Remember the saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Facebook can help.
“Facebook, to me, is more like the relaxed setting. I don’t look at it as totally business as much as I look at it as relationships,” says social media expert Andrew Kaplan, CEO, MediaMensch Networks. “Really, where does business take place? Does it take place in the boardroom or does it take place on the golf course?”
Founded as an online social network for college students, Facebook is now open to anyone and has evolved into a community of 46 million members. It has been growing by 3% a week since January, with the 25 and older demographic the fastest-growing segment.
To get some Facebook marketing tips, we talked to Kaplan and Neil Patel, Chief Technical Officer, ACS, a social media marketing and search engine optimization agency. They suggested several strategies to build your personal and business brands on the network.8 Steps to Market Yourself
Marketing yourself on Facebook requires that you invest quite a bit of time. Here are eight steps, when repeated continually, that will grow your professional contacts and boost your credibility:
-> Step #1. Create a polished profile
First, enter as much information about yourself as possible. Building relationships is easier when people know more about you, including personal tidbits. It helps to create a stronger bond with other users. Be careful not to input information that might damage your professional image.
Another tip: Be specific. “If you say, ‘I’m looking for a job,’ people have a hard time with that. If you say, ‘I’m looking for a job with a PR firm based in New York in the entertainment industry,’ that’s more specific. You have to be very clear what your intentions are. Be very specific about what you’re looking for and people will help you, just like any part of life,” Kaplan says.
-> Step #2: Join a network
Facebook puts people in social networks based on school, workplace or region.
Want to build credibility as an Internet marketing consultant in the Silicon Valley? Enter Silicon Valley, CA, as your profile’s region, which would place you in that network. If your target is the publishing industry in New York City, make your regional network New York even if you live elsewhere.
You can join any regional network no matter where you live, but only one, and you can change it only once every 60 days.
-> Step #3. Join groups
Next, join a group to start networking with interesting people. There are thousands of groups on Facebook in two categories:
All members can join global groups. Only members of a particular network can join network-specific groups. Your networks determine the groups you can join, so make sure your profile ties you to the same groups as your target audience.
You can browse or search for groups. Check your network pages. Check which groups other members belong to by looking at their profiles. If you’re interested in public relations, join the global and the network-specific PR groups. Then, check which groups other members belong to. You can join up to 200 groups.
After you join a group, you can text-message other members, send them emails, comment on their profiles or contact them through one of the third-party applications developed for Facebook.
-> Step #4. Post relevant content
Once your profile is what you want it to be, start building your credibility by adding content to the site. Anything that establishes your authority should be used.
This can include:
o Links to articles you have written
o Links to articles that quote you
o Incorporating your industry blog
o Showing a list of your favorite industry books
o Having many “friends” from the industry
-> Step #5. Create your own group
Starting your own group gives you control over its content and reach.
Simple guidelines for creating a group:
o Click on the create-a-group button
o Pick a name for your group
o Choose a network for your group
o Describe your group
o Select a category for your group (business, workplace, etc.)
o Set the rules of access
You can allow only the administrators -- you -- to post content, or you can allow any member to post, depending on your settings. You can open the group only to the networks you belong to or you can open it globally.
-> Step #6. Interact with others
Socializing is the key to Facebook. There are several ways to socialize:
o Buy virtual gifts for other members
o Play games with them
o Give them a virtual “poke” to get their attention
o Start a new topic in the “discussion board”
o Comment on their profiles if they’re in a group
o Post something to The Wall
Each user’s profile page has a space, The Wall, where friends can post short messages for anyone with full access to their profile to see. More private conversations are usually sent as messages to a person's inbox.
Talking to people on Facebook is easy. That’s why people open accounts in the first place.
-> Step #7. Extend relationships outside of Facebook
Once the ice is broken, “start getting to know [people] on a more personal level. Set up phone calls and talk to them,” Patel says. “You can continue communication on Facebook, but your goal should be to continue communications outside of Facebook.”
