When I attend or speak at seminars or talks about marketing, I mingle around and ask the group of marketing executives, SMEs or entrepreneurs the same question. So what brings you here today and what do you hope to walk away with at the end of the session. The responses tend to a variation of these two comments; 'Our marketing budget has been cut, yet I have to exceed the number of leads from last year' or 'I am looking for one or two low cost tactics that I can go back and implement right away that will give me a huge reach.'

'So, are you on marketing on Facebook?' I ask. Sometimes the answer is 'Yes, but I don't really know what I'm doing' or 'No. My boss is worried that we might get some negative comments so we just skip it altogether.'

In my opinion, Facebook is an opportunity not to be missed if done right. With so many companies tightening their marketing budget, my question to them is, given the size of this platform, if you don't have to pay anything for it, why aren't you using it?

In mid-October of last year, Facebook Inc indicated that they had reached a new milestone in of the number of Facebook users had reached 1.19 billion monthly active users. If that number didn't resonate with you, let me highlight that for you again... 1.19 billion users A MONTH!

If you're a business owner, that number should have you shaking in your boots with excitement. If the penny hasn't quite dropped for you yet, that number translates in to a huge opportunity for you reach out to an enormous population of target prospects where they are hanging out. The best part is if you're on a very limited marketing budget, this is one group you can reach out to for free.

Here are some of the statistics that they released in their Third Quarter 2013 results.

-Daily active users (DAUs) were 728 million on average for September 2013, an increase of 25% year-over-year.

-Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.19 billion as of September 30, 2013, an increase of 18% year-over-year.

-Mobile MAUs were 874 million as of September 30, 2013, an increase of 45% year-over-year. Mobile DAUs were 507 million on average for September 2013.

If that doesn't convince you that your business needs to be engaging prospects with social media, here are a few more statics that might be of interest to you. According to a 2013 comScore report about Southeast Asia (SEA),

-Social networking captures a large share of PC Screen time in SEA

-Males in the region spend more time online than women

-Choice of user device (PC, Mobiles and Tablets) varies significantly depending on the time of day. There is a dramatic increase in mobile and tablet use after 7pm with a spike in use around 10 pm.

-The social networking category captures the largest percentage of consumer's time in SEA. In fact, all SEA countries index higher than worldwide average reach of social networking sites.

Now if that last statistic doesn't give you a clue as to where your prospects are hanging out, I don't know what will.

Let's face it (no pun intended), Facebook is not going away. It's time for companies to take full advantage of what Facebook has to offer them as a business.

Author's Bio: 

Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an entrepreneurship and marketing consultant, international speakerand the author of three business books. A resident of Asia for over 20 years, she is the CEO of Experiential Hands-on Learning. She works with organizations across multiple industries to help them increase brand awareness, increase leads and ultimately increase sales.

To learn more about Pamela, visit the Experiential website at www.experiential.sg or email her at courses@experiential.sg