Facebook is great! It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends, family, and customers. And, for many of my younger hosts and customers, it’s just about the only way they communicate. One problem, though, is that Facebook (fb) is so new that many of us are posting without really understanding where it goes, who sees it, and how to make good use of it.
Your Profile is you, personally, on fb. It’s the way you’ll become friends with friends and family. You’ll send friend requests and approve or deny requests you get from others. You’ll become a fan by liking the pages of companies (clicking on the Like button) you, well, like.
When you first log into fb you’ll see your News Feed. You’ll either see Most Recent postings or the Top News, which is what fb has determined is the most popular of what your friends and family have shared. You can switch back and forth between these by clicking Top News or Most Recent at the top of the News Feed. No one but you sees your news feed.
Your friends and family will see what you post as your status. They will also see, in their News Feed, whenever you make a comment, Like a comment, or become friends with someone. Exactly which of your fb friends will see what you post will depend on your privacy settings, but that’s a discussion for another day.
You can set up a Page for your business. It is against fb policy to do business from your profile. If you want to do business on fb, set up a page. The easiest way to do that is to go to the very bottom of your screen and click on Create a Page. Just follow the directions. Once you set up your page, be sure to tell everyone and suggest they like it. You might want to have a few things together before you start setting up your Page—several photos representing what you want to say and do with your Page, a sentence or two describing your business, a short summary of what you offer, and something to say in your first Status. That last one could be an announcement about the launch of your Page.
You can do just about anything on fb as your Page as you can as yourself. You can make comments, Like comments, and become a fan of businesses. You can do this by clicking on the Account button on the upper right corner of your screen. Click on Use Facebook as Page. That will bring up a list of your pages (I currently have three). Just choose your page and click on Switch. If you simply click on the name of your page, you’ll just go to that Page as yourself. You must click on Switch to use fb as your page.
One thing you cannot do as your page is initiate contact with individuals. In other words, I can contact Cathy Customer and suggest she become a fan of the Page for my direct sales business. What I cannot do is contact Cathy Customer as that Page.
This is where many people start to get kind of confused. The things you do as your page will be seen by the fans of your page. If you’re using fb as your page, make sure that’s what you really want to do. The things you do as your page will show up in the News Feed of your fans. That’s a good thing, as long as that’s what you want to do.
When you switch to using fb as your Page, you’ll see your Page’s Profile. If you click on Home you’ll see your Page’s News Feed. You’ll see posts from every business listed as one of your Page’s favorites. It’s a good idea to Like and comment on what you see there. One bit of warning, before you Like a link to an article, a video, or an audio clip make sure you read, watch, or listen to the whole thing. When you Like something as your Page, you’re giving it your stamp of approval. Make sure that you are comfortable recommending it to all of your customers.
If you’re in direct sales, you’ll want to be careful of posting on Pages of similar businesses or other consultants as your Page. If Sally Salesperson with My Great Business comments on the Page of Connie Consultant with My Great Business, it’s almost like Sally is walking by a line of Connie’s customers with a sign that says, “I’m selling this, too!” Of course, it also shows up in the Sally’s customers’ News Feed that she has posted on Connie’s page (announcing that Connie sells the same products). The occasional happening isn’t an issue, but doing this frequently can be perceived negatively.
There’s more to know. There are businesses out there that can help you learn about social media and navigate it more effectively. Two of my favorites are Direct Sales and Social Media by Jennifer Fong (www.jenfongspeaks.com) and Your Business Needs Fans (www.facebook.com/yourbusinessneedsfans). Social media is a changing, growing phenomenon. Don’t be afraid of it, but familiarize yourself with it. After all, what you don’t know just might hurt you.