Here are 5 ideas for how to do Facebook networking with your Facebook page. What happens when we network, who we can network with, including comment buddies and networking groups. Finally a wee look at how much time to spend Facebook networking and what to do when it’s not working.
I’d like to start with my disclaimer! I am not a social media expert, I just offer to share what has or hasn’t worked for me. I trust that you will do the same so that we can learn from each other. Please feel free to ask questions or add your comments, tips, strategies or alternative opinions.
1 Understand networking and what happens when you network
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar
The idea of Facebook networking is really no different to networking face to face. You are engaging with people in conversation. It’s about building other people up who will then do the same for you.
On Facebook this means liking, commenting and occasionally sharing other people’s posts, maybe pages.
If you don’t interact with other people’s pages then they will not interact with yours. It’s as simple as that – unless you have a very very engaging page that attracts a lot of interest or controversy!
When you like or comment on someone’s post then all your Facebook friends get notification of that in their newsfeed. Also it tells Facebook that the post you’ve commented on is interesting. Facebook will then show it to more people meaning that person’s engagement/’people who saw this post’ will go up. In turn, the page holder will (should!) respond to your comment, which in turn will show up in people’s newsfeeds and show people that you are someone who engages. If you network consistently with someone in this way, they will start doing the same with you.
2 Who to do Facebook networking with.
Some ideas are; other similar businesses, local businesses, any other businesses you already know, common interest groups.
A) – other similar businesses. This might depend on your business type. For me, I’m a Independent Phoenix Trader so to raise the profile of Phoenix Trading on Facebook then it’s a good idea to interact with each other. It also means that if I post once a day on your page, and regularly interact with say 2 others who do the same, then my friends could see 3 posts a day that are linked to Phoenix cards (when I am only posting 1)…it shares the workload. Most customers are loyal and it won’t matter that they’ve seen something they like on someone else’s page, they will probably still come back to you to ask to buy whatever they have seen.
I am part of a fabulous Phoenix Trading comment buddy group.
There are 3 of us who comment on pretty much every post we each do. We have set up a secret group on Facebook just for us, makes it easier to talk to each other if we need to, which we don’t have to very often. We’ve also (I think) got to know each other quite well and our interaction with each other has encouraged us in many aspects of our Phoenix business, not just Facebook. We deliberately chose three of us who weren’t part of the same team or in any way connected through our uplines, except very distantly. We don’t benefit financially from each other and we don’t live near each other.
I definitely saw my reach improve as soon as we started doing this and we’ve been doing this about a year now and it still makes a difference to how many people see my posts.
Idea – why not find two other similar business pages who post about the same amount as you and agree to a strategy to comment on each others posts. You can set limits (in case one of them goes a bit post happy and posts 20 times a day!)…that you comment on up to 3 posts a day, say. You can be as flexible as you like as to when you comment and you don’t have to comment the minute you post, you can always catch up on their posts a day later.
B) – Local businesses. Most of our customer base is usually built in the local area. It makes sense to have local customers, delivery is easier, you can make face to face contact and build meaningful sales relationships with them a lot easier than you can online. Facebook networking with local businesses can lead to new contacts for baskets, sales or even Traders.
Where I am there were no local business networks on Facebook so I started one!
We have both a page and group. On the page we share and comment on local business posts (it is a lot of work and I don’t do it on my own anymore!). The page is Western Isles Emporium if you want to see it. I set up the group so that we could find out about events in the area – ever feel you’re always the last to know what’s going on, after it’s all booked out??? That was me – so I started the group, turns out every one else felt like they didn’t know either! As a result of this we started a new monthly craft fair that I coordinate and we now have monthly small business networking lunches.
Since the page started sharing my posts, I’ve seen my post reach jump from 1-200 to 5-600 on a regular basis. It’s taken a couple of months to get it going but it’s been worth it and I certainly feel more connected with other businesses locally.
