Understanding the Basics of Social Networking

Understanding the Basics of Social Networking

Social networking can be a powerful tool for establishing business contacts and building your online profile but are your efforts working for you or are you committing every Facebook faux pas in the book.

The following ten steps won’t instantly transform you into an internet marketing whiz but they will point you in the right direction.

Ultimately your success in anything will be dependent on your purpose, ethics and strength of commitment.

If you’re out to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense, I’m afraid there’s no miracle cure for being a dork, but if you are looking to improve your results here’s a few tips that will bring some valuable leads and help establish good relationships.

10 – Join Networking Groups

People who join these groups are there to establish networks and contacts. They are happy for you to send them friend requests and share ideas. Facebook has limits on how many friends you can add in a day but there is a way of getting around this.

Many of these groups have lists where you can add your email address to the end of the list. You can then go to your Profile page and click on ‘Friends’ and select ‘Invite Friends’. Down the left hand side there’s a link titled ‘Invite Friends to join Facebook’.

You simply cut and paste the entire list into this area and it matches it to existing Facebook accounts. By doing it this way, you can send out multiple invites and not get your account suspended and as it’s an opt in list, you’re not spamming anyone and as the list grows and others join the group, you will continue to receive friend requests.

9 – Take an Interest

As new friends accept your friend requests and send you friend requests, go and have a look at their profiles and look for common interests. Post a ‘Thanks for the add,’ message on their wall. Keep it simple and polite. Introduce yourself and ask them a question about their interests and take an interest in their response.

8 – Go for Quality over Quantity

Be prepared to cut the dead weight. I think most people have something of value to offer but occasionally you do come across others whose personal value systems conflict with your own or who are going through their Pyramid Scheme phase at the expense of any sort of ethics.

Seek to establish high quality, valuable relationships rather than lots of empty ones. Once a month, use the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) on your networking list. The 80-20 rule means establishing who your top 20% are. Also remember not all valuable contacts are clients or paying customers.

7 – Offer Something of Value

Ensure you are offering something of value and that you don’t become a part of other people’s ‘dodge list’. Be genuine and don’t do the hard sell. Offer tips and just be a friend. Remember your manners but don’t be too formal or cold. People like establishing relationships with other people with similar interests.

6 – Have a 30 second snapshot of who you are

Underneath your profile picture on Facebook there is a small box where you can say something about who you are and what you represent. If you put something compelling in this box, it will prompt your friends and new associates to read your extended info section and learn more about you. Describe briefly who you are, and what you’re about.

5 – Feed the Blog from your Website into your Facebook

You can feed your blog into the ‘Notes’ section of your Facebook. This will update on your wall and other people’s feed and keep your Facebook alive even if you don’t log on every day.

  • To do this click on ‘Settings’ at the top right of your Facebook
  • Select ‘Application Settings’
  • Select ‘Profile’
  • On the top left there will be a large blue button that says ‘Go to Application’
  • When the new window opens, it will show all your friends notes and there will be a pale blue box on the right with application notes and options.
  • Select “Import Settings”
  • You can then input where the blog feed is coming from – your website or blog.

4 – Send Friend Requests to your favourite Authors and Industry Keynotes

Most authors manage their own Facebooks. Keynotes who are usually inaccessible are seeing the value in establishing an online profile and are usually more than happy to accept your friend requests. In their friend lists, you will find other people who are interested in the same subjects as you. Friend one of two of them and get to know them and swap ideas.

3 – Reply to Status Updates and other People’s Notes and Comments

Don’t plug yourself or your product. Offer something of value to them, their friends and readers. Compliment other business people on their work when you admire what they are offering. Everyone enjoys positive feedback and if they are using their own Facebook for business also, your feedback will be a valuable testimonial to their potential prospects.

If you have any feedback on potential improvements or disagree with anything, send a private message. It’s still good to engage your friends and networks but don’t do it publicly if it will affect their reputation or business. Use your good judgement.

2 – Exchange Reviews

If you are an Author or offering a product of service that is complimentary to another persons, an alternative to Pay Per Click and Affiliate promotion is to find someone with a service or product that you would use or do use and post a review on your own website and Facebook. Tag them in the note, and sometimes they will offer to do the same.

You can solicit these relationships but don’t overdo it. You want your feedback to be genuine and you don’t want to damage your own reputation and become known as someone who plugs everyone and everything. Be selective. If you do include affiliate links in your through text writing, always note that it is an affiliate link. Most people will still be glad to click on the link and give you a kickback in return for your valuable input.

1 – Have a Good Array of Photos

Don’t just have the professional shots. Have some family shots or pictures of you doing things you enjoy. Make your Facebook human. Even if you operate two accounts – one for personal contacts and one for professional contacts, include personal photos on each.

People are visual creatures. We retain 70% of what we see.

Logically women’s magazines should have men on the covers right? Women are attracted to men, but you rarely see women’s magazines with men on the cover and vice versa with men’s magazines.

People like looking at images that are similar to themselves. If you are selling a property and include a picture of a woman laughing in the lounge room, it will increase the click through rate. Most of the decision makers in real estate purchases are women. When they are looking at a gallery of 30 images of homes, they will click on the house with the picture of the person in it.

Photographs are a very powerful part of establishing your online identity and something that can make a difference on your success or failure online.

Clearly there’s the obvious disclaimer of not posting the drunken shots where you flashed the bartender last weekend, but some photos of you having a couple of quiet drinks with friends and enjoying sports etc do add to your self branding.

If you use your Facebook for networking and business, let your friends know also. Some friends can be a bit loose with their wall posts or tag you in photos you might not want your business associates to see. Always ask your friends to be aware of this when they interact with you via your Facebook.

These are just some of the more useful techniques I’ve used and found to help me build some strong relationships online. Be yourself and be ethical and you will soon see the results of your efforts.