Larry BraunerI stated in How to Benefit from the New Facebook Groups that “you don’t need to lead a group in order to benefit from it.” In other words, there is value in joining other people’s Facebook groups. That value can be enormous, as I’ll explain.

Facebook Group Members Become Followers

FacebookEvery new Facebook group has members who follow that group and all of its conversations by means of the Facebook notification system. Not every member will monitor or engage in discussions, but some will. Therefore, each time you become a member of one of the new Facebook groups, you acquire potential new followers.

For each subject that interests you, join as many relevant new Facebook groups as you can find using the Facebook search function. Once you’ve joined the group and can browse its discussions, if you find that they’re in a language you don’t understand, or that the group is overrun by spammers, leave the group.

Examine the list of new Facebook groups to which I belong. You’ll find that they fall into a many categories, and that most categories contain more than one group. I suggest that you follow a similar approach, and if you wish to join some of the same groups as I, don’t hesitate.

Here are three very important points:

  1. Don’t use the new Facebook groups merely to push out your own content, since that’s spam. Group members will see through your approach and ignore you. Not only that, the group moderator might even reprimand you or expel you from the group.
  2. Share content with each Facebook group that’s relevant to that group. Group members will appreciate you, enjoy your participation and become genuine followers.
  3. Don’t just post. “Like” other people’s posts too and comment on them when appropriate.

As I browse the web, I keep my eyes open for content worth sharing. I then share it in a variety of places including the relevant  new Facebook groups to which I belong. When the time comes to share my own content, I follow the exact same procedure, but because I’ve played fair, my posts aren’t viewed at all as spam. Consequently, I receive lots of traffic from Facebook and other social websites.

Go now and acquire some Facebook followers. The relationships you build in the new Facebook groups can easily grow into meaningful social or business friendships.

Before you go, however, please do subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerA Facebook friend recently asked about accepting friend requests on social networking sites, and I promised to discuss the matter. There is no single correct approach. However, by contrasting Facebook and LinkedIn, I hope to present and clarify a few of the issues.

Accepting Friends on Facebook

FacebookFacebook is a social website intended primarily for social networking. Regarding accepting friends on Facebook, whether using Facebook for business networking or social networking, the best approach is clearly to be selective,  because of both privacy concerns and the 5,000 Facebook friend limit.

Should you unwittingly accept a con artist as a friend on Facebook, you’ll give that person greater access to your personal information and the personal information of your friends. If somebody who invites you to become a friend appears suspicious, reject the offer and indicate to Facebook that you don’t know the person.

You also need to be selective, because Facebook friends are limited. I myself accept all requests that are plausible, but I continually unfriend people for one of the following reasons:

  • They spam me or annoy me.
  • Facebook tells me that it’s their birthday, and when I visit their profile pages, I have no idea who they are. In other words, I can’t remember them ever having any interaction with me.

In this manner, I fine tune my friend list, so that when I do reach 5,000 Facebook friends, most of those connections will have real social networking or business networking value to me.

Accepting Friends on LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn is a social website intended exclusively for business networking. Regarding accepting friends on LinkedIn, there are two contrastingly different approaches that have gained acceptance within the LinkedIn community. You are free to choose either approach, but, once you do, you need to follow your chosen approach consistently.

  1. Closed Networking Approach - You connect on LinkedIn only with people you know or whom your respected contacts introduce to you. LinkedIn recommends and approves of this approach, as it allows you to build a trusted business network.
  2. Open Networking Approach - You connect on LinkedIn with as many people as possible, since your objective is maximize your reach and visibility on the business networking site. You may occasionally need to remove people who abuse the connection with you. This is the approach I myself have adopted, and you may feel free to invite me. My LinkedIn email is in my LinkedIn profile.

Comments and questions are welcome. Please subscribe and “like” my Facebook page.

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Larry BraunerIn New Facebook Groups for Better or Worse, I shared my reservations about the new Facebook groups and their potential to annoy Facebook users.

However, after ample testing and observation, I’m no longer worried about negative effects and have come to view the new Facebook groups as a viable business networking and content syndication tool.

The  on-site and email notifications generated by the new Facebook groups can become irritating, but it’s from these in-your-face notifications that the new groups derive their power. They tend to stimulate member activity. On the other hand, the notifications from the old groups had come to be viewed as total spam and were no longer the least bit effective.

Customize Your New Facebook Group Notifications

FacebookThe customizable settings of the new Facebook groups help regulate the volume of notifications, add once you learn how to manage them, the new Facebook groups become beneficial and enjoyable.

