If you’re looking for an article on how to sell on Facebook by learning to turn your Facebook friends into clicks to toss into your funnel, this is not the article for you. But, if you’re looking to utilize Facebook to engage in meaningful conversations, develop relationships, and yes, ultimately grow your sales and business, you’ve found the article for you.

While our content is often focused on utilizing LinkedIn to grow business relationships, generate leads, and drive sales, and our Magic Writer is designed to help you do just that, Facebook is also a great social network to use for business. But, Facebook is not LinkedIn and must be treated differently. If you jump on Facebook and try to implement your LinkedIn strategy, you’ll alienate people and have no success. However, if you follow a good digital road map, you’ll create digital influence and succeed.

Digital Influence on Facebook

Christian Klepp, the Co-Founder of EINBLICK, in the video podcast below, asked the question: “How do you stand out in the sea of noise?” Kleep goes on to say that his answer is, “by using digital influence in a positive, constructive and meaningful way.”

All social networks have their noise. On LinkedIn, the noise is often spam, bots, and non-stop self-promotion. On Twitter, the noise often comes from fake or automated accounts. On Facebook, the noise comes in all sorts of ways, but perhaps the most noise comes from negativity.

Facebook prioritizes content that gets people to spend more time on its network. And, they’ve found that the content that does this is often content that brings out negative emotion. It is what gets people to go back to a single post to repeatedly comment.  And while, yes, there is a time to sound off with our opinions, the Facebook stream of negativity can become an ocean of noise. It does not add value.   It is not constructive more does it add meaning. To stand out in the sea of Facebook noise, and to have a digital influence on Facebook, you need to add value.

Facebook Networking 101

On LinkedIn, most people are willing and looking to grow their network. On Twitter or Instagram, people will follow and allow follows from most anyone. Facebook is different. Most, but not all people, guard the access to their Facebook feed and Facebook friendship a bit closer. Therefore, the social cadence that you employ on Facebook will move a bit slower than it would on other social networks.

Networking on a social network is the gateway to digital prospecting. Before you start networking on Facebook, you need to know a few of the main best practices and know the difference between Pages, Groups and your Personal Facebook Account.

Networking through your Personal Facebook Account

If you “have Facebook,” then you started with a personal account. Now, some people use their personal account strictly for business networking purposes, and some have shifted their personal account to the new Facebook Business Page (an option fully rolled out by Facebook this past year). But, it is important to realize that the vast majority of people on Facebook use their personal accounts primarily for non-business-related purposes.

*Important Note: If you use your personal Facebook account primarily for business purposes, you may be in violation of Facebook’s Terms and Service. Click Here to review their TOS. 

The key best practice to know when networking on your personal Facebook is that you can’t go around friend requesting everyone that you want to network with. Respect the platform. Respect their privacy. If you have mutual friends whose posts you’ve seen them comment on, or if they have public posts, comment on those posts, and reply to their comments. Do this several times before you send a friend request.

Personal Facebook Account Social Cadence

The best move is usually to interact with a personal profile, then after several interactions, Direct Message them specifically about your most recent interaction. From here, if they reply, it is acceptable to friend request them, or better yet, ask them if you may add them as a Facebook friend. When you do this, you not only assure they accept the request, but you’ve established a bit of a digital connection. When you establish the digital connection first, all be it from just a few comments back and forth, the person is far more likely to be shown your posts and to recognize you and interact with you.

Now, if you decide to be that person that spam friend requests any prospect you come across, you might get a few people to accept the friend request. But, without first having a digital connection of any type, they aren’t as likely to ever engage. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that you will have any digital influence with them, as they’ll see you as a random person who spam requested them, making it a very steep uphill climb for you to be seen as credible.

Don’t Hard Sell on Facebook

Hard selling does not work well on social media, especially on Facebook. People don’t log on to Facebook to be sold to. Yes, people do buy when on Facebook, and they consume large quantities of marketing that influences their buying behavior, but they run from hard selling.

We all know that person that utilizes Facebook to non-stop push the latest “life-changing” MLM they’re convinced will make them a millionaire by next week. When you try to hard sell on Facebook, and when 50% of your content is about your business or product, you look exactly like that person. In fact, you probably look worse because at least the MLM crowd is heavily devoted to posting uplifting motivational quotes.

Provide Value

how do you stand out on social media?Growing your digital influence on Facebook, and eventually finding prospects and closing sales, goes back to what Christian Klepp said; you need to use digital media in a positive, constructive, and meaningful way. You need to provide value.

Value on Facebook can be provided in many ways. Simply clicking like on a Facebook post provides value (and helps that person’s posts get seen by more people). Commenting adds value. Providing support or humor provides immense value on Facebook.

The key to growing influence on Facebook is to make it about them, not about you. Who on Facebook can you provide value to today? When you provide value, you develop relationships and you increase your influence.

Last, realize that not everyone on Facebook is a customer. That does not mean that you can be a valuable connection to them, or that they can’t be a valuable connection to you. Facebook can be a great place to drive sales, but we are all more than just our job. Develop connections and friendships that go beyond business. And, have a little fun on Facebook too.

Networking in Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a great place to dive deeper into subjects or interests with like-minded people. If you’re active on Facebook and looking to network and prospect through digital media, you should be active in a few Facebook groups.

First, it is important that you know the rules of Facebook groups. Most have limitations on self-promotion posts, and violating those will get you kicked out of a group and make you and your personal brand or company look bad.

Next, while all the statements above in our blog about the proper social cadence on Facebook still apply, the lifecycle of that process is often quicker with people you meet in groups. By being in the group, you’ve both established a common interest in whatever the subject or purpose of the group is, and you’ve established that you are open to interacting a bit more than the average Facebook user. Don’t be pushy, but keep your eyes open for networking and sales opportunities in groups.

Networking with a Facebook Page

Facebook has several options for pages now. Through a page, you can be more aggressive in your prospecting and sales approach. You can run ads through these Facebook Pages. It is also acceptable to self-promote and sell. However, it is still vital that you still make adding value a priority.

Yes, you can turn your Facebook Page into one big sale funnel that you immediately throw everyone in, and some people generate a lot of sales from that. But, it’s a strategy that relies heavily on spending significant money on Facebook ads, on constantly churning through users and a strategy that harms your reputation.

We can name names of the marketing personality that have blitzed Facebook with ads and developed a personal brand that does drive sales. But, it is not a strategy that works for most businesses or personal brands. The better strategy is to use the Business Page as a platform to provide value, be it insights, education, humor, motivation, etc., and grow a targeted following. From there, you can periodically post self-promotional content, and run ads as needed to drive sales.

Be a Value Provider

Facebook is noisy. It is far too often negative. To stand out, be a value provider. Share some insights. Encourage others. Comment with a timely joke to bring laughter to someone’s day. Be a giver of value.

If you’re committed to providing value on Facebook, you’ll grow your social network, increase your digital influence, drive sales, and develop life-long customers and relationships.

Who can you add value to today on Facebook? We encourage you to jump on Facebook, right now, and add value to three people.