Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

8 Ways Businesses Can Benefit From Facebook

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to The Washington Post, Facebook has nearly as many users as the entire population of China, the most populous country on Earth. That means it is likely that the vast majority of your potential customers and current clients have a Facebook account. Since Facebook collects an enormous amount of personal data, it is the ideal platform to learn more about your target group and reach its members, either for free or with effective campaigns.

Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without Coding

Here are eight ways to take advantage of these resources:

1. Target email lists using Facebook ads.

Instead of just sending the usual email to clients, leads or blog subscribers, be proactive: Create a Facebook ad that targets people on your email list. If they use the email address they submitted to sign in to Facebook, they will see your ad. This strategy is ideal for upselling, branding and, of course, driving traffic. Email lists can be targeted in Facebook's Ad Manager feature with custom audiences. If you are using a common provider like Mailchimp, you will be able to simply import your email list.

2. Take advantage of Facebook contests.

Host a social media contest with Facebook so people can win your service or product. To make your contest a little less self-centered, team up with a local charity or nonprofit organization. This way, you are boosting your community outreach and promoting your business at the same time. Best of all, contests are free to host and your team doesn't need any convincing to jump on board because doing good is fun for everyone involved.

Related: What You Need to Know About 'Place Tips' for Your Facebook Advertising Campaign

3. Install custom tabs.

Facebook not only allows you to choose the order of the Facebook page tabs you use but to install free tabs in addition to the traditional ones. For instance, you can integrate your ecommerce store or drive traffic to other social media profiles such as Pinterest and Instagram.

4. Use videos and video playlists.

Even though YouTube tabs are a useful add-on to any Facebook page, the social giant earlier this year launched a couple of updates, including featured videos and video playlists. The advantage of videos uploaded via Facebook directly is two-fold: They look more professional and can be featured in an extra-large format along with the comment feed. Additionally, Facebook videos have been proven to generate more engagement than noteworthy competitors such as YouTube and Vimeo.

5. Don't forget customer service.

Social media networks have become one of the most popular ways clients can connect with customer service. Potential clients can ask questions about pricing, shipping and more in a less formal setting than the anonymity of their email inbox. Questions are often more direct and customer service representatives can respond briefly and in real-time without the hassle of installing a live chat on the website.

6. Target people who are similar to your page "likes."

People who "like" your Facebook page are customers or fans of your brand. One way to get exposure to more people like them is to advertise on Facebook targeting a lookalike audience. Similar to targeted email lists, lookalike audiences are part of Facebook's custom audiences. Select from cccc and ccccc to narrow down your target group.

7. Learn more about your page likes with audience insights.

In order to learn more about who is following you on Facebook, use Audience Insights. This is a free tool that can be accessed via the Facebook Ad Manager. Metrics include age, gender and a variety of lifestyles, such as urban tenants, savvy singles, kids and clout, country single, apple pie families, married sophisticated, established elite and more. Furthermore, Audience Insights offers you a quick run-down of the different relationship statuses as a percentage number as well as in terms of education levels and job titles.

8. Use cross-channel remarketing.

Remarketing, often also referred to as "retargeting," simply entails targeting -- with the same platform -- website visitors who haven't converted again. Cross-channel remarketing takes this concept a step further by integrating otherwise noncompatible advertising platforms, for instance Google AdWords and Facebook. If advertising on Facebook has never really worked for you, but Google AdWords or Bing has, try cross-channel remarketing. This way, you can drive keyword-driven traffic from Google to your website and target visitors that didn't convert again -- but on Facebook instead of Google (or in addition to Google).

There are many advantages to doing this, such as being able to target potential customers in a different setting. In the case of retargeting via Facebook, potential customers are surrounded by their familiar photos of family and friends. Therefore, they might be more likely to convert. Additionally, your ads seem to appear everywhere, which helps your branding enormously.

Related: Get Ready for Big Changes to Facebook Messenger and Video

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks