Eight Pointers on Facebook for Business

Leveraging the Social Network

Facebook has changed since its introduction as a social network for teenagers. It has been adapted by business executives and added several new features aimed at a corporate audience.

Facebook is important because of the sheer number of people involved. As many as 200 million users are registered by Facebook compared to six million with Twitter. Blogs increase by 900,000 posts per day while the combined Facebook/MySpace adds 50 million entries.

Here are eight pointers on becoming involved with Facebook for Business and taking advantage of this huge market.

1. Register with Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages is an entirely unique section of Facebook designed specifically for organizations and business groups. It offers fields regarding your business vision, date of founding, etc. Creating a Facebook Page for your company is an essential first step.

2. Organize your friends

You can organize your Facebook friends into different lists depending on the purpose. An essential first step would involve creating separate lists for personal and business contacts. If you already have a Facebook account, this step will help you to keep it separate from your business.

3. Integrate Facebook with your LinkedIn account

Facebook Pages provides an integration option that lets you create a box to integrate with your LinkedIn account. This helps to create an overall business outpost for serious professionals. LinkedIn, by its work-related focus, also helps to establish a serious background for your Facebook account.

4. Use TweetDeck for sending updates

TweetDeck provides an overall interface that lets you simultaneously monitor and send messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This saves enormous amounts of time in maintaining a social media presence. (See my introduction to Twitter at www.cioediting.com/cp_twitter.asp.)

5. Develop personal relationships

The best marketing occurs when you nurture and develop personal relationships started online. Responding to Facebook messages in a thorough and comprehensive manner is one of the most important things for you to do. There is serious business occurring on Facebook, and you must differentiate yourself from all the dilettantes out there.

6. Join other groups

You can expand your influence on Facebook by joining other groups, fan clubs, etc. After you have established a Facebook presence, you will receive these invitations and should carefully consider them. In order to get people to join you, you must reciprocate. Some of these groups may seem a little flaky, but you must also be willing to humanize your Facebook account, even if the primary focus is professional.

7. Lurk before posting

As people become your friends, and vice versa, you may be tempted to dive in and start an active posting program. It is generally better, however, to absorb the overall culture of your Facebook interactions before becoming involved. This is called “lurking” and follows the general maxim of “look before you leap.”

8. Follow a pull model of public relations

In promoting your company, you must be careful not to engage in blatant advertising. This will lead to blocking and dumping by your potential prospects. You should generally follow an 80-20 rule, with only 20 percent of your posts being company-directed. You want to attract, pull, people toward you rather than “pushing out” a message.

These are just some basic tips to start you on the right foot in creating and maintaining a Facebook account for your business. Facebook is more complicated than it might appear at first glance so you want to proceed on a step-by-step basis.