When you think of Facebook, your first thought is probably not, “Oh, that’s a great professional networking resource.”
Should it be?
Perhaps. Facebook is a versatile platform, as anyone who uses it regularly knows, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a popular place for professionals to meet and greet. No one’s talking about replacing LinkedIn with Facebook as the primary place where networking gets done, of course, merely about taking advantage of Facebook’s natural strengths for upwardly mobile folks.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at six overlooked Facebook strategies that can help business professionals stand out in a less formal environment (and possibly boost visibility for small business enterprises as well).
1. Create a Separate Facebook Page for Your Business, If You Don’t Already Have One
We’re defining “business” very loosely here. If you’re an independent professional, you are a business all your own, even if you don’t have any employees and have no intention of staffing up anytime soon. Your brand is your value; your network is your net worth.
That being the case, your brand — or your business, whatever you prefer to call it — needs a place to call home on Facebook. Create it and plan on using it as the hub for your networking activities here.
2. Humanize Your Personal Facebook Page
Next, circle back to your personal Facebook page. Ask yourself how it appears to the average person in your professional network.
Does it reflect well on you? Does it accurately portray who you are? Most importantly, does it do well to humanize you?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all three questions, your personal Facebook page needs some work. Add human touches, like family photos and candids — the Facebook page for Christopher Roy Garland, a Botswana-based business advisor, is a great example. And remove rough edges that might be fine for your friends to see but that might not look great to professional contacts you’d like to impress.
3. Create a Facebook Group That’s Closely Related to What You Do (Or Join One If It Already Exists)
The more value you can add to the conversation around what you do professionally, the more you’ll be looked to for answers and the more in-demand you’ll find yourself. Take the first step toward becoming indispensable by creating a Facebook group that’s an answer hub of sorts for your professional niche. Use it to educate, entertain, and relate to others in your line of work.
And if such a group already exists, as it well might? Then join it and stake your claim to expert status (without hijacking the conversation, of course).
4. Connect With Key LinkedIn Contacts on Facebook
This is a decent amount of work upfront followed by a minimal amount of ongoing maintenance as your LinkedIn network grows.
To be clear, you don’t need to connect with every single LinkedIn contact on Facebook. You should limit dual connections to people with whom you have a preexisting professional relationship or justifiable interest in establishing such a relationship. If you can’t make a two-sentence case to a potential Facebook connection, skip the request for now.
5. Do an Audience Poll at Least Once Per Week
Your Facebook business/brand page or Facebook group are natural venues for audience polls. Your goal here is to start or shape conversations around issues that are important to your profession, and by extension your audience. A well-crafted poll attracts interest from first- and second-degree contacts, building word-of-mouth buzz and doing some of the networking legwork for you.
6. Post an Informative Video About a Relevant Business Topic at Least Once Per Week
Video is another potent buzz-building tool. Not everyone has a killer screen presence, but you don’t have to appear on camera to make an impact in this medium. Using a free infographic-making tool like Canva, you can create multimedia content that’s tremendously valuable to your audience. Like audience polling, well-done video content is a networking force multiplier that takes a lot of the pain out of the process.
Make Facebook Work for You
You already know that Facebook is an incredibly popular social media platform. You know it has a versatile array of tools for networking and contact management. You know it’s an inherently social medium that facilitates genuine connections, despite all the noise that comes through on the timeline.
Does this all add up to a case for using Facebook as a secondary professional networking platform?
If you’re able to leverage these overlooked networking strategies effectively and consistently, it certainly might. After all, Facebook’s value really is what you get out of it. And if you’re able to get all this (and maybe more) out of it, the case seems clear as day.