A Dummies’ Guide to Facebook


For many people, Facebook is THE social network. It was founded back in 2004, and as of December last year, it had 1.06 billion users active on a monthly basis with 680 million of those using their mobiles to access Facebook. 618 million people are active every day on the website.

A study by The Pew Research Center revealed that Facebook is favoured by women: 72% of the users are female. It’s actively used most by young adults in the 18-30 bracket, as well as older users in the 30-49 bracket. Interestingly, on top of that 35% of users are 66 years or older.

So, clearly a very diverse userbase, but perhaps you’re one of the people who never use social media. If so, here’s a quick overview of how Facebook works as a social network.

The attraction of Facebook, for most people, is as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, both old and new in the former’s case. Using their real name, users create an account and populate it with pictures, geographic location and important events and changes in their lives, such as entering a relationship or getting a new job. Users will post statuses, telling their friends what they’re up to. As part of this, they might upload photos and videos, and instant-message one another privately. Facebook is also useful as an organisational tool: users can create groups and control who joins via a vetting system. Of course, it’s also possible to create an open group that anyone can join.

Facebook may be best known for its introduction of the ‘Like’ button. People can ‘Like’ each others’ statuses, but they can also like products that they are attached to. These products, and the fact someone has liked them, will then pop up in other people’s news feeds. Advertising on Facebook is something actively facilitated by the site: businesses must build their page, create adverts based on location and demographic, and then post plenty of good-quality updates to keep your customers invested and interested in you and your products. This last point serves to reinforce one key assumption about gaining customers today: namely, that quality content should be at the heart of any marketing strategy. Not just as a matter of principle, but as a compelling reason for customers to use your goods or services over a competitor.

In short, Facebook’s massive popularity, diverse userbase and strong advertising presence makes it a significant port of call for any company.

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