Idea – find out what local business networks already exist on Facebook and join in. Bizmums have groups in various parts of the country, here we have ‘Business Gateway’ and there are lots of other individual local groups. Maybe you already know of a group from craft fairs or events you’ve been to. Support the other businesses on there. Click ‘get notifications’ on their FB pages so you can like and comment on their posts.
C) – Other businesses of a similar genre, e.g. craft businesses if that’s what you do. I suggest this because this is the group of people I’ve found most interested in Phoenix. On the whole the crafty people appreciate the design/artwork of Phoenix and seem to respond positively to our products.
There are lots of networking sites out there and many of these will share your posts for you if you share a link from your page to their wall.
To do this go to your page and click on the picture that you’ve already posted on your page, that you want to share. Then copy the link and go to the page. Where it says ‘write something on this page…’ paste the link and add an extra comment if you wish. If you don’t add a comment then it will come up with whatever comment you’ve already put on the post on your page before. I should say it’s a good idea to post to these sorts of walls from your page – this means switching to your page, not using your personal profile.
Idea – find two Facebook networking pages on Facebook and post to their wall. Tip – They will appreciate it if you also comment on some of the posts they have already shared (remember it’s not just about you!). See if they share your post. If you get some engagement back then try and share with them from time to time.
D) – Common interest groups. I’m part of a #WednesdayNightBakeOff group – we only post once a week with that #. Always at the same time/day, we tag the pages that are taking part each week. (It’s not compulsory so it can be different each week.) We all comment on each other’s posts. It’s only a once a week so not demanding, quite fun and means once a week I know what I’m posting about!
Idea – find something you enjoy doing that you could share on your page once a week. Start a common interest group and agree to post something interesting once a week with your made up #. (# makes it easier for you to find each other). This doesn’t have to be related to your business, it’s only once a week and it makes you look human as it’s a personal side of you.
3 Comment Buddies and Networking Groups
So we touched on comment buddies already. I mentioned my Phoenix comment buddy group of 3. It doesn’t have to be the same business as you. Perhaps you already have friends who are running business pages on FB. Why not make an agreement with a couple of them to comment on each other’s posts.
Facebook networking groups can be bigger than comment buddy groups. I guess my #wednesdaynightbakeoff group is more of a networking group. Another I’ve been involved in does one or two different things each week. E.g. they’ll do a ‘photo experiment’ where you post a link to a photo that you’ve already published on your page, as will anyone who wants to take part. They agree that on whatever day everyone who’s taking part will visit each post and leave a like and comment. Or they might do a video post, or a one up one down where you comment on the person above and below you in the list on a certain day.
Idea – who do you already interact with on Facebook? Why not ask them to form a networking group? You may find that other business pages are grateful of this, most of us want to improve our Facebook reach!
4 How much time should I spend on Facebook networking?
Only what you can and ideally no more than 20 minutes a day.
Of course it depends how many groups you get in to but you probably don’t want Facebook taking over your business. There are so many other ways to develop your business, Facebook is only a part of it.
Try to be disciplined. Once you know what ‘groups’ you are going to be networking with, stick with them and try not to digress. Spend 10 minutes at the beginning of the day catching up on comments/likes, responding to comments on your posts. Then 10 minutes at the end of the day. Or longer if you need to but set yourself a time limit and stick to it!
Schedule your posts on your page. If you can you can schedule your whole week’s posts in one go. Then you just need your 20 minutes a day with the comments/responses.
5 What if someone never comments back or engages with me in return?
Stop wasting time on their page. They clearly don’t understand how Facebook works and could therefore learn a thing or two from you. You need to find someone else to engage with. Facebook networking, like any networking has to be 2-way.
Finally – Top tips!
When someone comments on your post or your page – always reply.
Schedule your Facebook page posts as much as you can.
Limit your time Facebook networking and stick to it!
If someone doesn’t engage back – move on.
PS – If you’ve found this helpful please comment and add your tips and strategies for others to see!
PPS – If you liked this, you might also like 5 Steps to improving your Facebook business page