Alternatively, your interest in Facebook may be to sell products or services on a
business-to-business basis, or you may be selling products to consumers that involve a longer sales cycle and require more consultation.
Friday: Repurpose a Profile for Business
Alternatively, your interest in Facebook may be to sell products or services on a business-to-business basis, or you may be selling products to consumers that involve a longer sales cycle and require more consultation. That’s the realm of business development, where relationships built over a long period of time matter. Business development tends to imply more “strategic sales,” in other words, higher touch, more surgical, higher-stakes interactions with people who make big decisions that can impact your success or failure. Social media is a fantastic tool for business development. It breaks down communications barriers that were the rule of the day just 10 years ago. It gives you low risk and potentially helpful excuses for interacting much more casually and
much more regularly with prospective partners. It also exposes the social side of our lives, which may be helpful in a sales context. Not only that, but it can help you learn more about the very people you are trying to sell to—their thoughts, concerns, likes/ dislikes, and so on.
First things first, you need to decide whether this is a good opportunity for you and your organization. Will your customers or partners be willing to engage with you on Facebook? How will they view your friend request? Will they be threatened or amused by your occasional comments and activities on the social network? By creating
Friend Lists and adjusting your Privacy settings to your liking, using these Friend Lists, (e.g., determining who can and cannot see what content), you can easily control how your business-related posts and personal sharing are propagated. Using your Facebook profile for business development is dangerous because unless you use a duplicate profile for business activities or you carefully sanitize everything you say and do on Facebook, you’re going to mix business and pleasure. Some people deal well with that, but others don’t. Some individuals have an aversion to mixing business and pleasure; in fact, many people hesitate to get too involved with social networking on a wider scale because they are afraid of having to “live in a glass house.” This is perfectly natural; most everyone likes to have an element of privacy to his or her life.
On the one hand, you may choose to have a completely open policy and only share content—both business and personal—that you’re totally okay with being found in a Google search, possibly featured on the front page of a mainstream newspaper and/or archived for years. One distinction we’ve found helpful over the years is to
think of your experiences as falling into one of three categories: Professional, Personal, and Private. Since the prevalence and popularity of social media, the line has become rather blurred between our professional and personal lives. Typically, people are interested to know a bit more about you behind your “work self.” Sharing about hobbies, travel, family, and interests is actually interesting to most people. However, here’s where you get to maintain control: you still may have a private life and simply never share anything online that you don’t want out in the open. Facebook Advertising Price
Although we tend to favor Twitter over the Facebook personal profile for business development outreach through social media, some people are more willing to become a Facebook friend than others. Just proceed cautiously. Before friending someone, get a sense of whether they’d appreciate it. We wouldn’t necessarily be pushy about this— some people draw lines in various parts of their lives, and your intrusion may be seen
as inappropriate. If you have a business contact who requests to be your Facebook friend, you’re probably in good shape with that particular contact. Before accepting the request, be sure to review your profile critically to ensure you don’t have anything there that may be embarrassing to you. You can be sure that a business contact who wants to know about you will check every picture you’ve posted, pictures where your friends have tagged you, comments on your News Feed, who your friends are, and conversations you’ve had in the past.
If you’ve used Facebook’s security settings to keep different parts of your life separate, now would be a great time to double-check the settings and public visibility of your profile. If your profile is open to the public, assume the worst—that your business contacts will do due diligence on you before deciding to trust you or do business
with you. You may need to make some changes there, so you don’t hurt yourself as you try to build your business and earn a customer’s trust through a Facebook friendship. Here are a few other steps you can take to ensure your profile is appropriate for business contacts:
Sanitize your profile Go through the effort of reviewing status updates and pictures to ensure you don’t share anything that may be embarrassing or potentially offensive to your new professional friends.
Avoid ongoing political, religious, or other controversial commentary These are things that you should truly avoid to keep from offending people, assuming you aren’t affiliated with political or religious organizations. You may even choose to not fill out your own Political and/or Religious Views on your Info tab. Some individuals may have strong opposing beliefs and actually choose not to do business with you because of this. On the other hand, it’s possible those who resonate with your beliefs would want to do business with you all the more.
Remove controversial groups or Facebook pages from your profile Groups and pages imply a level of support that goes well beyond an occasional comment. Remove anything that will damage your credibility with business development contacts.
Stay vigilant Sometimes your friends can post some things that are off-color or potentially embarrassing. Once you see things like this, be sure to remove them or disassociate them from your profile. To learn more, you can check out Facebook Advertising Price.