Saturday, March 7, 2009

Facebook Part 2: Seven Business Tips for Facebook

A few weeks ago I was called up by a recruiting company and asked to come in for an interview. The interesting thing was that the recruiter had looked me up on Facebook prior to calling! I've heard about people doing this but had never personally experienced it. He advised me that while most of my profile was ok, there was one particular group I belonged to that didn't reflect too well on me and he suggested I remove myself from the group. Before you get too curious it wasn't anything TOO bad - it was an inside joke amongst a group of friends who I socialized with many years ago when I was living in Dubai. But still, people looking me up on Facebook would have no idea what the real meaning of this group was and might interpret it the wrong way. So, unfortunately I decided to drop out of the group and review my whole Facebook profile to make sure it was presenting me in the correct light.

So that is my first Facebook tip:

#1 Always review your Facebook profile on a regular basis to ensure that it portrays you in a positive, and professional way.

If you have been 'tagged' in any photos you don't like just click on 'remove tag' under the photo, or better yet beg your friends to take the photo down!

Another alternative is to have your privacy settings so that only your network can view you, in this case however you wouldn't be able to use Facebook to market yourself or your business.

# 2 Keep your page updated on a regular basis!

According to the Facebook Press Room:

* More than 175 million active users
* More than half of Facebook users are outside of college
* The fastest growing demographic is those 30 years old and older

This is a giant market to tap into but if you don't keep your Facebook page new, fresh and relevant people won't visit your page or recommend it to others.

Keep your page fresh and interesting by:

1) Posting regular status updates. Status updates go into your friend's newsfeeds so by posting updates regularly you increase your exposure.

2) Mix business and pleasure. Let your page say something about you and your personality but don’t go over the top. People will become loyal followers if they like and are interested in you and your business. And don't make it all business - putting in your status updates everyday that your company is offering "50% off _____", or "visit my webpage at _____" will just irritate people and violate the social atmosphere that is Facebook.

# 3 Watch other people's status updates, photos etc. and make comments.

One of the best ways to get people interested in you and your business is to show interest in them. An easy way to do this is check your Newsfeed once or twice a day (shows up first on your Home page) and make a comment on anything you find interesting or that deserves congratulations. But BE SINCERE - fakeness online is just as apparent as it is face-to-face.

# 4 Keep your page clean and uncluttered!

There is nothing worse than visiting someone's page and seeing application after application, or Superwall post after Superwall post. In fact, I have my Superwall turned off and rarely add applications because they clutter up my page. If people are trying to find out something about you and your business but have to sift through a ton of mess to find it they will either give up, or think that the messiness of your page is a reflection on you!

# 5 Create a Facebook Page

A Facebook Page is an alternative choice to creating a Facebook Group on your business (although you can always do both). I am a big fan of this one because I like to keep my Facebook Profile more on the personal side so for business I am going to create a new Facebook page and direct clients and potential customers towards that.

A few of these tips I am just working on myself so I will talk more about Facebook Pages in another blog.

# 6 Have a great photo.

This is something I’m working on at the moment. Using a photo that people become familiar with is an excellent branding tool. Using photos, rather than logos give your business a ‘face’ and a personality that people can relate to.

Advice on photos include:

a) Use a headshot – on Facebook and a number of other sites the pictures tend to be smaller in size so having a full length will make it difficult to see your face.
c) Wear solid colours and preferably have a plain, white background. This way the focus will be on you and the viewer won’t be distracted by that bright plaid shirt!
d) If you can afford it, get a professional photographer to take your photo. I know I hate having my photo taken so the idea of this is torture but believe me I’ve tried taking ones of myself (using a remote) and the quality is just not comparable. Your photo is the first thing people see so it’s worth the time and money to make sure it shows you in the best light possible!

Use this same photo (or one taken in the same series) everywhere. Put it up on Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog etc. With enough marketing people will start to recognize you and your brand.

#7 Link, Link, Link!

Of course you are going to have your Facebook Profile, Group or Page linked to your business website, but have you thought about linking your website back to Facebook? If you follow this link you’ll find instructions on just how to do this.

Also, link everything else to Facebook such as your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Utilizing all of these tools and linking them to each other will ensure maximum exposure, branding and connection to other markets.

So these are the top 7 Facebook networking tips for today! Enjoy!

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