New Facebook groups provide four notification settings that you can adjust:

  1. Notify me when - “A member posts or comments” or “a member posts” are good settings for your favorite Facebook groups or groups you moderate. For other groups, you should choose “a friend posts” or “only posts I am subscribed to.” (I myself prefer the latter option, “only posts I am subscribed to.”)
  2. Also send an email to - Unless you’re off Facebook a lot, you probably should uncheck this box.
  3. Show this group in home navigation - This setting isn’t as critical as the others, since it doesn’t affect notifications. I myself set my favorite Facebook groups to “Always” and the rest of the groups to “Never.”  
  4. Send me group chat messages - Unless you enjoy group chatting or you moderate that group, you should uncheck this box.

You Need Not Start Your Own Facebook Groups

Starting your own Facebook groups affords you some control but less than you might think. True, you make up the group rules, and while you can remove any member you wish, nobody can remove you. Nevertheless, abuse your group by spamming or otherwise, and your members will ignore your group or quit entirely.

For this reason, control of your Facebook group is illusory. Groups can be led but not controlled, and you don’t need to own or moderate a group in order to lead it. Furthermore, you don’t need to lead a group in order to benefit from it and enjoy it.

Why Start New Facebook Groups of Your Own

Here are a few valid reasons for starting your own Facebook groups:

  • Necessity - You’re unable to find any new Facebook groups that fit your particular niche.
  • Collaboration - You want to collaborate on a project with your Facebook friends or associates.
  • Segmentation - Your Facebook friends share diverse interests with you. Segmenting your friends using groups will let you explore special interests together.
  • Promotion - New Facebook groups can be used judiciously to supplement Facebook fan pages.

When you start a new Facebook group, keep the best interests of your membership in mind. Reciprocity makes the networking world go around. Be prepared to give, not just to get.

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Comments are welcome — of course. :-)

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Larry BraunerYou are using your Facebook personal profile for business despite 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook and despite advice dispensed in ONE Facebook Business Page, No More, No Fewer.

Alternatively, you’re preparing to convert your Facebook personal profile using the new Facebook personal profile to Facebook business page migration tool.

FacebookIn either case, you’d benefit from acquiring additional Facebook friends who share an interest in your business niche. Here are 10 tips that will help you add Facebook business friends:

  1. Choosing Facebook Friends Wisely - Don’t invite random people. It’s a waste of time and a waste of your 5,000 Facebook friend quota.
  2. Staying out of Trouble - Don’t send invitations in rapid succession or invite people whose privacy settings are very restrictive. If there’s no message button, not much information or wall posts showing, or if Facebook questions whether you really know the person, move on.
  3. Introducing Yourself - Include a short message, such as “Hi. I’m a ballooning enthusiast and author of the book, “Avoiding Deflation.”
  4. People You Know in Real Life - Ask your business colleagues if they’re on Facebook or search for them.
  5. LinkedIn Connections - Do the same with LinkedIn networking connections who share an interest in your business niche.
  6. Twitter Profiles - Search Twitter accounts for interesting people. Then check whether they’re on Facebook. Start your conversations in 140 characters and then transfer them to Facebook.
  7. Facebook Research - Facebook groups, pages,your Home page, etc., are all places to find lots of potential friends.
  8. Friend Suggestions - Here’s the best part of all: If you add friends carefully,  Facebook will reward you by recommending favorable choices for friends.
  9. Engage Your Facebook Friends - Engage your Facebook friends in conversations, and you’ll get to know those of their friends who join in.
  10. Don’t Be Afraid to Unfriend - If for any reason you’re questioning why someone is your Facebook friend, the Unfriend link on his or her profile is waiting impatiently for you to click on it. (If you do that to me, however, I won’t ever forgive you.)

I recently added many devoted watch enthusiasts and industry insiders to my roster of Facebook business friends using these ideas.

Don’t hesitate leave a comment — and if you’re new to my blog, I invite you to subscribe and like my Facebook page.

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Larry BraunerThere are the old Facebook groups, and there are also the new Facebook groups that will very soon supersede the old.

I wrote several articles last summer about the old Facebook groups:

Since the content of old Facebook groups is not syndicated to news feeds, members only become aware of new content through an intrusive group broadcast or by randomly visiting the group.  Unfortunately, I became increasingly disenchanted with old Facebook groups because of too little engagement and interactivity.

