When you are a small business and don't have an enormous development team you have to be careful about technology decisions. Most of our time is spent ensuring that our application is secure and running properly. Some of our time is spent adding new features including making changes to the design of the interface so that the website looks nicer.
Every once in a while we have a moment to breathe and we do something that is fun and interesting and that will hopefully lead to new opportunities. To this end we have created a Facebook application that lets users save house plans and then share them with friends. Users can also add comments to house plans and then watch what others are doing/saying.
We realize that Facebook applications are no longer bleeding edge, but this is a chance to see if any sort of meaningful interaction will take place in our application and discover if Facebook can provide benefits to small business. We currently have around 1300 users which is nothing compared to the most popular applications, but given that our application is very niche specific and our target audience is smaller it is a great start. Many Facebook users are in college or right out of college. As they get get ready to purchase their first home our hope is that they will use their social network to get ideas and they will find us there.
How beneficial social networks will be to businesses like ours is yet to be determined. Creating an application might just burn up more of our server resources and bandwidth or it might bring users who buy something. It might be a great, free marketing resource or it might just give a bunch of kids a place to post vulgarities. Whatever the outcome well keep posting to let you know what happens in this emerging space.