FACEBOOK | Social Networking for small busniess

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Facebook is probably the most popular online social networking site on the internet it adds a quarter million new users every day and has over 120 Million active users. Most business people however tend to believe that Facebook is primarily something used by Teenagers and the early 20’s set. However the fastest growing demographic is the 25 and older group.

The potential exists however, by investing some time and energy into Facebook that you can build brand loyalty, establish your expertise, engage your customers on a deeper level, and drive qualified leads back to your Web site.

Step 1: Create Your Profile

Facebook is about personal relationships; and the currency is friends, the problem for business is that while people may want to be friends with you, they probably aren’t looking to be friends with your company. You can’t go out to the movies with Dell. 

In fact, creating a profile for your business breaks Facebook’s terms and conditions. Therefore, you need to start by creating a personal profile using your real name.

To build your profile upload a photo, enter your education, business and contact info, and join your local network.

As I have said elsewhere the more information you put in your profile the easier it will be for people to find and connect with you and you can customise Facebook to determine who can see what information allowing you to choose who gets to see what.

Use on of your email contact databases and upload them to Facebook and let facebook see who is already a member and invite them to connect with you.  This is much easier that trying to build a network from the ground up.

Step 2: Create Your Company Page

Once you have a personal profile, you can create a page for your business. Pages can be populated with company information, photos, video, upcoming events, discussion forums and links back to your Web site. Also consider adding RSS feeds, or video to allow people to see what your company offers and to see what value you can give to them.

With this created People then become “fans” of your company, allowing you to stay in touch with them and share information and advice. A word of warning though don’t just market to them If you want Facebook to really work for you, you have to really attempt to connect with your fans or friends..

You can promote your company page via email, your blog, and through the Facebook network but again be careful offer people something of value a connection don’t just flood the internet with links to your Facebook site, this will do more harm than good.

Step 3: Join and Create Groups

Groups are also a great way to connect with people on facebook. Groups can be formed around anything from passion for a video game to political discussions.

There may already be groups there that fit quite nicely into your market if that is the case join them if not you can always create your own..

You can also bulk invite people who are already connected to you to join in the group that you create allowing its membership to grow in size quickly.  Be cautious though if one of your friends is not in the market for your products or services they may take offence to being invited along with everyone else.  Again it is about connecting with the people who want to connect with you, not a mass marketing mail drop.

In Conclusion

Facebook is a powerful networking tool allowing you to connect with a wide array of people whom you may not normally have access to. But as I have said, you need to be careful, simply creating a
Facebook presence with the sole purpose of generating new customers and trying a blanket approach to marketing has the potential to do more harm than good to your business.  When people talk about you and your Facebook presence you what it to be positive. 

So Invest sometime in Facebook if you haven’t already and you might be surprised that it takes you to places you had not thought it would.

For more thoughts and Ideas on how to utilise Facebook, linkedin, Twitter and other social media, vist my other blog



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