Everyone is talking about social networking, and many claim social networking to be the panacea for all of your marketing ills. Marketing on social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter can help you boost the size of your email list and help you grow your business. The key to success with this strategy is making sure that members of your target market are in your network.
Facebook is very strict and very particular about how its participants contact each other. Facebook limits the number of new invitations that can be sent in a given day or week. The exact number is a Facebook secret and unknown to the public, but if you exceed this secret amount you can get booted from Facebook. However, I think if you stick with no more than 10 per day, you will probably stay within their limits. Secondly, you are permitted only 5000 friends in Facebook, so if you're successful in this strategy, you may ultimately need to create a waiting list of friends.
How do you find your target market in Facebook? Whether you're an experienced social networker or just a newbie, here are 10 secrets to growing your target market network in Facebook:
1. Update-to-date profile and/or Fan page: Before you begin a "friending" (i.e. request to become another's friend), be sure that your profile is up-to-date with an accurate description of what you do, your interests, and your contact info, including your web site URLs. If you have multiple businesses, invite people in your appropriate target market to become fans of your niche-specific fan page.
2. Follow the gurus. Follow leaders in your field/industry and "friend" them. Anytime you make a friend request, include a personal note, as that will improve the likelihood that they will accept your request. Say something like, "I'm a big fan and have been on your ezine/blog list for several years. I'd love to have you in my network in Facebook." Once they have accepted your invitation, make comments about their status updates to help you get on their radar and in front of their networks.
3. Friends of friends. Take a look at the people in the network of your industry leaders, as they are probably part of your target market as well, and send friend requests to those of interest to you. When you friend someone that you only know by association, send a personal note as well, like "I discovered your profile in <name here>'s network and would like to get to know you better by adding you to my network."
4. Use groups. Look for groups that may contain your target market. In your search for groups, use keywords that describe your niche, your industry, your geographic area, the interests of your target market, or whatever other terms you might use to find members of your target market. Join and begin to participate in the group so that they begin to get to know you. Then peruse the member lists for good prospects, sic as the members you've connected with or have gotten to know. Since you won't be able to view the profiles of the group members because they aren't in your network, much of your decision-making about whom to friend may be based upon appearance or how you might be connected to them via other friends in your network.
5. Check your lists. Friend people that you already know from your high school, college, alumni associations, and places of employment if they fall within your target market definition.
6. Facebook-recommended friends. Facebook typically recommends friends based on your current friends list when you log into your profile. I've found these recommendations to be pretty solid. Take them up on their recommendatíon and add those folks to your network.
7. Add by interest or industry. Do a people search by job title, industry, geographic location, or interest. Those people with those terms in their profile will show up in your search, and you can request to add them based on common interests.
8. Build the relationship. Once you friend someone, you need to begin to get to know them and start them on the like, know and trust journey so that you become their top-of-mind expert in a particular area. Begin building the relationship by posting a quick "thank you" note on their wall, as well as a comment about something on their profile that interests you or in which you have in common. Watch for their status updates, as well, and comment on these when appropriate.
9. Create a group. Once you've got about 500 followers, create a group for your target market. Provide the group with useful content and and ask questions to stimulate discussion and get the members to return to participate in the group. You can post articles, links to blog posts, or videos you have created. Invite group members to any free virtual or face-to-face events you're hosting.
10. Integrate into your plan. No marketing strategy works unless you consistently implement it over time. As a newbie to Facebook, you might want to spend as much as 60 minutes per day researching friends and participating in groups. As your network grows, you many spend only 15 minutes 3 times per week on Facebook. The key to success is to put this strategy on your calendar and make it a routine part of your ongoing Internet marketing tasks.
While social networking is an inexpensive marketing tool and can be effective in helping you grow your business, maintain your other marketing strategies, as well, and simply add this strategy to your marketing mix. A well-rounded Internet marketing plan that includes social networking and is implemented consistently will mean that your prospect well won't ever run dry.
About The Author
Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online retirement businesses by demystifying the steps needed to successfully market a baby boomer business online. Would you like to learn the specific Internet marketing strategies that get results? Discover how to improve your visibility and get found online by claiming your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketíng Toolkit, at ==> OnlineBizU.com.