Let’s face it, most of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. On 7th December, as I write this, I am contemplating a digital detox for much of the two weeks I am taking off over Christmas and the New Year. Too much time online makes Judith a dull and headachy girl and there’s no doubt that being online 24/7 is addictive and that’s always painful and unhealthy.
I don’t use Facebook for my friends and family. I never have and I never will. This means that, one way or another, 100% of my activity on Facebook is marketing for my business, even when it doesn’t look like it. When I am talking about myself, my life, my favourite TV programmes I am fostering know, like and trust and however much I choose to share, I never have to disclose anything I don’t want to. Consequently my settings are permanently set to Public. If your usage is different, you might like to explore the possibilities offered by Lists which means you can talk to different groups of your friends by assigning them to an appropriate list.
Facebook has now become too important to me and my business to give it up. Even when people do not appear to be connecting with my output, I know they are. How do I know? Because they tell me so. Often when I ask a new or potential client how we know one another they will say “I like what you put out on Facebook”. This happens so often that I would ignore it at my own business peril.
Here’s how I use Facebook for my business.
- My personal profile. Facebook frowns upon this so I don’t over-use it to promote anything but since everything I post is marketing, then it still has a business use for me as it’s showing people about my likes, dislikes, politics (or not, in my case), my cat, my hobbies, my goals and ambitions, my woo woo and my favourite things. These are my brand values.
- My Facebook page. I don’t get as much traction as I would like here, mostly because Facebook want us to pay to advertise our pages. Fair enough! What business wouldn’t want to capitalise on letting us have everything else for free? My Facebook page is like a mini-website so I aim to post here every day and to continue and extend the work I do on my profile. I can afford to be much more businesslike on this page including promoting things for money. I like that people can join my newsletter list directly from my page.
- Groups. These are invaluable and I regard them as a list by another name. I have several groups which any passing stranger can invite themselves to join and I can make new Facebook friends based around our shared interests of entrepreneurship and making money. And I have a Secret Group for each of my coaching/mentoring projects, Small Business Big Magic and Club 100. It is important to have an Admin in each group in case you ever do anything to offend Facebook and cannot use the platform for any period of time.
- Private Messaging. Increasingly I notice that this is the preferred way of contacting me from my clients and colleagues. To begin with I didn’t like it, but I am growing used to it and you’d be mad not to allow yourself to be led by your clients.
- Advertising. My forays into this have been minimal so far but my podcast partner, Nicola Cairncross, talks about this most weeks on Own It! The Podcast so if you are interested in finding out more about Facebook advertising, tune in.
For me, Facebook is all about engagement which means spending plenty of time online connecting with everyone pretty much in real time when I can, around my other business commitments. I easily remember that my profile is my own real estate so I delete with impunity any message I don’t want to allow to rain on my parade, ditto friends and followers. I keep the negativity out of my life and off my Facebook profile and page and groups. When it comes to engagement, I recommend Engagement from Scratch by Danny Iny.
My personal profile is https://www.facebook.com/judith.morgan1 – do ask to be a Facebook friend. I accept all comers except those strange single men in army uniform with no friends at all except other women of a certain age and even then only one or two of them. Non merci.
My business page is https://www.facebook.com/TheSmallBusinessOracle – do please Like and share and engage with my content so you’ll see more of it and invite me to do the same with your page.
And here are a couple of groups you might be interested to join. All you have to do is ask and I’ll see you inside.
And finally, to make peace with Facebook do remember now and again to GTFOF especially when you should be focusing on achieving something for your business. Put your FB activities in one of two boxes – personal time (out of office hours) and marketing time (during office hours) and you won’t go far wrong. Mixing the two is a slippery slope of procrastination down into a dark, dark hole of oblivion from which you may need an intervention to get back a healthy balance with your digital gadget of choice.
For Christmas this and every year I wish you a Digital Detox. Be with those you love, not multi-tasking with your online “friends” who will still be there waiting to reconnect with you in January.
Recommended Reading: The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart.