) I think I might change my entire strategy for getting traffic to my site to viral marketing rather than solely concentrating on ranking well in search engines. Thanks for enlightening me!

  13. William King says:

    Facebook is no doubt a very useful tool for the small businesses specially for the small business. While promoting the business do not just focus on advertising do focus on making a good relationship with your network give them sincere advices, help them with different things, share some useful knowledge this will help you to develop a good will and once you have developed it your business will grow automatically

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