Do you have a Facebook page for your business? With more than 500 million active Facebook users, some of your current and potential customers are no doubt on the social networking site.

The website provides an easy way to connect with these customers and, at the same time, gives you a platform for viral marketing.

How does viral marketing work?

You post something of interest on your business page, which then appears on the news feed for everyone who “likes” your page. If these people interact with your post, then your post appears on their friends’ news feeds. With interesting and engaging content, you can quickly reach hundreds or thousands of people.

You need either a business or personal Facebook account to create a business page. I recommend using your personal account, which allows you to add more applications and invite your friends to like your business page. Nowhere on your business page are you listed as the page’s administrator, thus keeping your personal page separate.

Start building your business page at facebook.com/pages/create.php. Facebook will walk you through the steps. Two tips to keep in mind: You cannot change the name of the page at a later date; and keep the page “unpublished” as you work on it (go to Edit Page, then Manage Permissions and check “Only Admins can see this page”).

To get people to your page, consider offering a reward for liking your page, such as a coupon, an article to download or a chance to enter a contest.

Update your page with timely, useful and relevant information. Give people something of value, and they will share this information with their friends. Before you know it, your business will go viral.

By Barbara Moore Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York March 29, 2011