If you’re looking to build your friends list on Facebook, you know how awkward it can feel sending a friend request to someone you don’t actually know. It can make you feel downright creepy. But the fact is that you can influence so many people through Facebook, and it’s still an excellent tool for building your brand, even for a personal Facebook account.
Keep in mind that gaining friends through a personal profile page is completely different than getting likes for your business page. While that is a useful campaign in and of itself, the goal of building your friends list is to have direct, personal contact with potential customers. This kind of campaign is for everybody, but especially for many small-business owners wanting to connect directly with local people, this can be a powerful technique.
So check out these tips for building friends on Facebook without actually having to send that awkward friend request. In fact, the goal of this process is to get them to send you that invite. It can be done and with less effort than you probably think.
First of all, make sure you’ve got a decent Facebook profile. Keep it personal — avoid sticking your brand’s logo as your profile pic, as an example. That’s what a business page is for. Instead, keep your profile personal and approachable. You’ll be posting as a person, not as a brand. This is what more people will connect with anyway.
Remember that you can easily manage the security of your posts by simply taking a second every time you get a new friend and put them in a separate category. For example, I use Family, Friends, Acquaintances and Customers as my main groups. When I get someone to friend me who I think is a potential customer, I put them in the Customer category. Then, if I want to post something somewhat private, I only send the post to Family and Friends.
Driving traffic with your profile
Just because your profile is personal doesn’t mean you don’t want to take advantage of it to drive traffic to your site. Use your About page to put a link to your site and give a brief — very brief — bio of your involvement with your company. Don’t go into the details of what you do. Just keep it very short and sweet. Remember, you’re selling yourself first and your business next.
Join targeted groups
Once you have your Facebook profile up to spec, take some time to join some specific, targeted groups. If you serve a local area, you may want to search for pages or groups that are in your region. Then, you will have access to all the people who are in that Group. You don’t get the same visibility of people who have liked a Page, and that’s why you want to focus on Groups at first.
You can also search by industry or other topic. The point is to join groups that are very clearly full of your ideal customers. If you sell to grocery stores, see if there is a grocer group. You’d be surprised what you can find!
You can join up to 300 Groups, which is more than enough to start driving traffic to your profile and ultimately your site.
Leave insightful posts
Once you’ve joined some targeted Groups, start leaving insightful posts. You may like to leave funny posts that are relevant or your personality may be more on the serious side. No matter the style of your posts, what you want to avoid at all costs is coming off as trying to pitch your business. Show people that you understand them and their situation by posting ideas and solutions.
Take some time to find a relevant article post this on the Group pages with a short comment of your own. You’ll find that people will respond and you can get a conversation going. After a while, they’ll be very likely to send you that friend invite. While I did say you could build a friend list without sending a request, after you’ve had some conversations, the awkward level drops dramatically and you could send the request first if the timing feels right.
Use other social media
You can also use other social media sites to connect friends/followers/connections to your Facebook profile. Put out a post about how people can see the more personal side of you on Facebook or just ask them to friend you. The key is to leverage these connections you’ve already made. They’ve taken the time to connect on a different social media site. They’re already much more likely to do the same for Facebook.
What have you found to be a useful for building your friends list on Facebook? Do you find Facebook to be more about personal matters than business?
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, Web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers business cards, booklet printing, posters, brochures, postcards, flyer printing and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.