While most people use Facebook to keep in touch with family, talk to friends and reconnect with long lost school mates, many people are using it to successfully market their small businesses.
Ethical marketing on Facebook is possible if you follow some basic principals. Let these principals guide all your actions and you should be able to build a large and responsive network of friends who are happy to be connected with you.
Build Relationships Not Anonymous Connections
It’s often been said that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust. Facebook gives you the opportunity to get to know a large number of people and to let them get to know you.
But remember, relationships are a two-way street. Yes, your profile and your status updates allow people to get to know you, but you must also take the time to get to know them. The relationship must be mutual.
How do you do this? When sending invitations to connect, personalize the message letting them know why you want to connect with them specifically. Each time you become friends with someone, check out their profile to find out who they are. Follow their status updates. Congratulate them when something good happens. Have conversations with people, not one way communications.
You are far better off to have 300 friends who recognize you and care about what you do than 3000 anonymous connections who don’t have a clue who you are.
Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in person
The biggest mistake people make is forgetting that just because they’re on a computer they’re still connecting with real people. What ever actions you take on Facebook, consider what you would do if you were looking this person in the eye. If you wouldn’t say or do it in person, don’t do it on Facebook.
An example of this is Facebook Apps. These are little games and actions you can use to interact with your friends. You can have a virtual water fight, send virtual flowers, play mafia wars and more.
Now some of these actions may be appropriate for your real friends. I often poke my best friend from grade three. But I’ve known her since grade three. If we were face to face, I might poke her. I’ve certainly done so in the past.
But I would never go up to someone I just met at a Chamber of Commerce meeting and poke them. I’d feel stupid and they’d wonder what asylum I’d escaped from. Since I wouldn’t do it in person, I won’t do it on Facebook.
Take your time
If you build your network by attending live events like the Chamber of Commerce or BNI, you wouldn’t expect to go from zero to 3000 connections in one meeting. It just isn’t possible. True networking takes time.
The same applies to networking on Facebook. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you want to build a powerful and loyal Facebook network you must expect to take months, or even years, not days. Trying to do it too quickly will not only cause you to have a list of people who don’t really care who you are, but can get you banned from Facebook.
Take the time to get to know your new connections before adding new people. Meet and communicate with people in groups before sending them invitations to connect. Focus on deeper relationships rather than a large list. You don’t need to become best friends with everyone you connect with, but ideally you should at least recognize their face or their name. If all your Facebook friends seem like strangers, you need to rethink your strategy.
If you follow these three principals to promote yourself on Facebook you can successfully build a network of people who truly care about you and what you do. Over time, this can become one of your most valuable business assets.
It’s the Facebook you always dreamed of.
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