We all heard the big fuss this week about Facebook changing the layout on Business Pages. I saw at least 10 different people write about it. As usual, my first stop was over at my buddy Mike Mueller’s blog as he is my Facebook Guru whenever I want to know the real details. However, this isn’t what I wanted to discuss in this post. Instead I wanted to talk about one of my absolute favorite tools on Facebook. This is a tool that allows you to connect on a one on one level with others and make your Facebook Friends a personal friend once again.
I understand that some of you are probably thinking to yourself right now, “who cares? I am trying to make as many connections as possible!” If that is your mindset, I get that. I personally have over 1,400 friends on my Facebook profile and accept just about any & all friend requests. (Unless I know it’s spam.) But here’s my question: What good is 1,400 friends if I never interact with them?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are ways to connect with people through leaving Happy Birthday wishes on their wall with 300 other people. But to me that isn’t that personal. In fact this last birthday of mine I looked and some that came by to wish me Happy Birthday. Several had not left a comment, or anything on my wall since my bday before. So how does that make me want to be a consumer of their product or service? I could also try tagging them in photos that they aren’t in to help promote by business, but that doesn’t seem too personal but rather more like spam. Instead, my favorite way of connecting with friends on Facebook is through Chat.
Facebook Chat For Personalization
When I start each day of work, one of the first things I do is sign onto Facebook and open up my chat. I do this for several reasons. The first is that I am connected to many of my previous and current clients. They like using the service to ask me a quick question about their custom WordPress sites, or to schedule a coaching call. It’s a fast easy way for them to get a response from me. On my end, I like it because I can talk to multiple clients all at the same time. It’s not uncommon for me to have at least four different Facebook chats running at the same time. I also like the rest this gives my voice as I already talk anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 minutes a month on the phone. Which is my second reason for using Facebook chat. I can multitask phone calls, multiple chats and save my voice all at once.
The second reason I love using Facebook chat is that it is a great way to connect with past clients. We all know that after a few months down the road your clients can start to forget who you are. They don’t remember that while you helped them with one service, you also have a list of other things you offer. Sometimes just the simplest conversation with them can drum up new business. Over the past few months this has been one of my most productive ways of stirring up new business. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t start a conversation with “Hey do you need any of my services?” The art of the soft sell is definitely needed here in full force. Instead I may ask how their family is doing, or how they like their new site, or share an article that might help increase their business. By offering something of value, they are more likely to remember me in a positive light.
The third way I use the Facebook Chat is to answer questions of those I am connected to. I regularly see friends of mine on Facebook asking for assistance with an issue on their wall. I could send them a private message and wait for a response to see if I answered the question properly, but that can take a lot of valuable time. Plus normally when you answer a question for someone there are three other questions you may have to get answered to get to the correct solution. If they have their chat enabled, I simply send a message. After a simple conversation and quick solution, I have instilled trust in them and that person will think of me the next time they might need to hire someone to handle a task related to my business. As with any type of networking, the key is getting your brand and name in front of consumers as much as possible in a positive manner that they will remember you in the future.
This leads me to the last way I use Facebook Chat to personalize my connections and expand my business. When time permits, I will start conversations with friends that I knew from many years ago and try to reconnect. This may be old high school friends, people I grew up with, or college buddies. Once again, I don’t necessarily start these conversations with the mindset that if I talk with them it will bring me business. I genuinely am try to reconnect with past friends that I have slipped out of touch with. If we don’t talk about what I do for a living at all, that is fine. Why? Because now that we have talked about our kids, shared photos, and reminisced of times of old, I have now gone from just someone they knew in the past to an old friend that is back on their radar. They are no more likely to pay attention to my status updates, photos & videos. All of this means more opportunities for business.
I am sure there are many other ways to connect on a personal level with people on Facebook. For me, I am a fan of the Facebook chat and will continue using it. So, the next time you are logged on, find me and let’s start a conversation!