The 5 Things Every Business Owner Should Be Doing On The New Facebook

Changed Priorities Ahead sign
Creative Commons License photo credit: ➨ Redvers

Well, it finally happened. Facebook has made the new profile layout changes permanent.

For weeks now, I’ve been saying that we (entrepreneurs, business owners, etc.), who use Facebook for personal AND business reasons should have been using the new layout from jump street.

Now, we don’t have the option to use the old profile design. And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the changes have been dramatic.

Facebook has made things more streamlined and uniformed. In an effort to clear out the crap and clutter, they’ve also made it harder to differentiate your profile from the millions of others out there. You’ll soon find that most of the applications you were once so fond of using have now been relegated to a lonely tab known as “boxes.”

This is where our apps now go to die. But Facebook has being flooded with a ton of crap apps anyway… so this new application graveyard might not be such a bad idea after all.

So, what do all these changes mean to you — the business owner, the solopreneur, the young executive who has been using the site to connect with leaders and clients? In short, it means that it will be harder for you to attract the attention and eyeballs of those you wish to network and do business with.

That is, if you continue to do things the same way.

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Are you connecting with your fans, friends, and followers?

Creative Commons License photo credit: 416style

Social media marketing, at its core, is about developing relationships. I’d even go a little further and say it’s about developing the kind of relationships that produce both tangible and intangible profits… Money and irreplaceable friendships. Cold hard cash as well indispensable contacts and connections.

It’s no mistake that the word “social” comes before “media marketing.” However, far too many times, more importance seems to be given to the latter portion of the phrase instead. In the spirit of full disclosure I, too, had to resist the urge to do so.

When, I stumbled into this niche/industry, I was absolutely fascinated by the idea that I could profit financially from something I thoroughly enjoyed doing: connecting with people using social media tools (Facebook, in particular).

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing nefarious about wanting to make monetary gains by doing something you love. In fact, being able to do just that is one of life’s greatest joys. That said, the problem wasn’t in my desire to profit by doing what I love. The error was in my priorities — not the financial opportunity.

I was looking at social media marketing as a vehicle I could use to make money FIRST. As a result, helping others and their businesses to do the same (make money) fell to second place. The two desire should have been reversed.

In social media marketing, the desire to assist your connections, to add value to their lives and businesses, should be the principle motivating force behind our actions.

Many times, we can forget that social media is, for the most part, nothing but a reflection of our offline realities. That fact tends to get lost behind the digital clutter of the Internet where the line between online and offline behavior become fuzzy.

But, make no mistake about it… Someone who is placing cash before the client in “the real world” can just as easily be spotted online as he or she can be offline.

Instead of considering how we, as social media marketers, can exploit our “friends” we should, instead, connect with them, engage them, include them.

A woman once told me “everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a book to sell.”

Social media allows us to tell our unique story — and telling stories is one of the most powerful tools of engagement known to man.

It’s the way we pass down oral traditions. It’s how many soothe their kids to sleep. And it’s the way the most effective authors and copywriter magnetically draw our eyeballs to their words.

Social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, and yes - even Twitter - allow residents of Web 2.0 to tell their stories. Whenever you upload a picture on Facebook, write a blog post on Myspace, or answer the question “what are you doing” on Twitter — you’re telling your story.

Have you ever noticed the most “popular” people on these social networking sites are also the most active? That’s not mere coincidence. Those social site leaders/celebs recognize — whether consciously or not — that people want to connect.

Otherwise, those follows wouldn’t be leaving photo comments and wall posts. They wouldn’t be taking time out of their day to send messages and gifts. And the leaders of those communities are eager to reciprocate the gesture. That’s how you become visible. That’s how you get to the top. That’s how you stay there.

What’s brilliant is that social media sites like Facebook are viral. You’ll generate attention and attraction simply by participating. The more you participate, the more exposure you’ll receive.

Once you have that, leveraging your network for profitable gain will be like a walk in the park.

Takeaway Points:

  • Social Media Marketing is about “relationships first, sales second.”
  • Tell your story simply by participating: adding photos, leaving wall posts, sending messages.
  • Once you’ve attracted attention, engage your fans, followers, and friends by connecting with them.
  • Add value to their lives and endeavors, then - and, only then - focus on financial gain.

3 Social Networking Principles Worth Remembering

More and more people are being introduced to a new concept. It’s one that recognizes how social networking sites can be leveraged to dramatically impact a business.

Sites like Facebook are now being used to significantly increase the brand awareness of companies…

Some are using it to forge and foster important connections with the influential leaders of their industry or niche.

And still, others are tapping into its ability to be leveraged as a dynamic and interactive marketing tool.

The idea that someone — anyone — can join a social networking site, create a profile, establish a presence, and — within a relatively short amount of time — have expanded brand awareness, profitable industry connections, and a highly successful marketing campaign is almost laughable…

But, it’s one that’s quickly gaining legitimacy and momentum.

Now, bloggers are using social media/networking to reach a wider audience and gain readers…

Small business owners are incorporating social networking sites into their guerrilla marketing campaigns.

And, as a recent example, corporations like Visa are shelling out millions to Facebook in an effort to leverage the site’s reach among entrepreneurs.

The benefits of using social networking sites are real, tangible, and well-documented.

That said, there are a few principles regarding the use of sites like Facebook that will make navigating this new medium much easier. Below are 3 social networking principles that are well worth remembering:

1. Advocate Engagement - Actively interact with your friends, group members, followers, and fans.

Offer them a chance to develop a sense of ownership in what you’re doing by encouraging dialog, fostering a sense of community, and promoting two-way communication.

2. Building Relationships - People are social creatures. By nature, we desire to connect with one another.

Social networking gives everyone from solo entrepreneurs to small business owners opportunities to establish such vital relationships (which are often the backbone of word-of-mouth advertising).

Take advantage of those opportunities by leaving wall posts and thank you messages, sending gifts, and “tagging” friends.

3. Maintaining Transparency - This principle piggybacks of the previously mentioned one. Once a relationship is established, don’t just leave it at that. Go a step further…

Add photos, upload videos, update status messages constantly, import your blog feed… All of these things help you to “personalize” yourself or your offer. It puts the all important face behind the product.

This not only builds trust, it also leads to valuable relationships that could last a lifetime.

If time (or the lack thereof) is an issue, outsource some of those tasks to a virtual assistant. But, whatever you do, just don’t ignore them.