Over the past several years, Facebook has grown into a powerful networking tool that allows artists to really expand their fan base.
Artists can establish themselves as experts, meet and interact with peers across the globe, locate business contacts and sources, and raise visibility about specific areas of interest. . . and it all happens on the social network most of us use already!
Unfortunately, understanding the best way to navigate and use Facebook, as an artist, can be tricky. Below are 7 simple, yet effective, tips effectively designed to help you use Facebook as the social networking tool it was meant to be.
1. Integrate Facebook with Twitter
Len Abbazia, also known within his office as “Mr. Facebook” himself, is the VP over at Springboard Public Relations. He actively uses Facebook to increase client awareness, to reconnect and “forge new bonds” with old clients, and to build relationships with new contacts.
When asked about the best tip he’s ever received in regards to using Facebook, he said it was the ability to integrate Twitter into his Facebook account. “Tweeting on Facebook,” he says, “allows you to embed links as well as offer conversation starters for a multitude of items.” In fact, he recently helped a client increase traffic by simply tweeting within Facebook about the client’s new features.
The key to being successful with Facebook, according to Len, is to leverage Facebook for content, to use it as a connection point with others in your industry, and to build real relationships with key reporters that cover your industry (or in his case, his clients’ industries).
2. Use Facebook to stay in touch with customers
Lindsey Jaffe, of Word Hampton Public Relations, believes Facebook is a great tool for promoting one’s business, but since Facebook doesn’t allow “friend” searching, it can be a bit tricky. The key is to drive traffic to your Facebook page by promoting your business “from the inside” and you do that by letting existing and potential clients know your Facebook page exists.
When helping Vittorio’s Restaurant & Wine Bar in Amityville, New York set up their Facebook page, Lindsey recommended they place a badge announcing their Facebook page on their main website, then place a link to their page on various media like the bottom of receipts and on tabletop ads.
She also recommended that they actively use Facebook to promote their restaurant by keeping their customers up-to-date on the latest happenings, such as weekly promotions, wine dinner announcements, menu changes, current menu, hours, and contact information. Lastly, she advised them to include video footage and photos.
It took awhile to get the results they desired, as does any social networking tool, but the rewards have been very beneficial.
3. Personalize your Facebook message
Donna McAlister, of Prosperity Is Now, believes that success only comes when you get out there and make it happen. That’s why she believes in using social networking tools like Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals. “The key to using Facebook successfully,” according to McAlister, “is to personalize messages”.
There’s enough spam on the Internet to choke a horse. Sales pitches flood our inboxes on a daily basis. If your message sounds like spam or a sales pitch, you’re missing out on the benefits of social networking. That’s why McAlister’s point on personalizing your messages is so important.
To succeed in social networking—whether online or in person—you need to be reachable. You need to show those in your social circle that you’re trustworthy, that you are knowledgeable, and that you’re there to be helpful.
You can do that by personalizing your messages—from introduction emails, to friend requests, to unsolicited testimonies and endorsements, to unbiased product and service reviews, to personal stories and anecdotes. All of this creates a direct line, from person to person, rather than a “sales pitch” to the masses.
4. Build a core group on Facebook
When you first join Facebook it may be tempting to contact everyone you know in the business and tell them that you have an account. You may even want to beg them to become a fan. But Trevor Leb, of ZocDoc, says that’s the worst thing you can do.
“Don’t try to reach everyone at once,” says Trevor. You must “foster a core group of followers and let them spread the word.”
To build your core group, look for individuals who have an interest in what you do, who have the ability to influence others in your industry—even if it’s just cheering you on—and who are willing to stay connected on a weekly basis. Then find ways to stay in touch with your core group.
As you continue to feed viable information to your core group, discover ways to make it more personable: share your vision, interview others who influence your business, provide tips that solve real problems, and reply to comments left on your wall and in your private emails.
5. Use video tips to engage Facebook fans
Liz Lynch, executive director of Networking Excellence, uses video tips to engage her Facebook fans and promote her business. Thanks to Facebook’s video application Liz is able to share her expertise and knowledge through a video series titled, Passport To Networking.
In her series, she shares brief stories about her location and ties them into network marketing. They’re historical, educational, and interesting; definitely a fun way to take networking to a whole new level.
To use video marketing effectively, you need to understand the needs of your target audience. Take the time to incorporate everything you know about social networking and marketing into your videos:
Keep your videos short and to the point—under 5 minutes. Be consistent with uploads. Create a new video on a weekly basis as consistency keeps viewers coming back; making it easier for them to pass along targeted videos, thus creating a viral marketing boom.
Don’t create videos as sales pitches, they’ll drive viewers away. Instead, create videos that entertain and educate your target audience.
And finally, brand your videos. Create an introduction that represents your company and end the video with a brief message that tells viewers where to find more information on you or your company.
6. Use Facebook to build rapport
Heather Trimboli, bridal consultant with First Coast Weddings And Events, uses Facebook to blend her business life with her personal life. The key, according to Heather, “is to stay professional at all times.”
Showing a personal side of your business allows you to build a rapport with potential clients while sharing your expertise shows them that you are capable of doing the job and doing it well.
Building rapport takes time but when done correctly it promotes credibility and gives you a competitive edge that all the advertising in the world cannot accomplish—all it takes is honesty, integrity, and the ability to be real without sounding like one big sales pitch.
To integrate your personal life with your business life successfully, you need to remember first and foremost that every contact is a human being with feelings, emotions, and moods. Second, remember that every contact is a potential client, a potential lead, or a potential help in reaching others. Third, every word that comes out of your mouth—whether written or verbally—can be used for good or evil so choose your words wisely.
Finally, you need to remember where to draw the line. Potential clients do not want to hear about the mundane tasks of your everyday life; they do not want to listen to you gripe about your spouse, your friends, or your co-workers; and they don’t want to know if you’re struggling in some area of your life.
What they do want to know, however, is why you enjoy your current profession, personal stories of your day-to-day life as it reflects upon their interests, and tips from the trenches.
7. Use your status updates to become active friends
Erin Linsin, publicity and marketing consultant with Jeneration PR, says “using Facebook’s status tool to update friends is a great way to keep everyone in your circle informed. Every time you use the status tool, your friends get an update in their ‘mini-feed’ once they log into Facebook.” It’s painless, effortless, and non-intrusive.
Becoming friends is the tricky part. Facebook was designed as a social networking tool to connect people around you and should not be used to spam those in your circle with sales pitches or promotional materials. People tire easily of updates that are only geared to expand your business and offer no personality, no trust factor.
“Effective networking on Facebook is just like networking in our personal lives,” says Erin. “The more friends we have, the more people will listen and support us. The more we give a shout out to our Facebook friends, the more they will shout back. And the more we allow others to see a personality behind our businesses and the genuine excitement behind our successes, the more contagious it becomes. It’s one big social scene.”
To build genuine relationships on Facebook (or anywhere for that matter), you must first be a friend. Applaud accomplishments, show concern for prayer requests, offer advice on struggles, provide tips you’ve learned along the way, share resources, ask questions, thank responders. . . the list goes on.
Then—and only then—give updates on your company’s status, new products, or sales. The work you’ve put in to build relationships will inspire interest, trust, and respect from your community, and create a far richer response to your message than anything you could accomplish through traditional, typical, marketing.