Facebook has a checkered past when it comes to user relations. Members cried foul, for instance, when the social-networking giant launched the invasive Beacon system, and they later bemoaned certain aspects of the site's redesign. More recently, they decried the new terms of service that weighed heavily in Facebook's favor.

So if your business uses Facebook for marketing purposes, you might worry about getting caught in the crossfire; perhaps you're even considering the prospect of a safer haven. If so, Crosby Noricks says there's no need to for immediate concern. "Right now, just keep focusing on connecting with your customers wherever they are (and they are still, absolutely, on Facebook, in droves)."

From Noricks' perspective, the ongoing debates have little bearing on the how you use the social network for business purposes—which include being:

  • Real
  • Relevant
  • Receptive
  • Responsive

She compares Facebook's seeming heavy-handedness to a strip-mall manager with bad interpersonal skills. "A retail store [in the mall] would still get customers," she says, "because customers feel a connection to the store owner and sales clerks."

The Po!nt: "No version of Facebook's terms of service will ever come ... between a company and its constituents in a social media setting so long as that organization has built and maintained a strong personal connection," says Noricks.

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