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Penelope

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I am wondering what opinions are held about businesses having profiles on Facebook and the like. Pros/cons? And why?
 

Morticia

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Here's some info from a guy whose opinion I respect. I still have not figured it out. I don't get how anyone would find me if the whole purpose is to invite people to be your friend. How would I even figure out who I knew who was on there? Holy cow, am I old or what? My daughter has a page for her son. She sends me the link to look at the pix, but that's all I can do...
[tr] Does Your Small Business Really Need a Social Media Strategy?
[/td][/tr] [tr]
Last week we got a small job from someone who found me through Twitter. We're now talking together about a search engine optimization project.
I recently reconnected with a camp buddy through Facebook; shortly afterward he hired flyte for a custom programming job.
Next week I have meeting with a woman who lives here in Maine to discuss Web design, Internet marketing, e-commerce and more. We've never met before, but we've tweeted.
I'm talking to yet another person about a possible business venture. We "met" while contributing to a blog and then met again at a conference. Twitter later strengthened this relationship and we discussed the plan using Skype, the free chat/phone/video conferencing service.
As I'm editing this, I just received an email from a neighbor who saw a YouTube video about email marketing I made and uploaded to Facebook. He said "We need your help! I've forwarded a link to my colleagues. Our marketing does not leverage technology AT ALL."
And although I may be pushing both credibility and your patience here, while I continue to edit this article, a long-lost client who stopped work on her site and disappeared just pinged me on Facebook to see if we could get started again.
When I mention Facebook or Twitter to friends and business associates they wonder how I can find the time to waste on such activities. When I share stories like these their eyes go wide and they ask me how to get started.
Thinking that social media is easy money is just plain wrong. Going into it for a quick buck is like being the guy at the cocktail party trying to push life insurance on everyone. You don't want to be "that guy." I had about 800 tweets (Twitter posts) before I attracted that first job.
You must understand the social norms. In some societies spitting in public is completely acceptable. In other societies burping and belching at the dinner table is considered a compliment. Either could get you kicked out of my mother's house.
Since it may not be possible to ask, "how do I behave here?" to the natives, it makes sense to listen first and engage slowly.
The norms of social media will undoubtedly evolve over time, but it will continue to be good advice to get a lay of the land before opening your mouth and jumping in with both feet.
On the other hand, she who hesitates is lost. Bottom line is, you're either going to "get" social media before your competition does, or you won't. The early adopters will have the advantage as more people engage in online networking.
Use social media the right way and you will create and strengthen relationships. You won't have to chase customers, you'll attract them. With a slowing economy, you may find you have more time and less money; although social media takes time (like any networking activity), it's extremely affordable.
The best part is, social media is fun. I enjoy twittering with other people, catching up with old friends on Facebook and asking and answering questions through LinkedIn. (Unlike in traditional networking events where I'm always worried that there's food in my teeth.)
In Conclusion
Social media may turn out to be the biggest competitive advantage your business has over the next two years. So, yes, you do need a social media strategy. And it starts with getting your feet wet.
If you'd like to continue this conversation, or add your own stories, you can do so at the flyte blog. If you have any questions feel free to tweet me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or ask me at LinkedIn.
Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media
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Morticia

