Do you have your Facebook profile “on lock down”? Meaning, do you keep your personal Facebook activity completely separate from business? You’re not alone.
Most people work diligently to keep their Facebook activity separate from business, but there are benefits to abandoning this mindset.
One of the reasons Facebook is an effective tool to strengthen business relationships is the personal connection it provides between you and your “friends”. While there are obvious don’ts when it comes to mixing personal and professional activity on any social platform, there are ways to use Facebook in both capacities.
I’ve had many debates with people over whether or not Facebook should be used for business or simply your personal life. Facebook is a social network. And like any other social network, it’s your responsibility to manage your account appropriately. It’s your responsibility to manage what goes out on your behalf and be aware of the functionality surrounding privacy settings. Facebook has a role in business. It’s not often celebrated or discuss but it can serve a great purpose.
Here are five unconventional ways to use Facebook for business:
1. Be Better At Remembering Names, Dates & Recent Events
Remembering someone’s name and using it in a conversation is an important step in establishing a connection with someone. However, most of us find ourselves every now and then struggling to put a name to the face before us. It happens to all of us but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing.
If you’re connected with business associates and clients on Facebook, you’re likely going to see their face on a regular basis. Furthermore, you’ll be up-to-date on their recent life and business activity so the next time you meet with them or run into them at the grocery store, you’ll be able to ask how their vacation was, or make a point to recognize their most recent blog post.
2. Gather Information About the People You Want to Work With
Before you pick up the phone or send an email to a potential client, employer, or job applicant, I bet you run a Google search on them. If you’re like most of us, you take it another step and scope out their Facebook profile, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile.
If you’re going to work with someone, it’s natural to want to learn more about them, sometimes even before you meet them.
It’s one thing to see their professional experience on LinkedIn, and it’s another to see what they post publicly on Facebook—which offers a more personal view of the person.
Connecting with clients and co-workers on Facebook can help you get to know them and learn how to build a better bond with them.
3. Develop A Stronger Relationship Through Conversation
Facebook is a great place to carry on casual conversation. Simply commenting to your client’s posts, leaving a message on their wall or sending direct messages can strengthen relationships through informal discourse that’s more personal than a formal email 9-5 Monday-Friday.
4. Remember Someone’s Birthday
If nothing else, Facebook is great at reminding you of important dates in people’s lives, such as their birthday. Sending a happy birthday message to a business associate is a simple and personal touch that makes people feel good.
5. Use Facebook Lists
Last but not least, one of the most effective ways to leverage your personal Facebook profile for business is to use custom lists.
Set up a list for current customers and clients whom you’re connected to on Facebook. This way, instead of seeing posts from all of the people you’re connected to, you can choose to only see the news from those who are most relevant to your business.
This makes it easy to engage with their content and keep track of their daily activities without having to mix their news with that of your family and friends.
Connect by posting relevant content to their wall, or sending a direct message. You can even video call them or voice call them. These are great ways to build long-term relationships.
These unconventional ways to leverage your Facebook profile to build stronger business relationships are effective. However, I caution you against adding every client, colleague, peer, or new connection to Facebook. While not every business relationship should be fostered on Facebook, it’s undeniable that it’s a great way to build a stronger connection with a connection.
Do you “friend” your business colleagues and clients on Facebook?