New Facebook Groups Wreak Havoc

FacebookAlong came new Facebook groups, and I quickly seized the opportunity to try them out. Before long, I wrote about my experience with the new groups in New Facebook Groups Wreak Havoc:

“By default, a member is notified every time another member posts. If the new Facebook group is large, members will be bombarded with unwanted email notifications and chat window popups. The engagement problem is solved, but a new notification problem is created.

“Users who are bothered by the quantity of email notifications can change their notification setting to “only posts I am subscribed to” and reduce or eliminate the notification problem — once they figure out how to do so.

“However, there’s a bigger problem not yet mentioned: One can be added by Facebook friends to new Facebook groups without pre-approval. Therefore, before one knows what’s happening, and before one can leave the group or change one’s notification setting, emails start flowing into his or her inbox, seemingly out of nowhere.”

With the new Facebook groups, the pendulum had swung in the opposite direction. The potential for unwanted notifications and spam alarmed me. Facebook had created a virtual monster.

New Facebook Groups Superseding the Old

Perhaps the havoc has subsided or there was less of it than I imagined, for Facebook has decided to phase out the old Facebook groups and to phase in the new. They’ve done a little tweaking to the groups but not much. All I can advise, therefore, is to use the new Facebook groups with caution. I hope Facebook’s initiative will be successful.

Check out Facebook Groups – a complete Guide. If used effectively, the new Facebook groups can be a great tool for networking and collaboration. I plan to use the new form of groups primarily for business networking.

My New Facebook Groups

I invite you to join me in any of my new Facebook groups that interest you. Simply join a group and wait for your membership to be approved. These are my seven new Facebook groups:

  1. Larry Brauner (My Personal Group)
  2. Fabulous Baby Boomers
  3. Social Media Enthusiasts
  4. Enterprising Business Leaders
  5. Rockland County, New York
  6. Watch Enthusiasts
  7. Stumblers (StumbleUpon Group)

Want to invite readers to join your new Facebook groups? The floor is now yours. Go ahead and leave a comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerI’m not at all thinking about quitting Twitter or stopping to recommend it. Twitter is a valuable social media tool that I wouldn’t want to be without.

There are, however, many reasons I prefer Facebook over Twitter, and have switched my primary social media site from Twitter to Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

Here are 16 reasons I like Facebook more than I like Twitter:

  1. Easier for Group Discussion - Facebook discussions and neatly threaded and hashtags are unnecessary.
  2. Rich Functionality - Facebook supports applications, events and instant messaging. Facebook also enables photo, video, link, page and event sharing.
  3. More Powerful Lists - Create as many Facebook lists as you like and use them to manage both communication and privacy.
  4. Better Private Messaging - No automated direct messaging on Facebook. Therefore, your private messages and updates are more manageable.
  5. Less Spam Abuse - Facebook fights spam more effectively than Twitter.
  6. News Feed Optimized for Relevance - Facebook uses edgerank to prioritize our Top News feeds. Optionally, we can choose to view Twitter-like Most Recent News, as well.
  7. True Networking Site - We can create deep online connections with our friends, and we also discover friends-of-friends. Facebook messaging  is a good alternative to email, too.
  8. Website Traffic - In 2009 when I focused on Twitter, I  received 7,834 visits from Twitter with average time on site of 2:10 minutes. Not bad. However, in 2010 when I turned my focus to Facebook, I received 5,134 visits with average time on site of 3:07 minutes and a larger number of blog comments. Facebook visitors tend to engage more than do Twitter visitors. That’s better website traffic.
  9. Less Incentivization - Twitter has become very much about follower counts. People typically follow with the expectation of being followed back and unfollow if that doesn’t happen. Fans and friends on Facebook are much more authentic.
  10. Real People - Facebook is mostly used by real people, while Twitter is mostly operated by robotic software called bots.
  11. No 140 Limit - Facebook allows more than 140 characters per status update,  more than a 160 per bio, and more than one website link per account.
  12. Much Greater Membership - I’m more able to find the people with whom I want to connect on Facebook than on Twitter.
  13. Members Visit More Often - Facebook members are said to log into Facebook more often than Twitter members into Twitter.
  14. Easily Manage Multiple Business Accounts - I can manage multiple Facebook business pages without logging out and back in, and without using third-party desktop clients.
  15. Business Pages are Mini-Websites - Facebook business pages are mini-websites with a landing page and additional pages.
  16. Off-site Integration - Like buttons and like boxes extend the reach of Facebook to blogs and other websites outside the Facebook domain.

