If you are planning to use Facebook as a tool to market your business, you need to build a targeted network of Facebook Friends. While it is fun to connect with your high school class mates, you need to focus on connecting with people who are your target market.
Become Friends with leaders in your industry
Target a few high profile people in your industry – people with well established lists. Invite them to become friends. Be sure to include a personalized note with your invitation. Mention any products of theirs you have purchased, seminars you attended, or how long you’ve been reading their ezine. If they are high profile they likely get dozens of invitations so you need to make yours stand out.
Since Facebook limits the number of Friends you can have, don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear back from one or more of these leaders. They may have reached their quota of Friends or they may have become more selective.
Once they have accepted your invitation, post thoughtful comments on their wall. Make comments about their status updates, respond to blog posts or talk about how much you enjoyed their latest teleseminar.
This accomplishes two things. First it gets you on their radar and may result in them sending traffic your way by writing about you to their list or in inviting you to participate in a joint venture of some kind. Second, writing on their wall gets your name (and face) in front of their friends, who are also your target market.
Once you are Friends with someone you can see all their Friends. By connecting with a leader in your industry, you suddenly have a pool of people who are also your target market. Look at their list of Friends and start inviting them to connect with you as well. When you do this be sure to include a personal note. Say that since you are both Friends of the industry leader you thought you might have similar interests and would like to connect.
Join Groups That Attract Your Target Market
If you join groups related to your industry, you’ll know that everyone in those groups are potentially your target market.
How do you find groups? On your profile page, in the upper left side under the search box is a link to groups. You can search for groups in a particular industry or geographic region. Additionally, on each of your Friends’ profile pages, you’ll see a list of groups they belong to. Click on groups that sound interesting and read their descriptions. Join ones that sound appropriate.
Once you join a group, become active. Post to discussions or start your own discussion. Showcase your knowledge, expertise or interest in the topic. Respond to what others are writing. This is a great way to become known to the group.
As you are participating in the group, start inviting people to become Friends. When someone makes an interesting post, send an invitation mentioning that you enjoyed what they had to say on the topic.
As a member of a group, you can see a list of all the members of this group. You can also send Friend invitations to people who haven’t participated, just as you did with Friends of your expert Friend. These won’t be as powerful connections as ones with people you’ve had a dialogue with, but they’ll still be your target market.
A Word of Caution
Don’t get too gung ho about inviting everyone on your new friend’s list of friends and in your new groups. Facebook has a limit of how many new invitations you can send in a given day or week. The exact number isn’t posted anywhere, but if you exceed this amount you can get a warning and could get cut off from Facebook. If you stick to no more than twenty invitations a day you should be safe.
When you are sending invitations, don’t copy and paste a standard message. This can lead to a warning from Facebook. Be sure to customize each invitation you send.
Building the Relationship
Once someone becomes your Facebook Friend you need to start getting to know them. Don’t just focus on the number of Friends you have. You still need to get these people to know, like and trust you.
Start by posting a note to their wall once they accept your invitation to become Friends. A quick thank you and a comment about something on their profile will suffice. If you discover they are Friends with someone you know particularly well, ask how they know this person. The key is to start a conversation.
When you first log into Facebook you are taken to a home page where you can see recent status updates of your Friends. Keep an eye on the status updates and comment on them when appropriate.
By using these strategies for building your Facebook network, you won’t have close, personal relationships with everyone who becomes your Friend, but you can start getting on their radar.
Join me tomorrow when I write about what to do with your Facebook list of Friends.
Andrea J. Stenberg
If you send me an invitation to become Friends on Facebook and mention you’re a reader of The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur, I promise to accept your invitation.