Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to Use Facebook for Business: Social Networking 101 for Entrepreneurs, Authors and Speakers

By Stephanie Chandler

It seems the most popular question lately is, “Are you on Facebook?” Launched as a way for founder Mark Zuckerberg to connect with friends at Harvard, Facebook has exploded into the mainstream. With nearly 200 million users, and a million new members joining each week in the U.S. alone, people are paying attention.

One of the biggest benefits that social networking platforms like Facebook provide the business community is the ability to get repeat exposure with the people in your network. Clients, peers, and prospects can make up your network, and you can promote events, sales, special offers and more through your Facebook profile.

Not only is Facebook a tool for your business, but it can be fun to connect with old friends, family and coworkers. There is something about sharing an old grade school photo that can create an instant bond with those from your past. Even personal connections have the potential to become new business opportunities.

Ready to get started? Here are some ways to maximize Facebook for your business:

Create a Powerful Profile
There is no cost to create a profile on Facebook and based on site policies, it must be tied to a human name, not a business name. Use the “About Me” section to describe your business and what you do. In the “Information” box on your main profile page, you can feature links to your website, blog and other business resources. Be sure to include your photo so that others can recognize you online.

Build Your Contact List
Facebook is based on the concept of connecting with friends. You can send and receive friend requests and once accepted, your friend can view your profile and you can view theirs. To begin connecting with people that you know, you can either import your contact database or you can search Facebook for individual people.

You can also view the friends list for each person you are connected to. As an example, once you have accepted a friend request from your peer, Mary, you can view her list of friends. If you know any of Mary’s friends (or you would like to know them), send a connection request.

Communicate with Wall Posts
Each Facebook member has a “wall” where friends can post messages. This is a great place to post a quick note to those in your friends list. In the business networking world, this is the online equivalent of picking up the phone to say hello.

For example, if you are connected to a CEO who you saw at an event recently, you could post a note on her wall that says, “Loved your presentation at the XYZ event – thanks for the great ideas!”

Update Your Status
At the top of your Facebook home page is a status box. When you post a status update, everyone in your friends list can see your update on their home page. Those using Facebook for social purposes might update their status to say, “Jenny is putting the kids to bed.” For business purposes, this is a place to share tips, promote events and even boost sales.

Effective business updates could include: “Jenny found a great article on social networking: www….” or “Joe at ABC furniture is hosting a special event! Check out www….”

Participate in Groups
Online groups allow you to network virtually with potential clients and peers. To access groups, start from your Facebook home page, view the list of applications and click on “Groups.” You can browse through thousands of themed groups with topics ranging from business to politics and everything in between.

You can also search groups to find topics related to your industry. For example, if you own an office supply store inSacramento, you might search for general business groups based in Sacramento. If you are an auto parts dealer, you might join the Honda Civic owners group along with other auto-related groups.

If you really want to maximize the potential with groups, consider starting one of your own. Once again, there is no cost to do this and the visibility can be great. For example, if you are a business broker in Dallas, you could start a group for Dallas business owners. You do not need to promote your business at every turn. Instead, make it known that you’re a broker, but provide value for members by sharing interesting tips and engaging with them in the online forum.

Build Your Friends List
For business purposes, the one with the most friends on Facebook wins. Okay, not exactly, but the point is to connect with as many potential clients as possible. One way to do this is to join a group and send connection requests to fellow members with a note: “Hey, we’re both members of XYZ group. Let’s connect here on FB!”

Just as you would with an in-person business introduction, take a moment to learn about new people you meet on Facebook. Networking always works best when there is a two-way exchange. If you can help a new Facebook friend, they will likely want to return the favor.

Create Fan Pages
Because Facebook requires that a profile be designated to a human, not a business, they have instead provided the ability to create fan pages. You can create a fan page for a business, product, book, author, speaker, celebrity or just about anything you want.

To create a fan page, scroll all the way down to the bottom of Facebook and click on “Advertising” (don’t worry, it doesn’t cost anything to set-up). Next, click on “Pages” at the top of the screen. You will find some helpful explanations about how pages work, along with a link that will allow you to create your page.

