Online business owners increasingly realize the importance of creating a presence with social media. Creating contacts through Facebook friends can lead to profitable business relationships, opportunities and ideas. Creating a network seems so easy that many business owners don’t take time to strategize. When you are seeking new Friends on Facebook, it’s easy to find a photo, click on the “add as friend” link, and move on. You can do this as often as Facebook’s rules will allow. Some people will say “yes.”
The problem is that currently you are limited to a certain number of Friends on Facebook. As people get close to the limit, they become more cautious about accepting friend requests. Increasingly, marketers who use Facebook for business begin evaluating requests when they have just a few friends. They realize that, when they reach the limit, they will have to go back and screen Friends to see if they can remove those who are not a good fit. That’s a time-consuming, thankless task. So many decide they’ll do their screening up front and err on the side of caution.
Therefore, you need to accompany your friend request with a message. Even a short message communicates, “I’m not just randomly sending around requests for friends. I have a reason for choosing to connect with you, specifically.”
Ideally, you will create a message that’s customized to the recipient. Your message can be as simple as, “We are connected on Twitter,” or, “We have 67 Facebook friends in common, so I thought you might like to connect.” It’s important to show that your friends are linked by Facebook; some Facebook users still regard friends as personal, while online marketers tend to use Facebook strategically.
Even when you send a message, your recipient probably will visit your Facebook home page and look for your bio. You have just a few sentences below your picture, based on the current layout.
Make sure your bio gives your potential friend a basis for deciding how to respond to your friend request. All too often we see bios with vague descriptions, like, “Lover of nature, mom of two.” Even worse, we might see a quote from a famous guru that doesn’t give a clue as to what you’re about.
Clarify whether your Facebook presence is business or personal. If business, share some information about what you do, so potential friends understand how they might relate. Will they be prospects, suppliers, friendly competitors or consultants to you? Are they interested in learning more about your business? Is there some element of your business (e.g., faith-based or MLM) that might make you especially desirable as a Facebook friend? Even more important, these qualities help screen out potential friends with value differences that are too great to allow a partnership.