Social Media has changed the way we do business!
It is the leading avenue to network and share our marketing messages, all from the comfort of our couches. And Facebook is the largest social media platform to date, with over 2.1 billion users worldwide. Looking at numbers alone, it is where every business needs to have a presence – not only can you find your current and prospective customers, but your competition is there too!
As a business owner in this digital age, it’s easy to become dependent on Facebook and conduct a majority of our business from behind a computer screen. However, plenty of entrepreneurs still prefer face-to-face networking, for developing long-lasting relationships.
Why not smartly combine the two for a better outcome?
6 Creative Strategies to Enrich your Networking with Facebook!
In the age of social media, people are turning to Facebook Messenger instead of email. One reason for this shift is that marketers are seeing much higher open rates on Facebook Messenger than email. Neil Patel has seen open rates of 88%, and Rhonda Duncan reports 92% open rates, whereas, Mail Chimp reports Industry averages for email open rates average around just 20%.
Make it easy for the people you connect with at in-person events to continue the conversation with you. Most of us carry a business card on it. Along with your website and email address, make sure you add your social media handles on your business card card as well.
Facebook allows business Pages to create a unique username. This will be the handle that people will use to tag you in posts, and will help them locate you in searches. Once your business has 25 fans, you are able to go into your Page’s “About” section and choose your username.
Pick something that is as on-brand as possible. Remember, you want your customers and potential clients to be able to remember it easily.
The best practice is to select a username that is consistent across all social media platforms. This way, you can include your handle once on your business card – along with the social media icons on which you have a presence. It also allows your new business connections to reach out to you on the platform of their choice.
The username of my company is the same across all our social media accounts – @eieio marketing
Do Your Research
Before attending an in-person event, do a little research. Who else will be there? Who do you want to meet? What do you hope to accomplish. You can check the website, Facebook Page, Facebook Event listing, and also check any hashtags that are used in any of those places. By planning out your expectations, you can ensure that you’re spending your time optimally.
I like to identify any people who will be in attendance so I can meet them. This helps me keep an eye out for those people once I arrive, and sometimes I will even check their profiles to see if we have mutual friends who could help make that introduction.
Oftentimes, a glimpse into their profile might give you an indication of their interest (cooking fanatic, football fan etc.) and thereby a good conversation starter!
Once the event is over, you can return to all of those sources of information. Use Facebook Pages, Events, and hashtags to re-engage with people you networked with and/or as an opportunity to extend regrets that you didn’t have the opportunity to meet. This still may be a great opportunity to request a one on one meeting or phone call with a missed connection.
When you arrive at an event, check-in. This is another great way that you can network with other people at the event. They will also be checking in. Like searching for hashtags, you can also search for other people who have checked in to the event and will be notified if one of your friends is also at the same event!
If you are the event organizer, you can also offer an incentive for attendees to check-in. This will spread the word about your event, as well as offer you the opportunity to engage with more of the attendees. You could consider offering a freebie, or an entry into a giveaway, when an attendee checks in.
Accept Business-Related Friend Requests
There are some people who are fairly adamant that they want to keep business separate from personal when it comes to their Facebook presence. But there are some real advantages to allowing business acquaintances access to your Personal Facebook Profile, and you can still maintain safeguards to keep your private life safeguarded.
The benefit – people like doing business with other people. Accepting those friend requests is the first step to developing a personal relationship with prospective clients and partners. You will be able to see when they are at the same events as you are, allowing you opportunities to connect in-person. You will also be able to see what events your business “friends” are attending – which may be of interest to you as well.
When you accept friend requests from others, it provides you with the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level, but you still have control over who sees what. By categorizing your work contacts under a list of business acquaintances, you can set the privacy settings on each post.
That way you can know if you want them to be public (so everyone can see them, even if you’re NOT friends), restricted to only your friends (so personal and business friends can see them), or exclude your business acquaintances from seeing the post (so only your personal friends can see them). It’s a great way to still maintain a level of privacy, while leveraging the benefits of adding business-related acquaintances to your friends list.
Leverage New Technology
Proximity Marketing is not a new concept, but recent technology has made it more accessible and convenient. With wireless beacons, savvy business owners can send unobtrusive messages directly to a majority of nearby cell phones. These mobile marketing messages allow businesses to place a beacon in their shop, or carry one with them, and reach an abundance of people within a 100-yard radius. This marketing tactic is popular at auditorium and stadium events, as well as at fairs etc.
The beacons allow users to link to a landing page and/or website. Linking your mobile marketing message to your Facebook Page will help you grow your social media following, develop ongoing relationships, and then even retarget those users when you run Facebook Ads. It is an innovative way to reach a large number of people creatively.
Video content, and especially video content recorded live, gets great reach and engagement on Social Media. When you are out and about for business, go Live on your Business Page and talk about what you’re doing and why. People love getting a sneak peek behind the scenes, and they generally enjoy getting to know the people behind the brand. This fosters long-lasting relationships.
The great part about Facebook Live is that all you need is your cellphone. It doesn’t have to be super polished or technical. People expect to see raw and unedited content. Some quick tips for optimizing your Facebook Live broadcasts:
Announce your plans – if you know you plan to go Live in advance, let your followers know so that they can try and tune in.
- Plan for Replay – When you are done with your Live video, it will be repurposed and saved to your Page, so keep this in mind and ensure the replay viewer has a positive experience. Begin by thanking people for joining you for the replay – because in those first 5 seconds, you won’t have a live audience quite yet, and it will make the video look well designed when people are watching the replay.