FacebookI could list many ways in which I find Twitter more useful than Facebook, but I’ll save that comparison for a different occasion.

Please take a second or two to “like” my Facebook page, and a few more to leave a a brief comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerAt times, Facebook users create multiple personal profiles for business purposes in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service that clearly state:

“You will not create more than one personal profile.”

These Facebook users usually create one personal profile for family, friends and acquaintances, and another personal profile for business associates and prospects.

The word personal in “personal profile” is easily misunderstood and deserves clarification.

Personal Profile vs. Business Page

FacebookWith a Facebook “personal profile” you network and acquire friends. It doesn’t matter whether these friends are personal friends or business contacts.

A Facebook personal profile is a friend page, and Facebook prohibits creating more than one friend page for yourself.

With a Facebook business page you brand your business and attract people who “like” your page.

A Facebook business page is a fan page, and Facebook permits creating more than one fan page for your business, although that might not be practical.

If You Have More Than One Facebook Personal Profile

If you find yourself in the predicament of having more than one Facebook personal profile, my recommendation here in six steps is very similar to my advice in last week’s OMG! I Can’t Use My Facebook Personal Profile for Business:

  1. Create a Facebook business page as soon as possible. Either How to Create a Facebook Fan Page or How To Set Up a Facebook Fan Page can help you to get started. Let me know if you need my help.
  2. If you have no more than a few hundred business friends on the Facebook personal profile you’re using for business, send each of them a private message explaining your situation and inviting them to “like” your new Facebook page. If you have too many business friends for this to be feasible, limit the procedure to your most important business friends.
  3. To avoid raising red flags with Facebook, don’t send more than 20 to 30 messages per day, don’t fire off messages rapidly and don’t merely cut and paste an identical script.
  4. Don’t say or imply that you’ll be deleting friends or threaten to remove them if they don’t comply. Such an approach is likely to backfire. Be courteous and professional.
  5. Read Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page? and Top 10 Ways to Get Facebook Page Fans for ideas to market and grow your new Facebook page.
  6. When most of your business friends have migrated to your new fan page, delete the extra Facebook personal profile you were using for business and breathe a sigh of relief.

6/14/11 Update: Facebook now provides a tool to convert a Facebook profile to a Facebook business page.

Before you hurry off, please subscribe to my blog, “like” my Facebook page and leave me a comment.

Best of luck with your Facebook business page! :-)

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Larry BraunerIn my 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook and ONE Facebook Business Page, No More, No Fewer, I strongly advised not to use your Facebook personal profile for your business, advice that was echoed in Top 5 Things Not to Do on Facebook on HubSpot.

Feedback from some very concerned small business marketers using their Facebook profiles for their businesses led to this follow-up article to address their concerns.

FacebookSome have a Facebook personal profile for personal use and one or more Facebook personal profiles for business use, in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, which state that “you will not create more than one personal profile.”

I shall discuss this situation next week in You Say I Can’t Have More than One Facebook Personal Profile.

Tips for Businesses Using Facebook Personal Profiles

If you’re employing one Facebook profile page for both personal and business use (or for business use only), I offer you these eight tips:

  1. Don’t panic. For most users, the choice of how to market yourself and your business on Facebook isn’t really a life or death matter. (For the small minority of Facebook business users for whom this choice is a life or death matter, your panic is understandable. Seek professional or law enforcement assistance without further delay.)
  2. If you’re comfortable enough with the many limitations I set forth in ONE Facebook Business Page, No More, No Fewer, stop reading these tips right here and continue to do as you’ve been doing up until now. If and when you see the light, return here and keep reading.
  3. Create a Facebook business page. Either How to Create a Facebook Fan Page or How To Set Up a Facebook Fan Page can help you to get started.
  4. If you have no more than a few hundred business friends on your Facebook personal profile, send each a private message explaining the situation and inviting them to “like” your new Facebook page. If you have too many business friends for this to be feasible, limit the procedure to your most important business friends.
  5. To avoid raising red flags with Facebook, don’t send more than about 20 messages per day, don’t fire off messages rapidly and don’t merely cut and paste an identical script.
  6. Don’t say or imply that you’ll be deleting friends or threaten to remove them if they don’t comply. Such an approach is likely to backfire.
  7. Read Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page? and Top 10 Ways to Get Facebook Page Fans for ideas to market and grow your new Facebook page.
  8. Don’t remove business friends from your Facebook personal profile unless you have a security or privacy issue that compels you to do so, since removing friends can not be undone.