Pages function a lot like profiles so you can add links, events, discussion boards and other features that make them interactive. Facebook will also post updates from your fan pages back on to your profile so others know about them. And instead of sending friend requests out, you can invite others to become a “fan” of your page. You will also have the ability to send messages to all of your fans, allowing you to cultivate a community online.

Manage Your Time
The biggest complaint most have about social networking is that it takes a lot time to manage. I recommend designating time in your day for Facebook activities. You can login once or twice a day to view messages and manage your connections. Just be careful not to let time get away from you (it’s easy to do!). Also, remember that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more ways you will find to use it to your advantage. Be creative, show your personality and have some fun. That will all be reflected in your success.


About the Author
Stephanie Chandler is an author of several business and marketing books including “The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform” and “From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur.” She is also founder and CEO of http://AuthorityPublishing.com, which provides custom book publishing and author marketing services for business, self-help and other non-fiction books, andhttp://BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Post. It's good to see social being used to help business.

You might like to try YouPage. Any feedback welcome.

YouPage Ltd

Gail said...

Interesting. I am confused though because in the article below

http://www.socialmediawiz.com/difference-between-a-page-and-profile-on-facebook/

it says that facebook does not allow business to be done with a personal profile. Can you clear this up?
thanks

Emily West said...

Gail- Very true that Facebook is not designed to be a business platform.

What it can be useful for is developing personal relationships and if used carefully, professional credibility.

In the article I posted it suggests you use status updates to post interesting news, links or ideas that relate to your business or industry - keep in mind that you are aiming to build PERSONAL professional credibility, not the credibility of your business.

I caution you not to go overboard with helpful tips and become the unwelcome guest at the cocktail party - handing out promotional fliers and pushing your wares to guests there to socialize.

You can create a group or fan page within Facebook and allow people to opt in to a conversation about business. I would suggest limiting any specific promotions or offers you may want to make to that forum.

Still, other sites such as Konnects or LinkedIn - that are business focused - remain the better place to build professional credibility, as everyone using the site is there with the same intent.

I suggest using social sites to build personal relationships and linking out of that environment to a professional networking site to build business relationships.

We all are faced with the same issue of blurred lines between our personal and professional networks, which is why I highly encourage those using social media to be intentional about who they connect to and what information they share.

Anonymous said...

Just the info I wanted.
paul

social media stations said...

I like this post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks! Just one question about your advice to "join a group and send connection requests to fellow members with a note: “Hey, we’re both members of XYZ group. Let’s connect here on FB!” Is there software or a FB feature available that enables you to send a broadscale request to all members so you don't have to send a request to each member one by one?

Emily West said...

Yes, there are ways to add a group of addresses from your email client or desktop in to Facebook and invite them all at the same time. Once they have accepted the invitation they appear in your "friends" list. If you wish to send specific messages to a subgroup of your "friends" you can create a list and can send messages to that subgroup from your Facebook account.

Anonymous said...

great post...

Bonnie Smith Silvia said...

Hi Emily! Great post and answers to the follow up questions. You do want to brand yourself and offer value on social media. It does take time to network but so does doing business or developing new relationships offline which requires even more time and effort. Thanks for mentioning the business networks as I only know of one. Besides it is also a way to meet someone you may never have met...

eyelid surgery cost said...

Hello ...

My name is Stacy H. I love how you talk about this in your blog ... I feel much passion for the business ... I love the subject and also keep me informed about this. I hope some day be a great businesswoman and develop in this area that I like.

Many thanks for your help ..

Transcend said...

Great post, social media can be a huge payoff for a business if its done right, will save and share post website seo company

http://hyesung000.blogspot.com/ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Stephanie,

I want to use FB for my business. I understand that while I can set up a business only account, it is best to set up a personal account and link it to the business page. How do I link the business page to my personal page? Thanks.

Emily West said...

You would link your personal page the same way you would a profile for your business.

