Facebook has changed and even re-shaped the way businesses connect with customers over the last 10 years. With more than 1.2 billion users as of December 31st, there are now several options for people to connect and identify with their favorite brands.
Orange Leaf in Eau Claire is still the new ice cream shop in town. It has been open for about a year.
But if you go to their Facebook page, you probably would have guessed they have been here longer. In just the last 12 months, they have gained the eyes and ears of more than 1,000 Facebook users.
"We've seen a big rise in our Facebook likes," said Simone Fiore, the Store Manager at Orange Leaf in Eau Claire.
She says they use the site to their advantage, holding guess the topping or flavor contests.
"Whoever wins gets a gift certificate for Orange Leaf," she said.
The idea turns clicks into customers.
"We just wanted to get people engaged with our Facebook page and get people to come into the store," she added.
"It's just instant, instant gratification," said Bob McCoy, President of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.
McCoy has been working with business leaders for 34 years. He says Facebook and social media have become so important that the Chamber of Commerce now offers a yearly class on it for business leaders.
"You have to figure out how to use it clean and concise; you have to understand the etiquette of use otherwise its delete, delete, delete," he added.
And over at Pizza Plus, they are plugged into Facebook, too. Right now they are hovering around 1,500 likes.
Benny Haas, the owner, loves seeing new people who "like" his business.
"So when you look at your e-mail and see 5 more likes it's rewarding," he added.
They use Facebook to promote concerts and events - small postings that hopefully have a large impact.
"It's those little things that drum up attention to the events we are doing here, rewarding our customer base as well," he added.
And it is not just U.S. businesses that have gotten the boost from Facebook. Facebook says about 81% of its users live outside the US and Canada.