Please subscribe and leave me a comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerGenerally speaking, a business entity on Facebook needs a Facebook business page, one Facebook business page, no more, no fewer.

Many businesses are trying to reach out on Facebook using only a Facebook personal profile and no Facebook business page, while at the same time, many other businesses are trying to cultivate multiple Facebook business pages. Let’s consider both of these strategies to understand why either is problematic.

No Facebook Business Page

FacebookI presented several reasons for not using a Facebook personal profile in the place of a Facebook business page in 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook.

Here are 10 reasons to use a Facebook business page for business instead of a Facebook personal profile:

  1. Facebook members who wish to follow your business will typically feel less comfortable adding you as friend and opening their private lives to you than merely connecting with your Facebook business page by “liking” it.
  2. In addition, Facebook has created barriers to adding strangers as friends, as I explained in 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.
  3. Mixing business and pleasure on Facebook personal profiles is often complicated.
  4. Because of these limitations, Facebook personal profiles will not grow virally, but Facebook business pages might.
  5. Facebook personal profile friends are limited to 5,000, but there is no limit on the number of Facebook business page fans.
  6. Facebook business-page content can be indexed by the search engines, but Facebook personal-profile content cannot. Facebook business pages can make use of search engines and SEO.
  7. There can be multiple Facebook business page administrators, and their identities will be shielded from visitors and fans. This feature offers Facebook business page administrators flexibility and some degree of privacy.
  8. Facebook business pages support applications and tabs. Personal page application tabs have gone away.
  9. Facebook business page administrators can send updates to fans. Some, not all, of the fans will actually read them, but this feature still has value.
  10. Facebook business pages come equipped by Facebook with a set of analytic tools called Facebook Insights.

Multiple Facebook Business Pages

Want more than one Facebook business page for your business? Build and grow your first Facebook business page successfully. Then, if you still want, we can discuss having multiple Facebook business pages together. ;-)

Now please, “like” my Facebook business page, subscribe to my blog and leave me a comment.

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Larry Brauner3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011 discussed the decline of open networking on Facebook, the revival of Ning networks and the continued relevance of websites and SEO in building your web presence.

Here are several more social media marketing ideas for the new year that can be especially helpful for small business marketers and entrepreneurs.

Bigger Long-Term SEO Objectives

GoogleOne of the most serious social media and web marketing mistakes I’ve ever made was choosing Online Social Networking as the name of this blog.

I considered naming my blog Social Networking Sites but decided not to, because social networking sites seemed too competitive a keyword phrase for the newbie that I was. Online social networking is searched for 12K times monthly compared to 250K for social networking sites. 12K per month seemed like more than enough traffic to me at that time.

Online social networking was a “reasonable” keyword term. Since it was much less popular than the often searched-for term social networking sites, I hoped to rank for it relatively quickly. However, in the long run, I believe that social networking sites would’ve brought me both greater and more profitable traffic.

My blog probably wouldn’t have yet hit the #1 spot in the search engines for the search term social networking sites as it has already for online social networking, but it would’ve ranked much higher for social networking sites than the present #32 and might have still placed close to the top for online social networking.

I should have considered long term potential and selected more ambitious keywords, just as I have for Gevril, for whom I’ve chosen tough keyword phrases, such as luxury watches and mens watches.

In month one, Gevril Group received 150 search visits. I’ll let you know what happens in month two.

Ning Network Groups

Ning Social NetworksNing groups function like Facebook groups with a few welcome exceptions:

  • Your potential emailing list is unlimited. You can broadcast to Ning group members even after their count exceeds 5,000.
  • The content of your Ning group can be indexed by Google and other search engines, and the greater your group membership, the greater your authority with the search engines will tend to be.
  • Group activity is displayed in your Ning network’s activity feed and transmitted to Ning group members who elect to follow you.

I’m ready and able to assist any group owner on my new Small Business Network who’s dedicated to building a large and influential Ning group, and the group need not necessarily be business-oriented.

Connecting One-to-One

SkypeYour personal network will be strong and prosper if you focus on networking one-to-one. Speak on the phone or over Skype even one time to each person, and you’ll surely build solid online relationships.

If you’re growing a Facebook page, a Ning group or a Twitter account, individually adding one-to-one connections can amount to a large number over time — and perhaps these connections will even help you make many more.

Hope you’ll find these social media and web marketing strategies useful.

Wishing you a successful year. :-)

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