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And another blog posting from the same guy, this one with directions, so I should probably actually read this one!
[tr] Facebook for Small Business and Entrepreneurs
[/td][/tr] [tr] Facebook is a popular online social networking site that adds a quarter million new users every day and currently has over 120 million active users. If you think your target audience isn't on Facebook, you might be surprised to learn the fastest growing demographic is the 25 and older group.
If you're not comfortable or familiar with social media, you should think of it as a new take on the networking event, except with less pressure to make small talk and no shrimp cocktail boat.
By investing some time and energy into Facebook you can build brand loyalty, establish your expertise, engage your customers on a deeper level, and drive qualified leads back to your Web site.
Step 1: Create Your Profile
Facebook is about personal relationships; the coin of the realm is "friends." While people may want to be friends with you, chances are they aren't looking to be friends with your company. Did you ever have a heart-to-heart with Nike, or go to the movies with General Motors?
In fact, creating a profile for your business breaks Facebook's terms and conditions. Therefore, you need to start by creating a personal profile using your real name.
To build your profile upload a photo, enter your education, business and contact info, and join your local network (i.e., Portland, ME).
The more complete your profile, the more easily you can connect with other people. If you're concerned about privacy, Facebook offers highly customizable privacy settings that control who can see different elements of your profile. This way you can share photos of your kids with friends and family, but not with your boss or customers.
Next you can upload your contact database to see which of your contacts are already on Facebook, and ask to "friend" any of them you wish. This gives you a good starting point on Facebook, rather than starting cold.
Step 2: Create Your Company Page
Once you have a personal profile, you can create a page for your business. Pages can be populated with company information, photos, video, upcoming events, discussion forums and links back to your Web site.
You can also add additional applications to increase the functionality of your page, such as an RSS feed from your blog or embedded videos from YouTube. Pages are made publicly available so search engines can find and index them, which is an added benefit.
People on Facebook can become "fans" of your company, which is a great way for you to stay in touch with them and share information and advice. Think of gaining Facebook "friends" or business "fans" in the same way you think of increasing your email subscriber base: they build your network.
You can promote your company page via email, your blog, and through the Facebook network to drive more traffic and buildup your fan base.
If you're wondering why you need a Facebook page since you already have a Web site (and maybe a blog), it's about being where your customers are...location, location, location.
Step 3: Join and Create Groups
Another way to network on Facebook is through the use of groups. Groups, unlike pages, are only visible to Facebook members. Groups can be formed around anything from sustainable business practices to political affiliations to love of a particular video game or breed of dog.
Chances are your prospects already participate in these groups; if not, create a new group and invite some friends and fans to get the ball rolling. An assisted living resident might create a "sandwich generation" group; a business coach might create a personal power group.
Once nice benefit of groups is that you can "bulk invite" people to join (who are connected to you on Facebook), and they can then "bulk invite" their friends as well. This means your group can go viral quickly, and so groups are great ways of promoting a movement.
Words of Caution (or Don't Be "That Guy")
You know those people who go to networking events and try to sell you long before they learn anything about your needs? Who are pushing their product or service as they give you their never-let-go-G.I.-Joe-with-the-Kung-Fu-grip handshake? It's easy in real life to see how obnoxious that behavior is, right?
Well, then don't behave that way on Facebook. (Or on any social media site, for that matter.) Anyone jumping into social media as a way to make a quick sale will be sorely disappointed, and may irrevocably damage their reputation.
Social media is about building relationships; you build your network and your reputation over time by providing value to other people. The best book ever written on social media marketing could well be How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
As Mari Smith says, "You need to focus on building rapport, reaching out to connect with others, adding value, sharing information relative to your niche and marketplace."
In Conclusion
Facebook is a powerful networking tool that connects you with your prospects and customers in new and engaging ways. There are conversations, events, and networking opportunities that are only happening there; if you're not on Facebook, you're missing these opportunities.
Every small business owner and entrepreneur should invest some time to determine how Facebook fits in with the rest of his or her marketing efforts.
Once you sign up for Facebook, feel free to friend me there, and visit the flyte new media page and become a fan.
For more good reading on Facebook for business check out Mari Smith's 3-in-1 Facebook Tips Report and Hubspot's Facebook for Business Webinar, both of which helped frame this article.
Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media
[/td][/tr][/table]
 

EmptyNest

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Bad virus now being talked about from the Facebook site. They say they are securing the site, but be careful.
 

Penelope

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As Mari Smith says, "You need to focus on building rapport, reaching out to connect with others, adding value, sharing information relative to your niche and marketplace."
But I don't understand how Facebook is different from, say, a blog, when it comes to sharing info and connecting with others and building rapport. Wouldn't that be doubling the work load?
 

swirt

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As Mari Smith says, "You need to focus on building rapport, reaching out to connect with others, adding value, sharing information relative to your niche and marketplace."
But I don't understand how Facebook is different from, say, a blog, when it comes to sharing info and connecting with others and building rapport. Wouldn't that be doubling the work load?.
Yes in many ways it is doubling your workload. If it comes to one or the other, choose the blog as that is accessible to all...where facebook is not so much.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Facebook is not the same as a blog. It is a social website. Also has 10,000 distractions vs the blog that you control the content/ads/everything. I have not yet seen where facebook can be used for business, but it is all new to me.
 

