We all like friends but from a business point of view having more Facebook friends can be a real benefit. I have 3008 friends and counting. The nice thing about this is that I get at least 2 or 3 friends request per day as they see me on their friends profile and wonder who I am. They check out my profile and think yeah, i’d like to be friends with this guy. So how did I get to 2708 friends?
1. Don’t Be a Sell Out
If you try and sell to people they will do one of three things, unfriend you, block you or report you. The last two are things that will get you banned and then you have to either beg to be put back on or start over.
Being real will get you more Facebook friends it is that simple. Lets think about how you use Facebook, would you add someone who is all about selling or is just a picture of a girl with big boobs but seems to post a lot about Viagra?
By being yourself you will connect with people who actually connect with you. 2222 friends is great but how many of them actually connect with me? The answer is 10% and of those, how many book on a web design course, again around 10%. These figures are actually quite good as they repeat each month. The only way I can do this is by not selling out and being real when it matters.
2. Connect With People
If you see someone commenting or liking something that you do, then connect with them. People want to talk to people so it’s best to start off a conversation before you friends request, then you will have more chance of making that person into a new friend. The second benefit is that by making a new friend that persons contacts will see who they just befriended, from there they may wonder who their best mate became friends with and if you are worth knowing (see item 10) then you will get a friends requests.
To connect with people look out for topics that you are interested in or that are relevant to what you do. e.g. “I am starting a online graphic design course tomorrow” then that is your chance to comment and connect. My reply might be something like ”
I like online courses for learning specific things but when it comes to bringing it all together I always prefer a teacher I can talk to and ask questions, which site did you choose to learn online?
Now there are three parts to my reply, 1. agree/disagree with their point, 2. give your own opinion and 3, ask a question. I find this works every time and allows me to connect to someone with just a few messages rather than me hounding them to be my friend.
3. Don’t Do Same Same
If you sell clothes or run public speaking seminars don’t harp on about them. Also if you’re into something it does not mean everybody else will be. If you keep going on about something you can imagine how annoying that can be. Now this also means when you have a new product launch don’t go through all the groups and fan pages and put the same text as this will appear as a long same same list on your profile. Someone looking at your profile will just see 10 or so posts all the same “how boring, he must just be using Facebook to sell, where is the unfriend link”.
I vary everything I do on Facebook, I tell people when I am having bad day, I wish my friends happy birthday, I post up funny pictures and I let people know that a new course is starting this weekend if anyone is interested let me know.
I know what you are thinking, “I am a busy person, I don’t have time to share my life on Facebook”. Well luckily it is not about the quantity on Facebook it is all about the quality. So post when you want or when something important has happened or will happen. If you are not a social person don’t try to be, just be yourself and vary it a bit.
4. Join Groups
I am a member of 55+ groups, now that is not to say I take part in every group as often they start-up and fizzle out quickly. There is actually an art finding the good groups to join. When looking for groups I first see if they are relevant and am I interested in interacting with it’s members. Then I look at the wall, is the group active? With two yes’s under my belt I hit join and then I am in.
Once part of a group take a look at the conversations going on and see if you can anything of worth. When you reply to a persons comment and you get a dialogue going you can then check out their profile and hit friends request. Because they know you from the group they are more inclined to say yes.
A more direct way is simply doing a friends request and adding a person note like “Hiya, we are both members of the international ninja stamp collectors group, thought I would say hi”. If you are friendly, relevant and you share a group with the person you have more chance of the person clicking Confirm.
5. Invite Your Contacts
If you are new to Facebook then upload your contacts and Facebook will do the rest. To do this you will need to get a .csv file of all your contacts . In Outlook you simply export, Gmail you go to contacts and look for export in the settings menu, Hotmail is the same and if you are on Mail for the Mac then follow these instructions.
A word of warning, don’t do this with a bought list or an export of your customers. They need to be friends, if you don’t have a list of your friends then simply do not do this. You want a quality set of friends not just a big number. My 2222 friends is getting smaller as it is bigger as I am deleting people who don’t interact with me.
6. Start a Fan Page
We currently have 1,225 people who like our Web Courses Fan Page, of those 668 are my friends, so guess what I am slowly doing? I am contacting those potential new friends with a friendly open message like “Hi, i’m Carl from Web Courses, thanks for liking our page. Are you interested in Web and Graphic design or are you a designer already?” If I am not mistaken I have a 100% friends request approval rate with this message from the people on the fan page.
