Facebook: Are you Putting your Best Face Forward?

Who you are on Facebook is who you are in public.

There is a lot of talk about Facebook these days.  Not only has the social platform changed the way we socialize, but it has changed the way we do business as well as how we discover new businesses, sell our furniture, or ask for help. It’s becoming a place for people to get things done by sharing pictures, adding job opportunities and making connections that, without Facebook, would never have been possible. Nevertheless, many users have held on to a belief that their Facebook is a private playground. 

Facebook is not private. No matter what your privacy settings, you have a public persona. And, if you are marketing or promoting a business, this means you (and your business, products and services) can be discovered by new customers.  This is really a wonderful thing for businesses and professionals who need to expand their networks.  More and more people are recognizing the benefits of Facebook as a tool to connect and grow their networks.

The only question many people are neglecting is:


“What does my Facebook persona say about me?  When someone is looking at my profile, what do they see?”

 

The answer will depend on the “Face” you are putting forward.  As with traditional networking, authenticity and genuine care for others is the most effective way to earn and grow respect.  People are always more inclined to listen to people they believe care about them, and who listen to them.  This is how we build our relationships. When we introduce ourselves to a new person, we have learned that, depending on the situation, there are certain strategies that work well, and others that do not. For example, blabbering on and on about your business without concern for the person you are speaking to, and not allowing that person the same respect will lead to the person finding the first excuse to get out of there. The same is true with our Facebook interactions. 

Here are some tips for ensuring that your connections (and those looking at your profile) see the best of you.

  • Make sure your profile picture and cover photo are representative of a professional persona.  This is not to say your photos should be professional head shots, but instead, they should be reflective of your personality, but in keeping with a professional image.  Stay away from images that reflect inappropriate behavior, or strong political or religious beliefs unless your business is in line with this type of persona.  It’s important that you are not “hiding” your true self, but simply putting your best foot forward.
  • If you have a Facebook page to which you are driving traffic, make sure your profile is linking to the CORRECT page. If you have elected to have your privacy settings set to allow your profile only to be seen by friends, you can still make your business page public to allow people to learn more about you and your company, even if they do not request your friendship.
  • If you elect to use Facebook as a marketing tool, it’s important to use moderation in promoting your business or services.  Instead of posting self-promotional messages, share messages that are informational or instructional, allowing your connections to learn from your posts.  Always look for ways to engage your audience in conversation by asking direct questions, asking for feedback, or requesting their thoughts on a topic.
  • Before getting too far into posting with the hopes of getting feedback, start looking for ways you can support your connections, friends and followers.  If you recognize that others are looking for feedback, giving them support by way of insightful comments, frequent likes and otherwise supportive actions, will create in many of them a sense of goodwill that, over time will compel them to return the favor.  A word of caution:  If you’re intentions are simply to get others to engage with you, and you don’t have true desire to support others, this will be obvious and your efforts will not help you with growing your network or the relationships within it.
  • Some people feel they want to keep their “personal” accounts separate from their “professional” identity.  While there are some positions that this might be required, it is essential that you consider how having two identities will be perceived by those you are connected with, and you must make your personal account 100% private.  Otherwise, you will run the risk of sending the message to those you are connected with (and who are giving you their authentic self) that you don’t really value them as a person.  You have relegated them to a filtered version of yourself.  If this is how you choose to do business, be aware that the people who find this offensive, will likely not tell you, but they will make their decisions about doing business with you based on their perception of “know, like and trust” and under those circumstances, they may not feel they can truly trust you, or they may wonder what it is you feel you need to hide. 
  • Your profile allows you various ways to characterize your personality.  Use your profile details to help people know about the person behind the profile.  If you enjoy certain music, television shows or movies, or if you are a big fan of sports or a specific team, let that color your profile and fill in some details about you that otherwise people might not know.  Doing this opens dialogue and makes it possible to find common ground on which to build, grow and nurture relationships.  You never know when this new connection might have tickets to a football game, or an opportunity to meet someone you both admire, or even make a professional introduction to your next big business transaction .  It is on these commonalities that true relationships begin to be built.

Facebook is Traditional Networking on Steroids – Use it to your advantage.

Whether you are a casual Facebooker or a power networker, there are amazing possibilities in your hands when you are logged in to your Facebook account.  It’s simply a matter of putting your best Face forward and being willing to be open to the opportunities other people offer.  If you are in business and you are not leveraging this powerful tool, the work you are doing to build your network will continue to take much more effort.  Traditional strategies are still important, but because of Facebook, those traditional strategies are now magnified and traditional limits on your capacity to reach you target audience have been lifted. Facebook is networking on steroids!  Enjoy it!

Facebook Pages: More than Just Another Wall!

The Benefits of Customizing Your Facebook Fan Page
 
Creating a Facebook fan page for your business is absolutely free. The problem is that most pages look the same, with a “wall” for comments and places for photos. If you’re lucky, someone will start a conversation in the “discussions” tab, too. These pages are, simply put, somewhat boring.
The most successful Facebook fan pages are the ones that have been customized. They include modified landing pages, encouraging visitors to take advantage of a special discount or deal offered only to those who LIKE the page, before sending them to the main wall. Many include special tabs for coupons and some even run regular contests. The pages can be colorful, bright, and engaging – much like little websites contained within the social media platform.
In fact, they make it possible to continue your company’s branding efforts right inside of Facebook… making your fan page a natural extension of your main website.
Ease of Use
 
