Can you actually use Facebook to grow your business? Do you have to be one of those irritating “in your face” marketing people who are constantly promoting their business on OTHER PEOPLE'S WALLS? Can you successfully use the power of Facebook and still keep your self-respect and integrity?
The answer is a resounding YES! You can build an immense business with Facebook while growing friendships and not alienating the people you know already or may know as you continue to build those relationships through Facebook. You can do this IF you learn how to use Facebook properly.
I was sharing my thoughts on Facebook with a friend who owns a local business a year or so ago. I think my direct quote to him was "if you are not using Facebook to grow your business, you are wrong!" His response was “Facebook, what are you 12?”
The atmosphere has changed a bit since then, hasn’t it? The value of social media platforms is well known in today's marketplace but many simply do not understand how to go about making it work for them and their businesses.
I want to share some statistic with you that validate WHY Facebook is one of the most extraordinary marketing arenas available to us today.
- Huge Market - there are over 400 million users (growing by 300,000+ per day)
- Extremely Targeted – people tell you what they are interested in
- Clusters – like-minded people gather together in Groups and through Fan Pages
- Organically Viral – everything anyone does shows to all of their friends wall's
- Exposure – the average user spends 55 minutes a day online and has 130 friends
- Connection based – what I mean by that is Facebook is a social platform that is set up for people to connect and reach out to each other. People DESIRE to connect and share information. This is the foundation of all social media platforms.
As a business owner, these statistics should make you salivate. These statistics are a dream come true for anyone who needs to market their business!
OK, now that you know WHY you should be using Facebook to market your business, let’s talk about HOW you should be using Facebook to grow your business.
Facebook has often been referred to as the 800-pound gorilla of social media platforms but it follows the same intelligent guidelines as others. But let's be real, many people do not always act with their intelligence. Because of the potential of Facebook there have been many who simply SPRAY PAINT their business on other people's walls. If someone came into your living room and spray painted their website address on your wall would you be happy about that? No, of course not, so please be respectful of other's because you DO NOT want to be one of "those" people. Trust me, it will cost you in the long run.
1. Relationships – Make sure that your purpose and your goal when starting your Facebook campaign is that you are in this to build long-term, mutually advantageous relationships with people. You are there to connect, to provide value in the marketplace and to really get to know people that you may never know otherwise.
BIG FACT…Facebook is very visible. If your goals are not compatible with your actions or are inconsistent with the goal state above then people will quickly see you for what you are. Be smart and be real. People respond to this much quicker than to some advertisement about your business.
2. Optimize Profile – If your intent is to utilize Facebook to grow your business, then you need to brand yourself through your profile. This does not mean that you need to remove all of the personal information, quite the contrary, but you do need to be conscious what you have in your profile and how you use it for maximum benefit.
If there are inappropriate or racy photos of you from a party you attended; you may want to think twice about keeping those types of photos in your profile. Trust me on this one…if you are constantly sending out stuff with no value to people, you may want to shift the use of your time.
So sit down and spend some time constructing your message and what you wish to project to the masses. What do you want people to know about you and your business? You need to connect people to you as a person and build awareness of you as a business leader.
3. Profile Photo – I see this a great deal so it gets its own bullet point. If your intent is to really build associations with others based on trust and shared respect, you need to ensure that your profile reflects a good picture where people can clearly see your face. This provides a way for people to visualize who they are dealing with. Plus…this is the number one reason people accept friend requests. Facebook allows a 200×600 space for your profile picture. Click here to see some examples of what can be done to customize and brand you and/or your business.
We all love our children but don’t use them as your profile picture unless you are in it. Keep all your personal photos in your photo section so people can experience you as a real person.
4. Share relevant and purposeful content – Yes, occasionally people will care if you just dropped the kids off at school or that you just got out of the shower, but try not focus on stuff that is meaningless to others.
5. Strategically grow your friends list – There are two ways to go about growing the number of friends you have on Facebook…RANDOMLY or STRATEGICALLY. Since we are talking about business let’s talk about building your list strategically. Random is generally not a good strategy for any type of business practice.
Decide what your business interests are and what niche your business falls into then seek out people of influence in those markets. Find groups that seem to fit your demographic that you wish to target for your business, join the group and reach out to the administrators and officers of that group to build relationship with them and others within the group.
6. Join the Conversation – Social media is, after all, about being social. You have to connect with other people and comment on their wall posts. You can click on the “Like” if their post is something that you connect with on any level. You can also "Comment" on their post if you have value to add to the conversation. You can also "Share" their posts. Bottom line be helpful and genuine. Be service minded!
Recommend friends & invite people to groups. Be that connector and facilitator of relationships and you will be rewarded time and again.
7. Broker Your Time – This is an absolute MUST! Many refer to Facebook as "CRACKBOOK" because of its addictive nature. Remember the statistic about the average user spending 55 minutes a day on Facebook…imagine how much time some are spending! You need to be very deliberate with your Facebook time or you will find yourself getting sucked into an never-ending world of comments, pokes, applications and notifications.