The Business Networking Mistake Everyone Is Making On Facebook

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:

  1. They request my friendship…
  2. They don’t message me to say why they thought this was a good idea.
  3. 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.
  4. Most of them don’t have any work or education info visible to the public.
  5. Many don’t have much of anything visible to the public.
  6. 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:

  1. Click on the lock icon in the upper right
  2. Click on “Who can see my stuff?”
  3. 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:

  • Work history
  • Education
  • 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:

  • Sports
  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Books
  • 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.

And network away!