Facebook for Networking?
Facebook is not generally a business networking site – at least it was not meant to be. It started as a site for college students to connect and later opened it's doors to high school students and then the world as a social gather place. But, as more and more people are discovering Facebook, it has become an invaluable tool for promoting and marketing yourself as well! So how do you use Facebook to network and market yourself? Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started:
FIRST: Make sure your profile is complete with a photo, about you section include business info, your links, etc. All the rest of these points are not as effective if your profile is half empty:)
1. Build your friends list! Invite all your customers, clients, friends, co-workers, etc! The bigger your friends list is, the more you will be able to utilize your reach!
2. Connect with your friends! Don't just build a huge list and hope they'll check you out from time to time! Keep your name in their minds by leaving comments when they add new pictures, leaving a Happy Birthday note when they have a birthday, etc. These should be general comments, not ads, and are meant to build your name for future sales more then anything. Places you can leave comments: pictures, people's profile Walls, other friends' notes, etc.
3. Use the NOTES feature. These feature has a number of uses. If you have a blog, you can input your RSS feed and your posts will automatically show up as notes on your profile for your friends to read! You can also write your own notes right on the site as well! Use these to write about news related to your business, sales, special events, etc. Make sure to use a catch title so people will want to read it.
4. Use the EVENTS section but use it responsibly. If you are having a special event, post it here and invite all your friends. Just don't over do it.
5. Use the MARKETPLACE – a place specifically set up for advertising – so ADVERTISE!!
6. Use the PHOTOS and VIDEOS section – have some photos of you and even your family to help people connect with you more personally. Then, add an album or two of photos related to your field if applicable. For example, I have photos albums full of wedding ideas on my profile. The video section is great to. Upload videos talking about things related to your field or little mini-ads. For example, our Ebay Coach may want to post a video of Quick Tips for eBay Sellers and include a “Brought To You By” message in the comments section.
7. Use APPLICATIONS. There are literally hundreds of applications you can add to your profile but be careful. A busy page just confuses people. Pick applications that will increase your message and take time to search for ones that are relevant to your industry as well. If you are script-savvy or have the finances to hire someone, consider creating your own application that other users can add to their own pages, spreading your influence over the network! One application I highly recommend is the My Questions App – it allows you to ask a question and ask your friends to answer it. Ask something related to your business: DO you use…, Do you prefer…. etc.
8. Join Groups. If you think there are tons of Applications, wait until you check out the groups! There is a group for EVERYTHING, in fact, there is usually half a dozen or more, lol. Find groups with large memberships that are related to your industry and join them. Add pictures, leave messages, participate in discussions and invite other members to your friends lists.
What NOT to do:
The following things will not only make you look bad but could get you banned.
1. DON'T misuse your contacts' email and phone numbers. Just because they choose to allow you to see that information on their profile does not mean they want your spam.
2. DON'T misuse the Wall or Picture comments! Leave comments in order to help build relationships but don't include any kind of advertising in your comments! If you leave a good, decent length comment – a very short signature would be okay but use your discresion. For example:
3. DON'T use your business name as your profile name. Yes, it may seem like a good marketing strategy but it violates the TOS. Besides – the main point of this form of networking is to build relationships that will later lead to sales and business leads. Your real name will go much farther to building those relationships and your profile will get more attention then it would with a business name at the top.
Well, there you have it! That is a TON of information, I hope you found plenty of it useful:) One last tip for you though – make sure to check and remember your security settings. You can set your settings from super tight (only your friends can see ANYTHING) to super lack (everyone can see it all). Make sure you are aware of what you have your security set to and what people can see. If you post personal contact information and your settings are open – you could be giving out details you don't want just anyone to have. If you are planning to use your profile to network with people beyond just those you already know, then you want to make sure you are not posting information that you would not want complete strangers to have access to.