I get a ton of Facebook friend requests. I already have more than 99,000 public followers and 3,500 friends. There’s a 5,000 friend limit, so I can’t friend everybody, and there are dozens of people from around the world that request my friendship per day. I’ve already written about this in The Biggest Networking Mistake Everyone is Making on Facebook… subsequent to that I did get one personal message explaining why someone wanted to connect with me, but it really didn’t do a great job of explaining why I should connect to them. I didn’t want to be a jerk about it with my answer but I also didn’t want to ignore it, so here was my answer:
Hey I don’t want to ignore your message- I’m going to be completely transparent- the key questions you to answer for somebody like me are:
“What do you want from me?”
“Why do you want my Facebook friendship?”
“What do you have to offer me?”
“Why do you need Facebook friendship to do that?”
So far you told me you’re in social media and inbound marketing which is awesome but there are thousands of people in that- and actually there are probably 50,000-100,000 of them internationally and since I can only have 5,000 facebook friends, I can’t connect with everyone who requests me on Facebook, so to be honest you have to do a better job of standing out and connecting- which is a great marketing lesson and networking lesson- what do you and I have in common and how can you evoke emotions around that in your message? You could use graph search to figure that out- I tell you that so you could apply it to networking with not just me but other influencers too.
It’s much more effective to friend someone on Facebook AFTER interacting with them somehow- in message comments or private messages or on the phone or LinkedIn or some other social network or in person… the absolute best way is when you know you’ve made an emotional connection already- you talked about your kids or pets or you shared a joke or a hobby. Then a Facebook connection makes sense. Sometimes people will connect without that, just on a business basis, but there’s a chance they won’t.
But to be stranger and completely unknown and friend request without a message- you’re going to get ignored. If you do message an influencer, make sure you answer the questions above.
David runs a marketing and training firm dedicated to helping speakers, consultants, and high-fee experts maximize their influence, impact and income.
David’s instant-action marketing advice has been featured and quoted in The New York Times, Investors Business Daily, Sales & Marketing Management, Selling Power, Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur Magazine, and hundreds of media outlets throughout North America. Free marketing resources are online at http://www.doitmarketing.com
I bet you expect me to say it’s talking too much about business on Facebook. No- that’s not the one I have in mind… in fact I see people do that way too much on LinkedIn. They aggressively pitch strangers, and it doesn’t work.
I do think it’s good to network for business on Facebook- with the right people, at the right times.
It’s certainly natural for me to do business networking there. I have more business connections on Facebook than personal ones. I count a lot of those business connections as real friends, too. And we get a lot of clients and some white-labeling work for agencies that way.
Yes, I know… Some people don’t do any business on Facebook. That’s fine.
But if you already do business networking on Twitter and LinkedIn, you should also do it on Facebook.
Facebook makes networking more fun, and it gets you more into people’s real lives. Most people don’t really “live” on Twitter or LinkedIn. They don’t visit it as many times per day. They don’t put as much of their personal life on Twitter or LinkedIn as they do Facebook.
People live on Facebook.
Getting connected with people on Facebook is somewhat like going to their house for dinner. You’re being invited into their personal space.
Most people don’t have more privacy levels in their Facebook than just friends and non-friends. Some people do have an acquaintance level where you still don’t see that much about them. But most people don’t go to that much trouble. That means once you’re in, you’re totally in.
One more thing before I reveal the biggest Facebook networking mistake- I want to differentiate between social media and social networking.
It’s an important distinction I don’t think everyone makes in their minds, but you should:
Social media broadly means sharing media on social platforms. Media is content, which is images, video, etc. Content marketing falls under this umbrella. It scales, but can become fairly impersonal.
Social networking means meeting people and building relationships on social platforms. It doesn’t scale quite as far, but like real-world networking, it’s a powerful source of opportunities. Other people can dramatically improve your career.
So what’s the biggest mistake people make with Facebook networking?
