Remember that time Facebook didn’t exist? Neither can we. And let’s face it (no pun intended): unlike its unlucky predecessors Friendster and MySpace, Facebook doesn’t seem to be losing speed anytime soon.

Facebook, by its own report, boasts over 750 million active members, with people collectively spending over 700 billion minutes a month on the site.

Those are some crazy-big numbers. And with them, everyone from big brands to bloggers to budding businesses are starting to catch on to just how useful Facebook can be. So if all you’ve done lately on Facebook is comment on your friends’ gorgeous wedding photos, you’re missing out. Here are five other uses you should be trying:

1. Build up your brand

If you’re trying to build up a small business, maybe you don’t think of Facebook as the perfect platform to start a fan base. Facebook can seem a bit daunting (we still have trouble understanding all those tabs!), but chances are, most of your potential customers are on there every day.

Spend the time to create even a simple “fan page,” and make sure you keep all your content current and regular. Remember, the more you use it, the more it’ll help you! If you have a product, run a promotion urging people to “like” your fan page—“likes” spread like wildfire.

2. Promote your blog

With professional bloggers on the rise, there’s no better time to start using Facebook to your blogging advantage. Create a Facebook group for your blog—because unlike “fan pages,” Facebook groups have members. You can send messages to members of your group—for example, letting them know when you have a new blog post—which you can’t do with Facebook pages.

3. Find a job

When you think of networking and finding job opportunities, LinkedIn may be the network that comes to mind. But with its sheer volume of daily users, Facebook can actually be just as useful—if not more—in helping you get hired.

We’re not saying you should go and “friend” a potential boss. But rather, take advantage of the more personal connections you have on Facebook to shop around. People you’re already connected to often have a vested interest in you, and they’re likely to go further to help you out than those who only know you professionally.

If you do have professional contacts on Facebook, make sure they can only see exactly what you want them to. Put them all on a “limited” profile setting. And if you don’t want potential employers Googling you—make sure your profile is set to “private.”

4. Find new employees

Just as Facebook can be a useful in finding a place to work, it can be useful in finding people to work for you. Letting people know that you are looking to hire, either through your fan page or your profile, is an effective way to recruit potential employees. You can even create a page that’s specifically geared towards recruiting for your business, so people who are on the job hunt have a specific place to check back regularly for openings.

5. Form a study group

Whether you’re finishing up your undergrad degree or in the midst of getting your MBA, Facebook can be a surprisingly easy and helpful tool outside the classroom.

Set up a Facebook group for a specific class and invite all your classmates to join. It’s an easy way to share notes with the friend who was out sick or to brainstorm on that group project. It’s also the perfect place to decide on meeting times and places for those face-to-face study groups, so that you don’t find yourself implementing a “texting tree” (especially useful for those of us who don’t like giving out our phone numbers!).

So whether you work a 9-to-5 or are looking for one, whether you're working on your own business or working toward a degree, Facebook can be an essential tool.  Why not use it to find a job, join a study group, or promote your blog?  We promise, it'll only help you!

Photo courtesy of Robert S. Donovan.