- Don’t wait – Once you are recording, (and after thanking your replay viewers), dive right into content. Definitely don’t wait for more people to arrive – as a matter of fact, don’t even worry about how many people are watching live. The majority of your views will come from the replay. (I do not have a stat for this – it’s just one of those things that is generally known and accepted. You may only have 1-2 people on Live with you, or none at all, but the replay lives on and has so much ongoing potential.)
- Drop a Hook – One of the very first things you want to say is the “hook” that will capture your viewer and get them to keep watching. Let people know why they should watch – there is a lot of content competing for their attention and you need to influence them to watch yours! A hook can be as simple as teasing the viewers with what your broadcast will teach them. For example: In the next 5 minutes I will reveal 3 simple and actionable steps to increase your Facebook Business Page followers!
- Be YOU! – you can not appease everybody, so be authentic and on-brand. It’s okay to mess up. People expect it. Handle it as you would in everyday life. If that means making a funny face and noise and then “trying this again…” – that’s okay! It personifies your brand and people can relate to that. You’ll get better with time!
An Integrated Approach
By implementing some (or all) of these creative means of integrating in-person activities with Facebook, you are giving your business a competitive advantage over other businesses in your niche.
As a re-cap, start by setting your social media handles to be the same across all social media platforms and add them to your business cards so that you are ready to network.
Before attending a business related event, research who else may be at the event that you want to connect with. Use the FB Check-in feature for any events that you attend. This information will help you make informed decisions about how you spend your time and who you approach. After attending events, connect with both, people you met, and those you didn’t have the chance to engage with.
Set up your personal profile, in a way that you are comfortable with, to accept business acquaintances and prospects as “friends.” If people want to reach out to you on a personal level, let them. Familiarize yourself with the tools to maintain your privacy on the platform.
Always be open to testing new technology, like proximity marketing beacons. Being innovative means taking risks and trying new things before others do.
Finally, follow social media trends. You may choose to go right to the source, Facebook offers their own reporting at Facebook IQ or you could follow a site like Social Media Examiner – which reports on changes to all major social media channels. I especially enjoy their weekly podcasts, myself. Right now, one of the biggest trends includes going live on Facebook to share your knowledge and experiences.
Remember that people want to do business with other people – and leveraging Facebook is a smart & effective way to expand your network, build relationships, and grow your business.
This is a really informative post indeed. You provided some great tips and strategies for networking!
Thank you for sharing these tips! Facebook is a gold mine to reach more customers and expand our business. I will have to look into some of these tips. I think this is going to work for me.
I did not know there was such a feature on Facebook. I have always been directing prospective clients to my FB fan page. I will follow your tips next time and see how this helps my business.
I’m quite glad I’m doing most of what you’ve advised. Except perhaps Live videos as the data is pretty limited and expensive in Singapore. Looking forward to read more of your tips!
Facebook is such a great marketing and promotional tool! These tips are very helpful!
Thanks you so much for such lovely tips…
They will come handy in course of time ?
This was really useful information, thanks for sharing these tips!
I must admit that I am a little cautious about accepting friend requests from business contacts . But I never knew that you could categorize your work contacts. Thanks for the tip!
These are great tips, and I agree that social media has changed the way we do business. One aspect that I really need to utilize is the Live feature. It’s the only component I don’t use, because I’m so afraid to come across “uncool”. It’s also why I haven’t used Snapchat. But you’ve reminded me how useful Live can be. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
Amber S. | http://www.thesuburbansocialite.com
Thanks for the tips! It is a good to have a reminder about checking in – I tend to forget that often. And I will have to look more into going live – this is a feature I actually haven’t tried yet.
These are fantastic tips to use Facebook as a business more efficiently and effectively. FB is the one social media I really struggle with…
These are some great tips! I still struggle to use Facebook business wise but clearly, I have to look into that!
I am not really into networking but I used Facebook a lot at work. Social media are indeed changing business work!
I am not a player of social media. Still learning nuances of the medium so find your write up very useful.
These are fantastic tips for the business minded. I wish I had used such while I was working.
Im not really into networking but i think i have to learn some pointers like this so I would understand it well and how it works.
Love these tips! Networking was always something that they pushed in school and no one ever really took advantage so it’s nice to find some ways to take advantage now!
Networking has become one of my favorite things and technology unlocks endless potential for us!
These are really excellent tips! Facebook has been always the main social media for my blog, and I am very active in it, but I have never gone live! It is something I have yet to overcome, the fear of live video, but I think it will definitely beneficial for my blog! Thank you for this article!
Nothing to fear Nati – people do not expect perfection and you wont get better until you get started 😉 Pick a day and time and put it in your calendar. If you publish your blog regularly you may want to plan to go live the day it publishes and present a teaser to encourage people to click through to your site!
These tips are really useful, it never ceases to amaze me how much my bf gets business from advertising on FB. I’m yet to make a FB page for my blog but have been meaning to for a while so thanks for spurring me on!
Yes Rachel! Go do it today! You can get the basics done in just a few moments and then set aside 15 mins a day to just work on it going forward. Start building that presence! 🙂
Thank you for the tips! I’ve bookmarked this page so that I can get back to it later again, and there’s a friend who’s recently started her business, I’ll her know of this article, too.
Glad that you found it useful for yourself and your friend!
Nice approach and great pointers! Lots of food for thought!
Thanks Maxine! Glad you found it helpful!