Advantages of a Fan Page
Can be seen by Google, not hidden behind a profile. Do be careful that your fan page does not out rank your own website though.
- A great source of interaction with your users. We often post our own articles on there (this one included)
- You can ask questions. This is an under rated phenomena and can be so useful e.g. “what do you think of our new logo?” or “do you think people will like this new design”. You will be making your questions relevant to your business but getting opinions can really steer you in the right direction.
- Fan pages can be added to your website, if people enter your site and they are logged into Facebook they will see a list of the friends smiling away saying “dude where have you been, we already like this page, you should too”
- Fan pages come with insights telling you who is interacting with your page, male to female ratio and you will receive regular updates in your e-mail.
7. Find Things in Common
When you are looking for more Facebook friends be sure to look past the pretty picture and look at what they have been liking, talking about, commenting on, groups they are part of and pictures they have posted. You can get a really good idea about a persons likes and habits from their wall posts and news feed. Find something that you share in common and contact them about that. For example, “I studied AiKiDo in France before coming to Thailand, how long have you been learning AiKiDo?” or “I saw you like collecting rare post cards, do you have the Justice Bhalla’s rare postcard collection?”
Think about this from their point of view, they get a friend request from someone they don’t know, they want to know if there is a reason to know this person, if you share a common interest you have much more change of making a real friend.
When you make a friend and you share your common interests, you interact and chat for a while when you do come to mention about your businesses product or service they will be more inclined to click/like/share/comment.
8. How to do a Friends Request
- Look around your friends friends, group members, fans of the same page
- Find a person you think will be a good friend/connection
- Look at their info and check if they are in the same city/area (for me this is important as we run a Online Marketing Courses in Bangkok not Toronto Canada and I would like to actually meet the person in the flesh one day as that gives more of a chance to connect with them.)
- Find common interests, this can be with their likes, favorites or even where they studied. This is all on their info panel (assuming they have this accessible by non-friends)
- Hit friends request and add a relevant message.
You need to be real, interesting and friendly or people will not like your friends request. Be sure that you also prune your friend list every now and then. This is for two reasons, to keep a list that is active and only of people you actually interact with and if you mention you are pruning your list it makes the people remaining on the list after the cull feel more special.
Important: when people accept your request or request to be your friend on Facebook, make sure you add them to relevant lists early. I wish I had done this much sooner as it is a very useful tool. With lists you can invite specific people to events and pages as well as contacting them as a group. Segmentation of contacts is super so be sure to do it.
9. Run an Event
We used to run events here in Bangkok called Startup Weekend Education ASEAN, lots of fun and our events page were filled with comments and interactions. Running an event such as a meet up will give you an excuse to invite all your friends, if they say they are attending others will see this. This is your que to get in touch and events give you that chance to put a face to a profile.
10. Be Worth Knowing
I can’t stress this enough which is why I left it until last. If you are a corporate whore nobody will want to know you. Who cares if your new skin cream is the best thing since slide bread, or your new sprocket has more range of motion than the Russsian Olympic Gymnastic Team. People want to connect with people within a social network that facilitates real connections through common interests. If your Facebook profile is just about sales and not about being a real person then forget everything you have just read as none of it matters. You have to be worth knowing or people will not take notice of you.
Being worth knowing is not about being the cool kid, nor is it about being a party animal or prolific poet. It is about being a real person and sharing what you want about your life, just enough to connect to others. A good way to be worth knowing and making more Facebook friends is by being yourself not your business.
What To Do When You Make a New Friend
So 10 steps down your list will be growing with every day, what do you do now? When you make a new friend thank them! It is a simple act of kindness to say “thanks for letting me into your life”. Now you need to make sure they don’t regret that or forget you. Keep the connections going by first posting on their wall something like “Thanks for adding me as a friend [insert name here to make it personal] i’m Carl from Web Courses (slight name drop). So did you manage to go to Badminton the other night?” I always do this with every new friend and it really helps. At least I get to know if they are the type to actually reply or not, if they are…
Then just continue to keep in touch with them. One way to do this is make sure your news feed shows everyone and not just the people you regularly keep in contact with. To do this go to your news feed, click on the status, a padlock will appear, click it and then select everyone. This way you will see what everyone on your list is saying and you keep in contact.
Every now and then mention your product or service, run and event and make sure you keep your fan page filled with interesting content like pictures, articles, events and stuff that makes people want to like you more.
Oh and by the way, since writing this I have gained a few more Facebook friends as you can see
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