They don’t make enough information about themselves public.
I don’t care how much info you have on LinkedIn. I don’t care if it’s on your website.
If someone wants to get to know you on Facebook, they need to be able to see a good representation of who you are and what you do.
I can’t tell you how many times people have done a poor job of requesting my friendship on Facebook. Here’s what happens:
They request my friendship…
They don’t message me to say why they thought this was a good idea.
I see we have between zero and 250 mutual friends. I decided somewhere along the line just to accept anyone with 50+ mutual friends. But for the rest, I click to see their profile.
Most of them don’t have any work or education info visible to the public.
Many don’t have much of anything visible to the public.
Some don’t have a real face as their profile photo.
So, I have no idea why you want to be friends, and I can’t find anything out about you quickly. You probably don’t realize how little of your Facebook info is public. You want me to Google you? Forget it.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over and over again in online marketing: You want somebody to do something? Make it easy. Make it less work. Make it less clicks. Because every extra step they have to take decreases your chances of success by at least 50%, if not more.
In other words, you’ve made it hard for me to confirm your friendship. So, you don’t have a chance.
I don’t say this to sound exclusive. It’s just an example to show you how NOT to network on Facebook.
First, go look at your public profile and see what non-friends can see.
This is super easy:
Click on the lock icon in the upper right
Click on “Who can see my stuff?”
Click on “View As”
You’ll probably be surprised how little of your information is public. Now look at that and ask yourself, “If I was looking at this person and didn’t know them, would I want to get to know them? Is there enough visible?”
I recommend you make the following public:
Places: Hometown, Current City
And if you want to add some flavor, so people can see if you have common interests and get a sense of who you are, make these public:
Apps & Games
That’s it- then when you request friendship from someone, consider messaging them as well! If it says the message will go to their “Other” folder, chances are they won’t see it. But a lot of times, you can send a message directly to them. Do it.
Me, too! Pleased to meet you. In our favorite way: digitally!
Does social networking make business easier for introverts? It’s made it easier for this introvert.
Growing up I was shy and bullied.
I’m sure one of you just said, “Awwwww.”
I never had those early confidence-building sports experiences. I was short. Even though I was pretty awesome at dodge-ball, I was always picked last.
I was the thoughtful, quiet, little blonde kid. Never smiling. What was there to smile about? Always knew when you were looking at me. Hated eye contact.
Didn’t know what to say when you said hi to me. Feared the worst from my peers because it happened so often.
One time I was riding my bike home from school when some of the cool kids yelled at me to come over. “Cool!” I thought to myself. “They want to hang out with me!” As I got closer, they sprayed shaving cream all over me. I pedaled home, the bespectacled snow-boy. Sponsored by Gillette. Trying to not to cry.
That was a typical school experience. I eventually developed full-blown social anxiety.
Is it any wonder I loved computers?
Here’s some of my nerd cred:
At age 11, I had the first model of Macintosh computer. I created my own font.
I played D&D. I was familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1986. I paid $20.00 for G.I. Joe comic #1.
I was I a Rush fan. I wrote my 11th grade term paper on the band Yes. Like the 40-Year-Old Virgin, I thought Asia was an awesome group.
I didn’t kiss a girl or get my driver’s license until I was 17.
Heck, even at the age of 25, I began to woo my future wife through email. Nerdy and flirty and almost thirty. I was able to be me digitally, long before I was able to be me in person.
“Hi. My name Is Brian, and I’m an Introvert”
I began to overcome my social anxiety by joining Toastmasters at the age of 26. Toastmasters is a support group for public speaking. Its members build you up. You get a mentor. You do 10 basic speeches. You take leadership roles. You run meetings. It brought me out of my shell.
If you’re socially phobic, join Toastmasters. It’s a support group for public speaking. [click to tweet]
But I still didn’t feel like I was showing up to my life. A lack of imagination trapped my personality in my mind and heart.
