Using Facebook to Grow Your Business

Should you use Facebook to grow your business or is it a waste of time?  Facebook uses technology,  that wasn’t available when I first started my business, to help you network with potential and existing customers in your local area as well as around the world.  Unlike My Space, the fastest growing population of users are in the 25 and older age group. I suggest that you invest some time to determine how and if Facebook can fit in with the rest of your marketing efforts.

Facebook is all about building personal relationships.  The Facebook term for those relationships is  “friends” .  While you’ll suddenly discover “friends” from your past, you’ll also find “friends” who really want to be friends, not with you individually, but with your company.  You’ll find some big name companies there that you can follow and become friends with — but these won’t be personal relationships.

Step 1: Create Your Profile

It’s all about how you use it.  First, you need to create a profile for you, using your real name.  To build that profile, you can upload a photo, enter your education, business, and contact information, and even join your local networks.  The more you include in  your profile, the more easily you can connect with other people. If you’re concerned about privacy, Facebook offers highly customizable privacy settings that control who can see different elements of your profile. This way you can share photos of your kids with friends and family, but not with your boss or customers.

If you have a database of your current contacts, you can upload it to Facebook to see if any of them are already members.  If so, you can ask them for permission to add them to your list of friends.

Step 2: Create Your Company Page

Once you have a personal profile, you can create a page for your business.   This is where you can upload photos of your products, your retail location, and any other information about your company that you feel would be valuable to someone searching for your products and services.  You can even add an RSS feed from your blog or embed videos from YouTube.  These company pages are available for the search engines to index so you definitely want to include links to your website.  This contributes to the SEO of your site.  You can add what Facebook refers to as “fans” to your company page.

All of this may sound silly or a waste of valuable time, but just think of it as another way to network without having to participate in small talk or eating snacks that you really don’t need or want. 

You can promote your company page via email, your blog, and through the Facebook network to drive more traffic and build up your fan base.

Step 3: Join and Create Groups

Another way to network on Facebook is through the use of groups…but be careful that you select only those groups that you are really interested in or it can become overwhelming.  Groups, unlike pages, are only visible to Facebook members. Groups can be formed around any subject you like.  You can join an existing one or create a new one. 

A Word of Caution

We’ve all been to networking groups where people are there just to sell you something with no interest at all in what you need.  Be careful that you don’t act that way on Facebook.  If your only object in joining Facebook is to make a quick sale or to increase your business, you’ll be disappointed.

Like any other networking function, it’s all about building relationships.  You create your network and increase your reputation over time by giving instead of also wanting to take.  You need to share information, reach out to connect with others, and build rapport.

Is Facebook right for you and your business?  Only you can determine that.  Check it out.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

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