Facebook is a phenomenon that has grown exponentially in a very short time and continues to do so. It was originally used mostly by college students to keep in touch with high school pals, but now recent statistics prove that it has moved beyond its original use and has become an incredibly powerful business networking medium. If you’re still not sold on this (not entirely convinced that Facebook networking offers great potential to help your company grow and reach new business contacts), here are some reasons why you can’t afford to ignore Facebook as a networking tool.
Facebook Networking: From Social to Professional
This natural evolution from social medium to professional networking site is largely due to the fact that the kids who originally used Facebook for social uses have now grown up and become professionals. It is logical that they would adapt the uses and applications available on Facebook to suit their professional needs and continue contacting people in a way that has become second nature to them.
In today’s world, with the vast amount of social media sites and applications, how do you draw the line between social and professional networking?
It is indeed very hard to do because the line has become blurred. If you do draw a strict line, you may end up losing potential clients or opportunities for business. Today, more than ever, this is not a luxury you can afford. If you’re careful about the type and amount of personal information you share, you can perfectly use what was once a social networking tool for business purposes.
Facebook Networking Benefits for your Business
One of the best things about Facebook is its unbeatable potential for exposure. If used consistently and strategically, it will noticeably increase your company’s visibility. Post comments on your contacts’ pages. Provide insights, tips and advice, and you’ll earn credibility and the respect of the community.
Improve Google Rank
Facebook offers a “Pages” application, which allows you to create a professional profile for your business, services, and products. Within these pages you have the option to include a link to your website, or any other reference links, like papers you’ve written or reasearch you’ve done. It is not the only thing you need to do to improve Google rank, but it certainly helps.
Fabulous Marketing Free of Charge
If you make use of not only the Pages application, but also many of the other applications, you will find great, user-friendly tools to market your services and products and promote what you do. It will take some time to get the hang of these tools. Start out with a few until you master them. No one is expected to use all of them.
Targeted Ad Space
Facebook offers you the possibility to create ads and target them to a specific age group, gender and location. You can also track your ad’s performance.
Useful Facebook Networking Tips
Create an Effective Profile Page
Simple and effective are the key words here. Don’t add too many distractions, like widgets and graphics. Offer instead essential information about you, your company, services, and products. Think of your goal. If you want to use Facebook to network with people in your industry, provide the information that will lead them to you.
Limit Your Use of Photos
Try to avoid posting photos that would cast your business in an unfavorable light or are just too personal. Birthday party and vacation pics are out, of course. (Why would you want your customers to see you in a bikini?) Do post photos of an industry conference, business meeting or event you’ve recently held.
Choose Your Friends Carefully
Keep in mind that those you add as “friends” will have access to all of your information and will be able to post comments on your pages, so choose wisely.
Post Relevant Content
Whether you create a Page or share links, post content that is relevant to your industry, job search, business, or professional field. If you contribute valuable information and share your expertise, it’ll be easier to reach the contacts you need.
Explore Its Many Applications
There are too many Facebook applications to even list, so take the time to research which would be most suitable to your goals. The Groups option is highly recommended for business networking, as well as the Facebook Marketplace, where you can place listings for products and services for free.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Maybe you’re not into social media, or simply feel daunted by it because you understand only half of what goes on there. But if you willingly choose to ignore it, you will be at a disadvantage and give your rivals the competitive edge. Can you afford to do that?
Facebook is what you make it. If you want to make it a tool to network with others and promote what you do, by all means, go for it!
Eager for more? Check out Zeke’s series "Getting Social Smarts" and his three podcasts below for more great online marketing information and tips!
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