Log in to your personal account, do a quick search for "create a page" and it will lead you to the interface for creating a fan page. Select "I am the official representative for this business" and you're off!

After it is set up you can access the pages you manage under "Account" in the upper right hand of your FB page select "Manage Pages."

Anonymous said...

Great read, i really enjoy reading about business facebook management and facebook advertising, will save post and share blog.

Olivia said...

We just couldnt leave your website before saying that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors... Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

microblogging-sites

Simon said...

So if you are following some business related 'pages' on your facebook, what I have noticed is that the feed from those is intertwined with that from your family and friends. I haven't found a way of setting the newsfeed to just the business-related content - is there a way to do this

Dominic said...

I know for a fact that Facebook and other forms of social media can help businesses grow. My sister once hired a Calgary web designer to develop her company's site and improve its standing in Google. You know how she found him? Through Facebook! And until now, they do projects together. That's because here in Calgary, search engine optimization is popular among businesses. It's an effective way to gain new clients and maintain exisitng ones.

Dallas Social Media said...

I think as long as people are spending a lot of time on Facebook there will always be a need for businesses to have some kind of representation there. if they can show some kind of relevance with influencers on facebook and able to be found within Facebooks search engine then its going to be useful to market your business within it.
Dallas Social Media
Dallas SEO

Robert Michael said...

So many small business owners are taking advantage of the power of social media. Companies will direct traffic to their facebook page and twitter account rather than directly to their website. I have seen so many Dallas social media optimization companies promise all of this traffic but I have only see a company called Social Gravity produce any results.

VirtualAssistant.org said...

Business owners should be particular in using a page rather than profiles for business purposes. Having the differences of the two, sets the boundaries for business people and for people who just want to use FB for leisure and communication.

Kim said...

Really social media works very much in online business..Great Post:)
Dallas Web Design

Anonymous said...

Gail,
thanks for the post. I'm integrating a hotel chain into the 21st century with the use of social networks.

Shakti Saran said...

Hi Stephanie and http://socialmediaandyourbusiness.blogspot.com/, Thank You for sharing! You might also get value from http://www.facebook-fb.com to Submit and List Facebook Page URL, Products, Services, City, State, Country of Business and to Explore and Find Facebook Page URL of Business. Kindly share it with your friends! Best! Shakti Saran

Dr. L. Kumar said...

facebook says not to use profile for business ...what do i do .page ain,t that great
but i see a lotta business who use profile instead of pages ?

judith Dex said...

I found this quite inquisitive. I subscribe to your blog and looking forward to read more. Bookmarked.

social media management

Rohan Beata said...

The contact list is very helpful, especially when you need help from someone. But for a company profile, it is better to just make a fan page rather than a personal profile. It's pretty easier to maintain and it can reach more people because it can have 100,000 or more likes.

Andrew Smith said...

beside from business, facebook has been alarming when it comes to cyber or non cyber crimes. there have been many issues lately in out country that facebook are used by criminals to be friends with someone rich and kidnap them. facebook is so alarming.

Smith | eye chart

facebookdeveloper said...

A realistic and colorful face book application developement which gave me many ideas.Great representation!
regards,
Facebook for business
Facebook app development

THBroker said...

Thank you for sharing a great post! I just set up my own business fan page and for some reason, it does not come up in the search results. Now, I already made sure that it is published and content rich, but for some reason, people still can't see me in the search results.

I would appreciate it if you can help shed some light on this problem. Thank you!

seo expert india said...

that was wonderful post showing the importance of social media marketing in creating a brand among online users.

Carrie said...

Thanks for the article Stephanie. I have a question: you answered one question about linking a personal profile to a business page. But how do you do it the other way around??!! I can't figure it out. I created a business page but do not have a personal profile. Now I want to create one. Do I do it through the business page, or do I log out and go create a personal profile with a different email address, then link them?

Zanne said...

