If you are not using social media to cultivate relationships, then you are missing out on opportunities to strengthen existing relationships, create new ones, and position yourself as an authority in your market.
In this post, we’re going to look at multiple ways you can use the top social media network, Facebook, to help you cultivate relationships that will benefit your network marketing business.
Since there are only so many hours in a day, you might be asking yourself which network is the most important to focus upon when it comes to cultivating relationships and network marketing. If you only want to focus your efforts on one social network, then Facebook should be that network. With 968 million active users on their platform daily, it is easily the largest social network, and one that you can almost be guaranteed you will find potential customers and business partners upon.
Before You Get Started
Before you start relationship building on Facebook for your network marketing business, your first goal will be to ensure your Facebook profile is up to date and well-organized. Your profile will better serve you in network marketing as you can use it to connect with the people you know and participate in Facebook groups.
Here’s what you should focus upon when preparing your Facebook profile for network marketing.
Have the Profile of a Real Person
Sometimes, when you join a social network or plan to use it to make business connections, you forget that your profile needs to be that of a real person, otherwise, people will not connect with you. It can’t be all business – not only will that turn people off, but it might give Facebook a reason to suspend or deactivate your account.
Hence, you will want to create a profile that is professional, yet personal. It needs to be professional in the sense that you don’t want to share anything on it that will ruin your credibility as a professional, such as publicly shared photos of your last drinking spree in Vegas. But you do want it to have some personal flavor, such as personal updates, photos, favorite TV shows, favorite books, etc. You may read my post How to create a winning influencer social profile.
Organize Your Contacts with Friends Lists
Friends Lists on Facebook allow you to share specific types of updates with specific people. For example, let’s say that you like to share pictures of your family on Facebook, but you only want to do that with close friends and family. Facebook has a built-in Close Friends list that you can use for just that purpose. You simply add people to that list individually by hovering over their name, then clicking on the Friends dropdown and selecting Close Friends.
Alternatively, you can go to your Close Friends list from your Friends Lists bookmark page directly and add people using the Add friends to this list box there.
You can also create custom Friends Lists to use to organize your connections on Facebook. As you add new friends as connections on Facebook, be sure to organize them with your Friends Lists. When you post updates, you can then choose to post updates publicly (accessible to anyone, regardless of whether they are connected to you or not) or to post updates visible to specific friends lists only.
If you need to clean up a Facebook profile with lots of updates that you would prefer to hide from the public, you can do so by visiting your profile’s Privacy Settings and use the option to limit old posts to friends only. Otherwise, you would have to go through your Facebook profile and manually change all of your posts based on who you want to see them going forward.
Once your Facebook connections are well-organized, you can choose to open your profile up to Followers. This allows people to follow you on Facebook to see your public updates. Do this by going to your Followers settings and configure it.
Now that your profile is ready and your contacts are organized, how do you cultivate relationships on Facebook? There are literally dozens of ways. But first, you will need to start connecting with people. These should include potential customers, supporters, referrers, or partners for your networking business. Here’s how to do it.
Bring Offline Connections Online
Facebook is home to almost everyone you have known in the past and present. Facebook gives you the ability to find and connect with them all: close family, extended family, close friends, friends of friends, people you went to kindergarten with, people you graduated college with, people you worked with, people you play tennis with, etc.
The best way to start cultivating relationships on Facebook is to connect with the people who know you. Here’s how to find them.
Use the Find Friends Feature
Facebook offers great features for you to find people you can connect with on Facebook. First, they allow you to connect to your email address book and Skype contacts. Then, they allow you to search for people based name, location, school, or work.
If you have a list of email addresses you’d like to check to see if they are on Facebook, but they are not in your email address book, you can export them from the source you have them in and import them into one of the above supported email applications.
Use this tactic to find people in your customer database, people on your email marketing list, people you are connected to on LinkedIn (export those contacts here), people on your local sports league, and any other email address lists of people you know.
Check Out People You May Know
The Find Friends area is also home to people you may know. This is where Facebook suggests people you may want to connect with based on mutual connections and interests.
You’ll like find many people you recognize in this list to connect with.
Search for People Who Like a Page
Think about local businesses you go to or local groups where you know a lot of people, but don’t know them well enough to have their email address or mutual friends. Find their Facebook pages, and then do a search on Facebook for people who like their page.
This should help you find some additional people to connect with based on common interests.
Peruse Your Friend’s Friends
Facebook will give you a list of all of the people your friend is connected with on Facebook (based on their privacy settings) as well as breakdowns of mutual friends, people your friend has recently connected with, people who work with your friend, people you may know based on mutual friendships, people who follow your friend, and people your friend follows.
