facebook knifeYour friends could be your customers, but right now they are not, so don’t abuse that friendship by selling to them.  We all know someone who just doesn’t get how to Facebook and uses it to sell you whatever it is they are into.  I’m not talking about sharing of ideas (like posting this blog on MY wall).  I am talking about the ever-aggressive “buy something from me” blatant use of the social media platform.    It is the social equivalent of inviting someone for a coffee, and then trying to get them to give you money for some multi-level marketing idea.  Or coming to my house and asking me to pitch your business to all my friends.  NOT COOL.

Facebook is a great tool for sharing knowledge and is very useful for promoting your business.  But it has to be done correctly.

Create a PAGE

Treat your business like a business and your friends like friends.  If you have a business that you want to promote, create a page for it – keep it separate from your Facebook profile.   Share that page on your Facebook profile and encourage your friends to check it out and like it.  If they do, then they can receive your messages and marketing.  And don’t be hurt if your friends don’t want to be your customers.  People can always un-like your page, but the last thing you want is to get blocked or deleted as a friend because you are annoying.

Get Feedback

Ask people to participate in your business page with discussions.  Post relevant conversations about hot topics that are interesting to your potential customers.  That is the most sure-fire way to have your page profile appear higher in newsfeeds, and it becomes less-intrusive marketing.  And you actually become interesting!

Respect the Cultures

Each social media tool has their own sets of un-written rules and behaviours that you must respect.  Facebook should be mainly for people that are friends, close acquaintances, or people you actually want to share private information about yourself.  If you just met someone in a business scenario, it is best to become LinkedIn connections first.

People are Still People

A while back I attended a social media seminar where many different ways were discussed about how to leverage different platforms to get business.  Linked In is a great tool if you are looking to make contact with someone and you are a 2nd connection.  You can request a warm introduction and leverage that social capital.  Many other ideas like this were discussed, but there was one piece of key information not discussed.  I spoke up and explained,

“It doesn’t matter how many Facebook friends or Linked In contacts you have.  If you haven’t taken the time to get to know these ‘friends’ personally, you have NO business asking for anything, let alone referrals.  Go for coffee.  Learn about their world.  Help them solve some challenges.  If you have REAL relationships, then you can leverage technology – only then.”

Your social capital is the most important asset you can possess.  Respect everyone around you and hold their relationships dear to you.  Keep them safe from spam and give them valuable information first.  Don’t expect anything in return.  And when you ask for help, if you have built REAL relationships, people will be there for you and are more than willing to refer you and your business.  Read more on my post about “Giving First. “

But, if you abuse your Facebook friends, you will lose them – just like real life.

image: by mkhmarketing

Joe Girard
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