YellowSocks

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Well, I don't know about business, but I know that the inevitability of my joining Facebook is close at hand... too many friends and relatives have asked me to join. To see wedding pictures of the kids I used to teach... gotta go to Facebook. When my bff (yes, she really is) asked me, then I knew it was time. Of course, I still haven't done it yet...
But I will... and soon.
=)
Kk.
 

greyswan

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I have a personal FB page, but not one for the business. I was going to go the MySpace route, but not going to since there has been some problems with that site (viruses, too young of membership, inappropriate content, etc) I also have a membership on sta.rtup.biz which is a business social network mostly for online businesses, but still there for marketing my business.
 

seashanty

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my kids are all on facebook (all adults by the way)
i am not
if you decide to test the waters, go with a basic profile not something really in depth and personal.
since my id on here is private, i will share with you that my daughter has a problem with a man who pursues her in all these open forums ... she refuses to be intimidated by him but he is borderline stalking her. they dated twice six years ago and he still emails and calls her. she ignores him because the slightest 'hello' and he's off and running. she has a very high profile job running fashion shows and is in the public eye anyway and says she is not going to modify her lifestyle because of him. but it is very easy for him to figure out where she might be by seeing who her friends on facebook are and what friends they have ... and if one mentions a function where it's possible she will be - he shows up. what's the point of my sharing that? just so you know you can be 'found' on facebook. that is the goal afterall.
my sons have reconnected with friends from highschool, things like that.
 

Morticia

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my kids are all on facebook (all adults by the way)
i am not
if you decide to test the waters, go with a basic profile not something really in depth and personal.
since my id on here is private, i will share with you that my daughter has a problem with a man who pursues her in all these open forums ... she refuses to be intimidated by him but he is borderline stalking her. they dated twice six years ago and he still emails and calls her. she ignores him because the slightest 'hello' and he's off and running. she has a very high profile job running fashion shows and is in the public eye anyway and says she is not going to modify her lifestyle because of him. but it is very easy for him to figure out where she might be by seeing who her friends on facebook are and what friends they have ... and if one mentions a function where it's possible she will be - he shows up. what's the point of my sharing that? just so you know you can be 'found' on facebook. that is the goal afterall.
my sons have reconnected with friends from highschool, things like that..
My BIL called a few months ago to say he'd like to bring his new GF to visit. I asked her name. Bingo! FB page with pix and info. No pix of my BIL, however, even tho they live together. Hmmmm...
 

Tony

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Every single person I know young or old is on Facebook regularly. Although FB isn't the first place people turn to when they're searching for lodging, its vast user base is invaluble for word-of-mouth publicity. It's also useful for people when they're planning their vacations or just impulsively decide where to go.
It's not much work to get your inn on FB. Create a profile with as much info on the inn as you can. Then join pertinent groups and networks and post your inn there.
ETA: Make no mistake about it, facebook and blogs are NOT the same thing.
 

EmptyNest

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Every single person I know young or old is on Facebook regularly. Although FB isn't the first place people turn to when they're searching for lodging, its vast user base is invaluble for word-of-mouth publicity. It's also useful for people when they're planning their vacations or just impulsively decide where to go.
It's not much work to get your inn on FB. Create a profile with as much info on the inn as you can. Then join pertinent groups and networks and post your inn there.
ETA: Make no mistake about it, facebook and blogs are NOT the same thing..
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
 

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I grew up overseas and so my high school chums are all over the world. So Facebook has been a great way to find each other. I don't think I'd be interested otherwise.
Plus any way I can promote my tours and B&B on the web I'll do. But I don't visit there often. There is too much "Betty has sent you a plant, please send one back" and "Joe has asked you to join this cause, please respond" type stuff that I don't have the time for.
Riki
 

