When someone says professional networking, the first platform that comes to mind is usually LinkedIn. But narrowing your networking possibilities to just one site isn’t exactly maximizing your reach, is it? What if we told you that networking on Facebook—yeap, the social network even your parents are on—is possible? You’re probably gasping in incredulity right now.
Facebook has over two billion active users today – that’s more than a quarter of the world’s population! So if you’re going to expand your professional network, Facebook might be a good platform to utilize. We know Facebook is usually used for your daily animal videos, keeping up with your friends’ lives and memes, so turning it into a networking hub might be a little tricky. As such, we’ve come up with a step by step guide to lead you through the murky waters of networking on Facebook.
Five steps to fantastic Facebook networking
Separate work from play when networking on Facebook
Of course, you’ve been using Facebook all this while for social networking, so it’s going to be a little difficult to untangle your friends from your professional network. Lucky for all of us, Facebook is able to split your work colleagues and friends! Simply go to your friends’ list and click ‘create new list’. Label this friends list ‘Professional’ or ‘Business’. After that’s done, go through your friends’ list and add colleagues, or professional networks to that list. For subsequent friends you make online, you’ll be able to quickly sort them into different lists!
Adjust privacy settings
Now this step is important. We’re all guilty of stalking people’s profiles, whether it’s our friends, colleagues, or potential professional connections. Social media is such a public space, we don’t think you’d want your five corny memes a day to be blasted to your professional network.
We recommend heading over to your privacy settings page to segment portions of your profile. On this page, you’ll be able to restrict viewing on certain portions of your profile such as pictures. By customise settings to ‘accept these people’, your personal friends will still be able to see your photos. It’s perfectly alright to switch up your privacy settings according to your desires, there aren’t any set rules to abide by in the professional networking world.
Moreover, you might also want to turn off photo tagging. This way, you’ll be able to prevent spam messages, embarrassing photos from a night out or even personal attacks. Untagging yourself from incriminating photos will also help to boost your rep as a serious professional.
Join a few Facebook groups
There are tons of Facebook groups out there, so how do you which one to join? Think about your interests. They don’t necessarily have to be work related There are four parts of a facebook group you might want to look out for: Recent News, Member Listings, Discussion Board and Wall Postings. Hit up the recent news and wall postings to find out what’s new in the group and the latest topics. The group’s discussion board is where members are allowed to engage in a discussion, so do check out the vibe of the group before joining!
Once you’ve joined, stay active! One way you can do this is by setting a schedule for frequent check ins. Introduce yourself to everyone on the group’s wall and state your interests before diving right in. Remember to add links to interesting events, blog posts and videos. And also, remember to add your newfound contacts into as friends!
Promote your professional brand
Other than connecting with others, Facebook is also a good platform for you to build your personal brand. The best way to create your personal brand is through the ole’ tool: status updates. Adopting a certain tone for your status updates can tell your friends and connections the kind of person you are—or the person you present. Work on this by developing a posting schedule, for example every start and end of the day (when people use social networks the most).
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions on certain issues! Share about your current projects, pen your thoughts in a cool blogpost or invite your friends to have an online debate .Initiating these activities will not only help you to engage with people you already know, but also opens up opportunities for new connections to get to know you on a deeper level.
Another cool tip is using visuals. Show off your personality by posting, or uploading suitable pictures, articles and videos in Facebook. People are most seduced by interesting visual content, so play that to your advantage.
Lastly, personalise your own vanity URL. This unique domain should be instantly recognisable as your own. For example, if you’re using the Facebook email address, your vanity URL would be ‘email@example.com’. If you’re simply using your account, it’ll be ‘www.facebook.com/xxxxx’. Your vanity URL would be good to share with those you meet in real life, making your account more accessible.
Create cool events
When trying to broaden your network, try taking your new online connections offline as well. One of the coolest functions on Facebook is Facebook events. This is one of the best platforms to promote industry events, or open networking events to your peers and colleagues. By inviting your new peers and colleagues for these events, it’ll give you a chance to connect with them in real-life, boosting the network between the both of you.
In addition, you could also organise such events yourself! Networking on Facebook doesn’t have to be limited to online. Say you’re really passionate about a certain topic, or would like to organise your own meetup over coffee with a certain facebook group. Engaging with these individuals through frequent events and meetups not only keeps the discussion only alive, but adds fuel to the personal connections within the group.
Once you’ve posted the event, be sure to frequently update the post to entice new attendees! By organising such events, you’ll not only be able to promote your personal brand, but also enhance your street cred within the community.
Face your fears when networking on Facebook
With these five basic rules, you’ll be one step closer to being an online networking superhero! Networking on Facebook has never been easier. Our final tip is to not skip the small stuff. This includes getting a good profile photo, and linking all your other accounts to your Facebook! Treat your facebook like a hub, it’ll connect you to all parts of the interweb. Building a strong online profile and network won’t happen overnight, but with a little push every day, you might see a magnificent growth in a jiffy!
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