Patel suggests setting a goal, such as building 30 new relationships within a month.
“What I mean by that is not just connect with 30 new people with Facebook and have them as your friends,” he says. “Get however many people as your friend, but for 30 of those people, connect with them, get to know more about what they do, not just what they do for work but their family life, what they like to eat -- all the basic stuff, all the personal stuff.”
-> Step #8. Aim for long-term relationships
Being patient and consistent is the best overall strategy for Facebook marketing.
“If you’re serious about any of these networks … I think you really need to be in there on a daily basis,” Patel says. “The more you’re in there, the more you’ll know how it works and the more you’ll be able to connect and find people that will help you.”
The amount of time you spend on Facebook becomes an investment. “You’re not going to get any benefit from your contacts right away,” he says. “You’re trying to build up relationships and get long-term benefits.”3 Strategies to Market Your Company
Marketing your company on Facebook is closer to traditional Internet marketing. You can build brand, drive Web site traffic or sell products.
-> Strategy #1. Build your brand with applications
Facebook is an open-source application. This means that it allows any capable programmer to create an add-on for the site.
“If you are a company that has something to offer, you can develop a third-party application and you can somehow bring your company’s products into Facebook, or their knowledge into Facebook, by integrating it with the platform,” Kaplan says.
If you decide to create an application and it’s useful or entertaining enough to be adopted by many Facebook users, then your brand will gain fame.
“Let’s say your company is Flickster, and you provide movie data. What you would do is build a total application that lets people learn more about movies and show times,” Patel says. “By doing that, [users] may stay on Facebook and may never come to your Web site, but they see your logo and they see your data all the time.”
More than 6,000 applications have been built for Facebook, and more than 100 are added every day. Their functions vary greatly. For instance, a simple application adds a “friends” drop-down list on your profile for fast reference.
A music application will “add as many songs as you like to your profile, browse your friends’ music and send music to anybody,” according to its description. There are also scores of games and fun applications that help the Facebook community interact in quirky ways, such as sending each other personalized digital fortune cookies.
The key is to identify a useful or fun way so you or your company can contribute an application that will boost your brand’s image. If your application is deemed “cool,” other Facebook users will suggest it to their friends and your brand will spread.
-> Strategy #2. Buy an ad
Facebook Flyers Basic allows marketers to buy and create banner-like advertising on networks.
o Go to Create a Flyer, which has easy-to-follow directions
o Pick a theme
o Select a title
o Write the body copy
o Open a preview window to see the ad before it’s posted
Ad content could include information about your company or even a link to your Web site. It could link to your Facebook profile. If you want to generate orders for a book, for example, you could link to a landing page that sells it.
Here are the guidelines:
- Ads can contain text or images, but no animation.
- For every $5, your ad will be served 2,500 times a day, with increments running up to 50,000 flyers per day for $100, for as many days as indicated (up to 30).
- You can specify if you want your ad to serve all types of Facebook users or to users on a specific network. If you are holding an event in Atlanta, for instance, you could specify that the flyer target only the Atlanta, GA, network.
- You can specify the gender and age group of the users you want the ad to reach.
- You don’t have to be a member of a network to advertise on it.
-> Strategy #3. Pinpoint your advertising targets
Facebook recently started offering Flyers Pro -- a cost-per-click advertising system that offers sharper targeting for Flyers. These follow the same guidelines, but marketers can choose to target users based on:
o Keywords in their profiles
o Declared political views
o Relationship status
o Education status
o Their workplace
Marketers bid on the CPC ads by selecting their maximum price per click and their maximum daily budget.
According to Facebook’s site: “A higher max price per click increases the chance your ad will be shown. We discount clicks on your behalf, so you may pay less than your max price depending on the current demand for your ad's audience.”Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from Facebook:
Facebook Enthusiast - a blog for Facebook users:
Facebook: Networks on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/networks/networks.php
Facebook: Flyers Basic Help:http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=14