Penelope

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I have a personal FB page that I have used to find friends I'd lost touch with and so on. I just don't get the idea of using it as a networking place for a business. I understand FB is for the older (read: not tweenies) crowd, but how can it be useful from a biz standpoint if I want to read about a place but I have to "friend" them first and vice versa? It seems like an awful lot of work and not a very good ROI of my time.
I am sitting here shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes right now at this idea.. I guess that's my answer!
 

greyswan

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I have used the status line of FB to comment on recent local business contacts... Like I enjoyed coffee at Susie's Bistro that just opened, or I've got a jumpstart on a great financial plan thanks to Susie.... and one or two does the same thing for us, too. Subtle, or not so subtle, way to network market. If it piques someone's interest then I can comment further to promote. I'm also using it to describe the breakfasts I serve and add recipes occasionally.
 

Tony

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Every single person I know young or old is on Facebook regularly. Although FB isn't the first place people turn to when they're searching for lodging, its vast user base is invaluble for word-of-mouth publicity. It's also useful for people when they're planning their vacations or just impulsively decide where to go.
It's not much work to get your inn on FB. Create a profile with as much info on the inn as you can. Then join pertinent groups and networks and post your inn there.
ETA: Make no mistake about it, facebook and blogs are NOT the same thing..
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
.
catlady said:
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
Facebook is a social networking site (extra emphasis on social) for people to connect with others. If your only contacts are your immediate family or the people in your small town, I can see how little of value it could be to you.
 

Morticia

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I have a personal FB page that I have used to find friends I'd lost touch with and so on. I just don't get the idea of using it as a networking place for a business. I understand FB is for the older (read: not tweenies) crowd, but how can it be useful from a biz standpoint if I want to read about a place but I have to "friend" them first and vice versa? It seems like an awful lot of work and not a very good ROI of my time.
I am sitting here shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes right now at this idea.. I guess that's my answer!.
penelope said:
I have a personal FB page that I have used to find friends I'd lost touch with and so on. I just don't get the idea of using it as a networking place for a business. I understand FB is for the older (read: not tweenies) crowd, but how can it be useful from a biz standpoint if I want to read about a place but I have to "friend" them first and vice versa? It seems like an awful lot of work and not a very good ROI of my time.
I am sitting here shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes right now at this idea.. I guess that's my answer!
Maybe the focus should then be LinkedIn instead. That is more for professionals and might garner more of the business traveler or professional on vacation.
 

swirt

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Every single person I know young or old is on Facebook regularly. Although FB isn't the first place people turn to when they're searching for lodging, its vast user base is invaluble for word-of-mouth publicity. It's also useful for people when they're planning their vacations or just impulsively decide where to go.
It's not much work to get your inn on FB. Create a profile with as much info on the inn as you can. Then join pertinent groups and networks and post your inn there.
ETA: Make no mistake about it, facebook and blogs are NOT the same thing..
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
.
catlady said:
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
Facebook is a social networking site (extra emphasis on social) for people to connect with others. If your only contacts are your immediate family or the people in your small town, I can see how little of value it could be to you.
.
It is probably safer to not assume that just because a person has no interest in Facebook that they are not social or confined to a small town. The world was a social place long before Facebook came around.
 

muirford

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Every single person I know young or old is on Facebook regularly. Although FB isn't the first place people turn to when they're searching for lodging, its vast user base is invaluble for word-of-mouth publicity. It's also useful for people when they're planning their vacations or just impulsively decide where to go.
It's not much work to get your inn on FB. Create a profile with as much info on the inn as you can. Then join pertinent groups and networks and post your inn there.
ETA: Make no mistake about it, facebook and blogs are NOT the same thing..
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
.
catlady said:
Sorry I am not on facebook and I NEVER WILL BE. I have no interest in it.
Facebook is a social networking site (extra emphasis on social) for people to connect with others. If your only contacts are your immediate family or the people in your small town, I can see how little of value it could be to you.
.
That's stretching it a little, don't you think? I have a lot of contacts with a lot of people both inside and outside my town but I don't use my facebook account for that. I communicate with my college nephew on facebook, many innkeeper and industry colleagues via email, family by phone and the people in my little town - I actually meet them on the street and in the restaurants and talk to them!! It's hardly like communication doesn't happen unless you're on facebook.
 

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