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Facebook Friends Strategy for Business


facebook friendsDefinition:  friend

friend (a person you know well and regard with affection and trust)

friend (an associate who provides cooperation or assistance)

friend (a person with whom you are acquainted)

Facebook was designed for friends.  With its remarkable growth and proven worth as a networking tool, Facebook is now for more than friends.  The challenge however is separating your friends from networking contacts.  I don’t want to have conversations with a fraternity brother visible to a business contact.  The photo from last St. Patrick’s Day I snapped on my mobile phone is not something I want a client to see.

However, I do want to manage people I don’t know that have expended the effort to friend me on Facebook.  Right now the prominent buttons on such a request are “Accept” or “Ignore.”  Instead, I am choosing to “Engage.”  I’ve contemplated the idea before of not accepting as friends people I don’t know.  Now I’m executing the idea.  Instead of hitting ignore, I’m replying with a message to join my business page.  Facebook calls those contacts fans.

A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person (usually a celebrity), group of persons, company, product, activity, work of art, idea, or trend.

Most business page members are not fans by that definition.  They are simply interested enough to click on as members.  Fan is the name we’ve got, so let’s use it.

Now when I get a friend request from someone I’ve never met, I suggest they join my business (fan) page instead.  We have the same ability to interact as on my personal page, but I don’t have to share my personal messages, photos or how many times I did a mission on Mafia Wars today.  If we interact and truly become friends, then I can add them.  That’s my new policy.

Tonight I had dinner with about a dozen local business people with completely different businesses than mine.  All were curious about what I was doing for a living.  When the discussion turned to Facebook, not one of them knew you could create a business page that is separate from your personal profile.  They were amazed by the possibilities!

I received two new friend requests today.  One was from a real estate company or agent and the other from someone I simply don’t know.  We’ll see whether they become fans or not.

Action plan:

Create a Facebook business page and populate it with your business info.

Invite your existing friends that may be interested in your business to join.

Link your business page to your Twitter account.  Kill two birds with one tweet.

Write a personalized message for people you don’t know with your business page link included.  Save it in notepad on your desktop so you can simply cut and paste for future requests.

Don’t add people to your personal Facebook page you don’t know.

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  1. October 15, 2009 at 9:42 am | #1

    great tip – I thought of what it would be like in the receiver’s shoes to get a response like that, and I decided that I wouldn’t be offended because: 1.) like you said, I may not have known about business pages, 2.) I would be impressed with the person’s desire to keep personal life separate from business life, and 3.) if I ended up connecting well with the business person through his/her business page and that person later invited ME to be the friend, I would then be honored.

    Now, all I need is the guts to implement the plan the way you did and not just use the ignore button…

    • seobyswaby
      October 15, 2009 at 11:48 am | #2

      So far I’ve added 50% of my “don’t knows” to my business page. Much better than ignore! The sample size of 2 is far too small to be scientific and they responded with humor. It’s all about opening a dialogue.

  1. October 15, 2009 at 8:59 am | #1
  2. June 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm | #2

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