Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick How To: Use Facebook Page, Profile and Group

This tweet just appeared in one of the hashtag streams that I follow:

"Did you know that I have a FB business page (that is often confused w/ my personal page)? 6 more likes to 300!..."

This could simply be a tactic to get more "likes" on her business page, but it made me wonder if people were trying to "friend" her on Facebook on purpose and she assumed they were confused. Everyone seems to be using personal Facebook profiles for different purposes these days so a run down of the various products will help you navigate the Facebook ocean.

It all starts with the Profile.

You can't do anything on Facebook until you have established yourself there as a person. This is where most of the confusion and variety of uses causes issues for people. On the spectrum of ways people use their profiles, some try to set up a fake profile to accomplish other tasks on Facebook or set up a profile and then abandon it because they are uncomfortable with the privacy issues...

Side note: a new feature was just rolled out that allows you to view privacy settings and see who can look at your stuff on the static task bar on top in Facebook, making it easier to find.

...In the middle are the people that are trying to only connect with close friends and family and they are increasingly bothered by requests from people who are outside of those circles. On the other end of the spectrum is a fully transparent profile used for both personal and professional relationships. If you happen to work in a B2B industry that involves professional relationships, I encourage you to move toward the end of the spectrum that allows you to network with your Facebook profile. 

Personal note: anything you put on Facebook is on the internet and even though they are trying to make privacy settings easier for you to manage, I recommend that you not put anything on Facebook that you wouldn't mind sharing with a potential client or employer.

The power of Facebook lies in the ability to have a conversation with someone outside of their massively cluttered e-mail accounts and feel like you are getting to know them on a personal level before, during and after doing business with them.

Pages are free, but they don't work unless you pay.

Facebook pages should look like an extension of your website. If you have the funds, you should pay for graphic design elements, lead generation forms and advertising to make this tool work for you. A decent return on investment will come if you jump in now while the pricing is still low. If you don't have money to spend on your Facebook page, you should do your best to maintain a professional presence there with either engaging questions or useful articles, but don't expect a lot of return on your investment of time spent.

Groups are the new associations.

One way that many people are able to have professional conversations without "friending" everyone in their industry is by using groups. Again, it all starts with a profile and the person setting up the group can only add people they are friends with. However, if they set it up as an open group, then the members can add people they are friends with and others can also request to join. Depending on how likely your community is to have folks see this as an opportunity to sell their products, you might need a diplomatic moderator. Otherwise, it is a great place to share articles you find on the web that are pertinent to the group and set yourself up as an expert in your industry.

We have become spoiled by all of these social networks offering us ways of doing business online for free and now these companies are looking for ways to make money! I am working on a webinar for etouches that will discuss paying with privacy and convenience tentatively scheduled for the week of January 7th. Until then, let me know if you have any questions or comments on how to use the various features within Facebook.