This tactic will help you find more people who you know well or know through your friend that you could get to know better. Look through the friend’s list of people in different areas of your life: family members, close friends, people you went to school with, people you worked with, and people you know based on mutual interests. Each of your friends will likely lead you to new ones.
Create a Group for Your Business
As you connect with people on a day to day basis, you can invite them to a Facebook group you’ve created specifically for product focused education. The goal of this group is to educate on the benefits of your products and services. Remember to not focus on pricing, compensation or features.
Why should you use Facebook groups? As of right now, they have the best organic reach in the Facebook news feed. That means a post in a Facebook group is more likely to reach other members than a post on your personal profile to your friends or a post on your Facebook page to your fans.
Think of it like a free version of an email list or an alternative to Facebook advertising. The more people you can get in your Facebook group and engaged on your posts, the more people you can reach with new messaging about your network marketing business when needed.
Form New Relationships
In addition to connecting with those you already know on Facebook, you should look for opportunities to create new relationships on Facebook as well. Here are some ways to do just that.
Participate in Groups
In addition to the group you create for your network marketing business, Facebook is home to millions of other groups created by its members in order to bring together people who share common locations or interest. Use the main search and dropdown to find these groups.
As you join Facebook groups, do a quality check to ensure that they include active, engaged members who are talking about the topic of the group. You may find a lot of groups where the members come in, post about themselves, and leave with little to no actual engagement. Those groups will not help you create new relationships or build your business. Leave them and focus on the ones where there are active, engaged members having great discussions.
Also, be sure to look for ones that are business-friendly. Usually these are ones for small business owners, business referrals, etc. They sometimes will allow you to promote your network marketing business directly. Otherwise, you will need to be more subtle.
The key is to join the group and look through the history to see what types of posts are allowed and how well they get engagement from the community.
As you join in on discussions, you will have the chance to bond with new people. Aim to be an active, helpful, and valuable member of the best groups you find so that people get to know you and remember your name.
A great feature you will find in groups is the search box. This will allow you to find discussions relating to your network marketing business.
Even if they are a little old (aim for no more than a few weeks old), if you add a comment, the people who participated in the discussion previously will be notified to your new comment. If the group is highly active, use this box to search for new discussions periodically.
Get Active on Facebook Pages
If you can’t find a group on Facebook, the next best place to go is a Facebook page. Look for Facebook pages that relate to your networking marketing business in terms of topic and location. Like them and then participate in the discussions on the posts. Just be sure that you don’t do this on a competitor’s Facebook page and that you don’t get too directly salesy, as they have the option to delete your comment.
The goal of getting active in groups and on pages is to ultimately draw new connections for your Facebook profile that you can hopefully use in some respect to your network marketing business.
Cultivate Your Relationships
Once you have started connecting with people on Facebook, your goal is to strengthen those relationships. You can’t do this by posting about your business 24/7, something that will ultimately get your account suspended or deactivated. Do that on a dedicated Facebook business page for your business.
Instead, you have to be real with people and engage with them. Here’s how to do it.
Say Happy Birthday
This is about the easiest way to engage with your connections on a daily basis. Go beyond the standard “write it on the wall” approach and send them a direct message.
Less people do that, meaning that your message will be more memorable.
Engage in the News Feed
Take some time each day to interact with people by simply responding to their posts in the news feed. While they will get notified when you like one of their posts, a better way to interact is to actually leave a comment. Plus, the more you interact with people, the more you will get to know their interests, which might open the door to talk privately about your business.
Share Positive Media Mentions of Your Product
Want to know a great indirect way to let people know what you’re doing? Set up a Google Alert about the products and services you are marketing. When that product gets a positive media mention, share the post publicly on your profile.
This should drive some discussion from people interested in the product, leading to opportunities to talk to them in-depth privately about your business from both your connections and your followers.
If you see a post from a connection that can lead into your networking marketing business, reach out to that person privately. For example, if you see someone in your news feed talk about their options for losing the baby weight, let them know you have something that would help. Or if you see someone who talks about wanting earn income from home, let them know you have a program that works.
When you message someone privately, it has less of a sales-pitch feel. When you link that message to something the person has posted, it shows you care about them enough to pay attention to their updates. The private message area also will give them the opportunity to ask questions that they might not have wanted to ask publicly or visibly to their friends.
Why Facebook Works
Using Facebook to build and cultivate relationships works because 84% of people are more likely to trust recommendations from someone they are connected with. This is why it’s so important to build a strong network of connections on Facebook.
When you combine personal familiarity with an online connection and timely messaging, you have the formula for online networking marketing success!
Be sure to start building your Facebook network and cultivating relationships today to open the door to new opportunities in your business!