The truth is that most people using the web today have relatively short attention spans. If they are on your fan page, they’ll want to find all of the information needed right there. While some will gladly go visit your company’s main website, others will reject the idea of being redirected elsewhere. Customizing your Facebook fan page will make your visitors feel as though they’ve landed on your website. You can add videos and information specific to different localities, if you want. The trick is to make your visitors feel like they’ve found a one-stop-shop for information about what you do. Don’t forget to include a customized contact page so that your potential clients can get in touch without leaving a public message on your wall.
You’ll Earn More Followers
Customizing your Facebook fan page will play a significant role in helping you to grow your fan base. The more engaging your content, the more likely people will be to participate in your discussions. Some major corporations offer free samples (via mail) to those who LIKE their pages and fill out registration forms.
The goal here is twofold. You’re not only generating interest in your products but you will also create a platform for the receipt of feedback. Those who receive those samples will likely come back and share their thoughts about the product. You can use this information to make changes or enhancements. Those who love what you are offering will, of course, turn into regular customers.
Of course, the same outcome can be achieved by giving away a coupon (or other gift) that is “downloadable” online. You can require your new “fan” to LIKE your page before they receive their gift or you can add an email “optin” form and require that they subscribe to your email database.
Encouraging Interaction
A customized Facebook fan page will encourage your visitors to spend time on your page, interacting with your company and with other fans. It’s also a great way to encourage your fans to participate in the growth of your page. Jillian Michaels, for example, has a space on her fan page where those who have used her products and workout DVDs can post before and after pictures. Not only is she encouraging user participation, but she’s gathering proof of the effectiveness of her products for those who are still on the edge.
Growing Your Fanbase & Gaining New Customers
According to CNN, Facebook now receives more website traffic than Google’s search engine. This is why it is so important for you to ensure that your company has a presence there. Facebook users are going to talk about the products and companies they love, and they are much more apt to speak well of those who engage them in a fun and informative way.
Another benefit comes from the “viral” effect on Facebook. As each new fan LIKES your page, that information is displayed on THEIR wall. In turn, their friends will see that they LIKED your fan page and this will bring you new customers and the ability to grow your fanbase virally.

Customizing your Facebook presence will give you a better chance of surviving in the growing marketplace – and you’ll simply love the way your enhanced page looks.

Chrissanne Long is co-founder of Marketing System Blueprints, a full-service Internet marketing company, offering opportunities for local businesses to expand their online reach and survive in a down economy.  Online lead generation requires multiple steps. Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Video marketing and Article marketing are all important elements in ANY business’s Online marketing plan.  Contact Chrissanne Today for more information about Customizing your Facebook Page, or any other Internet marketing strategy you have been considering!

Optimize your Facebook Page

I offer a tip to local businesses each day in a group called the Lakeland Business “Lead”ers.  I try to offer ideas to help businesses leverage the power of Facebook to enhance and grow their Internet presence.  If you are a business professional in Lakeland and want an opportunity to network with other people in Lakeland via Facebook, there are other wonderful professionals within the group offering Referrals, Leads and Excellent information.  Please feel free to join us!

 

Today, I wanted to talk about how you can get the most from your Facebook Page using some simple strategies.  Just having a page is not enough!  All of the elements available within Facebook are there for a reason.  Understanding those reasons and using the features to your benefit is just a smart way to leverage Social Media for your Business!

So, to optimize your Facebook Page, start with these simple (but powerful) suggestions:

  1. Take a look at your “About” Box and make sure you have optimized this to its full potential. Consider changing this copy frequently, to match promotions or offers your business has. Don’t forget to… add your website URL and make sure to include the http:// (to make it a live link!)
  2. Under all of your “Fans” there is a “Share” button. When you click that (or one of your fans does) the information that populates in the link on the person’s profile will be pulled directly from your “Info” tab in your Page. Make sure you make this content compelling content to make your page more inviting to others. So, Make the Copy of your Info Tab Count!
  3. Upload Videos to your Page! When you upload a video directly using the “Upload Video” tab, anyone viewing your video will have the opportunity to “like” your page. A button will be visible while they are viewing your video which will make this easy for them! Imagine the opportunity this exposure will provide! To see a local example of how a video will appear and enable the viewer to like, view http://www.facebook.com/photographersniche – go down below the fans and the pictures to find the video!

 

Next Tip: Creating a Tab for FAN-ONLY content!

Chrissanne Long is a Media and Marketing Consultant and Partner with Marketing System Blueprints, an interactive Marketing agency that offers Search Engine Optimization, Video, Mobile and Search Engine Marketing services for local businesses seeking to improve their online visibility and brand awareness in Lakeland, FL and other local markets.

Using Lists on Facebook

Using Lists to Categorize your “Friends”

Today’s reality is, that the Facebook meaning of “friends” has transcended it’s traditional meaning. Many people are afraid of connecting with people they barely (or don’t) know. However, the power in Facebook is in the ability to connect and build real relationships beyond the traditional “hitting the pavement” methods required in the past. If you are being asked to become friends with people you met at a networking event, but want to have certain privacy settings for some “friends” and different settings for your real friends, you will want to use lists!

Step 1. Click “Friends” in the menu bar on the left (under your profile picture)
Step 2. Top right, click “Edit Friends”
Step 3. Top Right, click “Create a List” (assuming you have no lists yet)
Step 4. Name the List (Lakeland Leaders Group, or High School Friends or Family
Step 5. Select the friends you want to add to this list (You Can also search by name)
Step 6. When you have selected the people you want to add to this list, Click “Create List”

You are Done! The next step will show you how to adjust the privacy settings for each list. But Creating and adding the friends to these new lists is a pretty big job, so I will give you time to complete that and then, next weekend, I will tell you how to take the next step! As always, let me know if you have any questions!