Until one day, I watched the documentary for a Dane Cook comedy tour.
I thought, “I could do that. I might not be the funniest comedian ever. But I could be better than some of these guys!”
I read 12 books about stand up. I Googled local open mics. But I didn’t go. I wrote for six week. 100 pages of material .Then I realized if I didn’t go public with it soon, I never would.
I started doing stand-up comedy open mics at age 33. Open mics are the Navy Seal Boot Camp of public speaking. If you can survive them, any regular speaking gig becomes a piece of cake. If you get laughs, you have a new weapon in your communications arsenal.
The other lesson in there was:
If you’re an introvert, and want to try something new, read 5 books about it, write 5 pages about it, then do it! [click to tweet]
By the way, only about 90 seconds of my first 100 pages was funny, according to audiences.
How Stand-Up Open Mics Saved My NBC Gig
In June, 2014, I was in Las Vegas to do a keynote for NBC. We rehearsed the introduction and beginning of my speech with the PowerPoint the night before. The next morning they brought me up to much applause, and the PowerPoint promptly didn’t come up.
It was just me onstage staring at 200 TV professionals staring back at me.
I might have stammered or freaked out, but I didn’t. I’d been to boot camp.
I started doing my PG-13 rated stand up jokes. They laughed. I entertained them until the PowerPoint came on. They cheered and we all felt like winners.
It wasn’t just a momentary victory. The audience was on my side and loved me for prevailing over that cataclysm. The meeting planner who’d hired me apologized afterward. I said, “No, you don’t need to apologize. That was awesome!”
It was awesome because I handled it. Stand-up open mics saved my professional life.
How To Sell As An Introvert
But I’m still an introvert. I still produce my most valuable work alone. I sometimes don’t feel completely myself when I’m being social. I’m sure some of you understand that.
Having to be social for more than a couple hours tires me out. “Alone time” recharges me.
I have a small digital marketing agency and I’m the rainmaker. I have to sell. But I’m an introvert.
Most of my life, I felt like a misfit. And doing normal employee-type work was no different. At the average job, I felt like a pretender. Or the rebel high school kid who’s always trying to avoid the principal- in the form of the boss. It wasn’t the right situation for me.
I felt like I would die if I had to do that kind of work forever. I needed my own business to have the freedom in which I would thrive.
I wanted to work freelance. I tried to do that twice and failed. I kept having to get a job because I couldn’t get enough clients.
Then, at my last regular job, I built the inbound marketing department for an agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I finally developed the skills and connections to go out on my own.
In fact, they gently pushed me out with a severance. It was what I needed to launch.
The short version of the story is that it worked.
A review of our new clients over the last three years showed us that most of our business comes from people I’ve met at conferences. And much of that relationship-building begins in social media for me. I use digital tactics to sell our services as much as possible before I talk to anyone on the phone or in person.
I don’t like to “sell myself” in person, so it’s harder to meet new people if they don’t know anything about me. Even when it’s a peer conference I’m speaking at, it’s not as easy for me to mingle until after I’ve spoken.
After I’ve spoken, I feel seen and heard. Then I can mingle with confidence.
I use Twitter and Facebook to make contact and build a connection with people before we meet in person. I set up meetings and dinners ahead of time.
If you’re socially phobic and going to a social function, try to make connections with some of them via social networking first. Then show up. [click to tweet]
I’ve met people via mutual friends on Facebook, messaged with them, then chatted on the phone. The phone chat makes you real to them. It’s a solid start to your relationship. It’s much stronger than computer chats are.
I think this is getting better as the years go by. I’ve solidified my reputation through blogging, writing books, speaking, and networking at conferences. There’s less chance I’ll get anxious and retreat into my shell.
My struggle with this surprises people. That’s a testament to the people and organizations that have helped me.
If you’re an introvert and have to sell, use social networking to connect people who could refer business to you. [click to tweet]
And please, if you have any struggles with this, feel free to reach out to me.