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Social Media Networking in Business

Facebook is a social networking website with a target audience is more for youths than adults. A January 2009 study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, followed by MySpace. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade ‘best-of’ list, saying, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”

Users are able to search for friends and acquaintances by e-mail address, school, university, or just by typing in a name or location for search. When people become friends, they are able to see all of each other’s profiles including contact information. E-mail notifications let users know when new friends have chosen to add them to their list or when someone has sent a message to them within the system.

Ways to use Facebook for business

Manage your profile

  • Fill out your profile completely to earn trust.
  • Establish a business account if you don’t already have one.
  • Stay out of trouble by reading the Facebook rules regarding business accounts.
  • Install appropriate applications to integrate feeds from your blog and other social media accounts into your Facebook profile.
  • Keep any personal parts of your profile private through ‘Settings’.
  • Create friends lists such as “Work,” “Family” and “Limited Profile” for finer-grained control over your profile privacy.
  • Post a professional or business casual photos of yourself to reinforce your brand.
  • Limit business contacts’ access to personal photos.
  • Post your newsletter subscription information and archives somewhere in your profile.

Connect and share with others

  • Obtain a Facebook vanity URL so that people can find you easily.
  • Add your business Facebook URL to your email signature and any marketing collateral (business cards, etc.) so prospects can learn more about you.
  • Post business updates on your wall. Focus on business activities, such as “Working with such-and-such company on website redesign.
  • Share useful articles and links to presentation and valuable resources that interest customers and prospects on your wall, to establish credibility.
  • Before travelling, check contacts locations so you can meet with those in the city where you’re heading.
  • Research prospects before meeting or contacting them.
  • Upload your contacts from your email client to find more connections.
  • Use ‘Find Friends’ for suggestions of other people you may know to expand your network even further.
  • Look for mutual contacts on your contacts’ friends lists.
  • Find experts in your field and invite them as a guest blogger on your blog or speaker at your event (useful general blogging advice).
  • Market your products by posting discounts and package deals.
  • Share survey or research data to gain credibility.
  • Use ‘Facebook Connect’ to add social networking features to your website.
  • Suggest Friends’ to clients and colleagues — by helping them, you establish trust.
  • Buy Facebook ads to target your exact audience.

Use network, group and fan pages

  • Start a group or fan page for product, brand or business. Unless you or your business is already a household name, a group is usually the better choice.
  • Add basic information to the group or fan page such as links to company site, newsletter subscription information and newsletter archives.
  • Post upcoming events including webinars, conferences and other programmes where you or someone from your company will be present.
  • Update your group or fan page on a regular basis with helpful information and answers to questions.
  • Join network, industry and alumni groups related to your business.
  • Use search to find groups and fan pages related to your business by industry, location and career.
  • Do not, however, mix business and social. This is unprofessional and could backfire badly for you personally, and professionally.

Glossary: Brand Loyalty, Customer Loyalty, Facebook Ad Server, Friend of Brand, Lifestyle Segmentation, Networking, Pay per Click, Personal Page, Relationship Marketing, Social Marketing, Trust

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