Hi Stephanie, thanks for your post. I'm in the same situation as Carrie - have a business Page but no personal profile and now need to create one but not sure how. Can you shed any light on this? Thanks.

sweepstaker said...

completely agree with you.... world is turn to global village now... everyone can use internet to promote his business... facebook can be used for this purpose....
church software

Website design said...

Great post. I really appreciate your blog as it is very useful. Thanks for share.

Calgary SEO said...

Good post Emily! It seems that a growing number of businesses are utilizing facebook each year as well as other social media platforms to gain clients, grow online visibility etc. Thanks for posting
-Matt

Victor Stanescu said...

Here is a Facebook for Business easy to follow guide to help you improve your marketing results on Facebook!

Facebook for Business and Best Practices Guide

Andrew Wright echofriend said...

social media works very good......

Ramesh Roy said...

Interesting post! I enjoyed reading it!
Thanks for sharing this useful info.keep updating same way.

Cheers,
Ramesh Roy
Social Media Agency Canada

Maurice Chrystler said...

Thanks for this very informative blogs you’ve shared about the use of facebook for businesses. We all know that facebook is one of the leading social networks online. It is very important that we must hire the best and qualitative facebook page designer to represent more idea for the business known online.

Rambo Ruiz said...

With Timeline, Facebook got rid of the default landing page option.

This is sad because I used a landing page since day 1 to better engage my audience and encourage new visitors to like my page and become a fan.

Teen Social Networking Sites said...

Hi nice blog

Business Facebook Page said...

It seems that people's lives have revolved in the orbit of internet considering that some can't leave the house without checking facebook notifications. But the most interesting part is that people does not only considers facebook as a social media but a business venture.

angelosam123 said...

Hey ! it's a great blog and very effective information you delivered, thanks for sharing.

anu mandava said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hello! This is interesting. I will share this and pretty sure they will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

Check this out:
Medisoft billing software
Recognized by many medical professionals

James Ron said...

It's a very great suggestion for every business people out here on how to make correct use of Facebook. Thank you for posting such an informative blog. I'll definitely follow your advice.

Buy Pinterest Followers

TravisAnn Sherman said...

I (mistakenly?) created a profile for my library, using a hyphen in the name so that facebook would recognize it. Now that I've read the fine print, I'm very unhappy with the legality/amateurishness of this. If I delete the account, can I create a page by springboarding off the library profile?

M@$^ERM!ND said...

Hey guys I have a question on my blog which is on "how facebook became so successful and popular so quickly?", please help me by answering it on "http://1myblogs.blogspot.com/"
thnx :)

albina N muro said...

It's a very great suggestion for every business people out here on how to make correct use of Facebook. Thank you for posting such an informative blog. I'll definitely follow your advice. get more instagram followers fast

website design said...

Thanks for sharing this site, it is very informative for the business personals.
Keep on continuing with this.
website design

Alyssa Behrend said...

If your business is on Facebook, that’s good destination for your online business. But we saw that mostly people don’t know how to use Facebook for business.  Create a powerful Profile for your business advantages.  This procedure helps you in increasing sales and revenue. Buy Facebook Likes Cheapest         

Villae jackson said...

Much of useful info , you have shared to grow up business through facebook .
Stiggle is also a wonderful app to join and making friends anywhere .

Download it free on google play store ! stiggleme dating app

eva lam said...

jobs today and blowing it off like it isn't anything big because they
don't work in or support coal.
calgary software company
,
Red Cherry ,
web
development calgary
Calgary Web Design Company 

eva lam said...

Wedding Photographer Manchester

SEO Moz said...


Help my india is the World Best Forum and Blogging Site which provides the all category of forum and blogging and Social Community site.

Social Networking Site




Rio Prince said...

The stuff written in the blogs have allured me!!! comment pirater un compte facebook

Malina Tysonh said...

Great blog post! I don’t understand how long it will require me to obtain through all of them!
how to get likes on facebook page

susi manis said...

Thanks friends

indah saja said...

Thanks for good article

Pocha huntas said...

Nice to read this article will be very helpful in the future, share more info with us. Good job!bubblegum casting