Facebook isn't just for kids anymore.
The social media site is an essential tool for marketing, says Victoria Peterson, who teaches classes on computer technology.
"People are more likely to visit your business Facebook page than your website, and Facebook has the advantage of being more interactive for customers," Petersen said.
How does it work? Well for starters ask your sons and daughters, nieces and nephews for insight.
It's best to set up an personal Facebook account and then a separate account for your business with you as the administrator. Then commit yourself to this free marketing tool.
"The network makes it easy for business owners to update and manipulate their page," Petersen said.
But there are some tips for navigating the site on a professional level.
Keep your business logo as the profile picture, and don't change it.
When you "like" other businesses and "share" information, it expands your reach in the Facebook universe. Doing so will place your shop in more information streams on other Facebook accounts, helping to drum up more business and expose your name.
Petersen explains that Facebook is an excellent medium for creating deals, coupons, contests and promotions and keeping them posted to the top of the page.
"In a way, it is like a game, and also a leap of faith," Petersen said. "Facebook does not tell you about all the options. The more you practice, the better you are at getting your message out."
Petersen advises business Facebook users to have a plan. Sporadic participation will not be effective, so it is important to have a strategy going in. Set aside a certain amount of time each day to update the page and utilize the calendar to stay organized.
One effective tool is to use the "schedule posts" feature.
"Enter three or four posts at once, then schedule them to pop up on the page at different times," Petersen said.
Boosting your post is also an option. Boosting is a form of Facebook advertising, with prices starting out at $5 and going up for there. Facebook advertising forces your information onto other sites that have some remote connection to yours.
"Experiment with small advertising amounts, figure out a good target and invest more money in a campaign later," Petersen said. "Facebook is a far-reaching, so you can attract customers to your business from the other side of the state, country or world."
A common pitfall of Facebook is not being consistent.
"The numbers of people visiting will really drop off fast if you do not keep with it," Petersen said.
At a gathering in the Cortez Chamber of Commerce, owners of guest ranches and bed and breakfasts, were committed to giving it a try.
"How do you get people to 'like' you?'" asked a student.
One way is to write a post and close with a "call to action," Petersen explained. "Simply ask people to 'like' and 'share' your post or page, and that will increase your reach," she said. "Engage people - that is the key to Facebook."
The "insights" feature allows administrators to track traffic and hits on their Facebook page, and pinpoint advertising activity.
Facebook inspires business owners to be creative every day when promoting their business on their site.
"You can be more fun as a smaller business. You never know what might go viral," Petersen said.
Petersen is co-owner of The Geeks, a Cortez computer repair and technology business.
Her next class titled, "What the Heck is the Cloud?" is April 24, from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Cortez Chamber office on Main Street. Call (970) 564-7249.