With Facebook recently overtaking MySpace as the number one social networking site, it is definitely worth taking a look at if you are in business.
According to a study done recently by the Aberdeen Group companies are using sites like Facebook to improve the interactions they have with their customers. The study showed that companies that use social networking sites are 17 times more likely to improve customer
satisfaction than companies that don't use them.
If you already have a profile on the site but aren't sure how to leverage it for networking, brand visibility and gaining feedback--check out these top tips for boosting your reach through this hot social tool.
1) Take special care in filling out your profile: You will want to take the time to thoroughly fill out your profile, especially making sure to include your website address and your interests and activities. People appreciate this type of insight into the person behind the business.
2) Join and contribute to groups: Joining groups relevant to your niche is a good way to reach your and share your knowledge. Be sure to comment in the discussions and post helpful tips and links.
3) Start your own group: Taking the group idea up a notch, why not create your own group? Be seen as an authority while forming relationships with other members you have invited. Encourage conversation and participation and include a way for others to find out more about your business when you fill in your info as the administrator for the group.
4) Update often: This doesn't mean you need to spend hours on the site, but for the time you do carve out, update your status and add relevant, helpful links, photos or information to your profile. Because these types of updates show up through the News Feed function for others, you are creating a viral spread of information that helps build your brand and create familiarity.
5) Suggest, recommend and introduce: If you know people you think should be introduced, then facilitate that. Recommend and suggest resources to others. All of these activities create community and contribute to the awareness of both you and what you have to offer.
6) Import your blog posts: You can use the Notes application to pull your blog posts into your profile. NetworkedBlogs is another application that is great for giving your blog exposure. The posts you import with this app appear in others’ news feeds, adding to your expert status and credibility in your particular niche.
7) Create a Page for your business: Facebook Pages are a nice option because it allows you to have a whole separate profile for your business. You can invite others to join the page, post relevant items, hold discussions and "naturally" promote your services or products. The best thing about it? Facebook is ranked so highly in the search engines that by giving your business a page, it helps your business rank highly as well!
8) Personalize your friend requests: It is a good idea to add a friendly message when you are making a friend request. People are more likely to remember you and it's just a good relationship-building practice.
9) Promote your events: If you are holding sales, teleseminars, courses, live events or anything of the like, you can create invites for your friends to receive with all the relevant information included. This is great for increasing participation and driving traffic.
10) Place targeted ads: "Social Ads" as they are called on Facebook are another option. This can be a powerful way to increase brand awareness. With these ads you are able to select targeted demographics for your campaigns.
Remember, it is about relationship building, not "push" marketing. A few cautions: make sure you never do anything that could be seen as spam. Take time to explore the privacy options on your profile and keep in mind how all of your Facebook activities may be perceived by your potential clients and customers.
Once you really jump in and get involved I think you will find Facebook to be a fabulous tool for both networking and visibility. If it is overwhelming, take it one step at a time--but don't stand on the sidelines any longer. After all, it's not just for college kids anymore!
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