Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites. There is no cost to create a profile on Facebook but it is important to know that your Facebook page must be tied to a human name, not a business name.
To sign up for Facebook you fill out some simple information on their Sign Up Page and click “sign up”.
Once you have signed up, Facebook will take you to your own Facebook page where you can begin to add information. Make sure and copy the URL so you remember how to find your way back to the page. The URL will start with: http://www.Facebook.com/people/NAME/NUMBER
Create Your Profile
You can both create a personal profile page for yourself as well as a Facebook “page” for your business. First, you create your personal profile page as a base where you can add videos, a connection to your blog and more. Be sure to include all the information requested in the sign up process to make the most of your profile. Use the “About Me” section to describe your business and what you do. In the “Information” box on your main profile page, you can feature links to your website, blog and other business resources. Be sure to include your photo so that others can recognize you online.
At the center of your profile page is your “wall”. Here you can add things like photos, videos, notes and other content. The “Publisher” at the top of your Wall allows you to “update your status” and share content through many different kinds of Wall posts.
Communicate with Wall Posts
Each Facebook member has a “wall” where friends can post messages. This is a great place to post a quick note to those in your friends list. In the business networking world, this is the online equivalent of picking up the phone to say hello.
Update Your Status
At the top of your Facebook home page is a status box. When you post a status update, everyone in your friends list can see your update on their home page. Those using Facebook for social purposes might update their status to say, “Jenny is putting the kids to bed.” For business purposes, this is a place to share tips, promote events and even boost sales.
Facebook is based on the concept of connecting with friends. You can send and receive friend requests and once accepted, your friend can view your profile and you can view theirs. To begin connecting with people that you know, you can either import your contact database or you can search Facebook for individual people.
You can also view the friends list for each person you are connected to. As an example, once you have accepted a friend request from your peer, Mary, you can view her list of friends. If you know any of Mary’s friends (or you would like to know them), send a connection request.
Build Your Friends List
The point is to connect with as many potential clients as possible. One way to do this is to join a group and send connection requests to fellow members with a note. Just as you would with an in-person business introduction, take a moment to learn about new people you meet on Facebook. Networking always works best when there is a two-way exchange. If you can help a new Facebook friend, they will likely want to return the favor.
Online groups allow you to network virtually with potential clients and peers. To access groups, start from your Facebook home page, view the list of applications and click on “Groups.” You can browse through thousands of themed groups with topics ranging from business to hobbies and everything in between.
You can also search groups to find topics related to your industry. For example, if you own a virtual business in New York, you might search for writer’s groups based in New York.
If you really want to maximize the potential with groups, consider starting one of your own. Once again, there is no cost to do this and the visibility can be great. For example, if you are an author’s assistant in Toronto, you might want to start a writing and publishing group for Toronto. You do not need to promote your business at every turn. Instead, make it known that you’re a broker, but provide value for members by sharing interesting tips and engaging with them in the online forum.
Create Fan Pages
To create a fan page, scroll all the way down to the bottom of Facebook and click on “Advertising”. Next, click on “Pages” at the top of the screen. You will find some helpful explanations about how pages work, along with a link that will allow you to create your page.
Pages function a lot like profiles so you can add links, events, discussion boards and other features that make them interactive. Facebook will also post updates from your fan pages back on to your profile so others know about them. And instead of sending friend requests out, you can invite others to become a “fan” of your page. You will also have the ability to send messages to all of your fans, allowing you to cultivate a community online.