How To Use A Facebook Personal Page For Your Business

I know all the experts, gurus, and Social Media Ninja's are going crazy over the headline of this post. I can hear them yelling at me and I'm sitting in a quit room writing this.

Haven't we yet learned that all the definitive statements about Social Media are wrong? The only reason people write rules is so they can be expertly teaching their rules and by creating a wrong way to do something they create a need for there to be a right way to teach it.

Just my two cents.

Anyway, lately I've been seeing experts, gurus and ninjas spouting off that personal pages shouldn't be used for businesses. The only real reason I've discerned from watching the videos, reading the blog posts, and articles is that facebook has a right to shut down your page because it's in violation of the rules of facebook.

Okay folks there are over 400 million users on facebook. It is not an easy task to search all those pages to determine if they are people or businesses. And there are sites out there that will back up your facebook page. ArchiveFacebook is a free service to back up your facebook page including friend list, photos, lists and more. SocialSafe has a small fee and call's itself the facebook backup tool and also saves friend lists, photos and more.

So if your biggest argument against a personal page for your business is I might get shut down here are some ways to preserve your data.

Now I don't believe EVERY business should have a personal page only certain types of pages may need the interactive qualities that a personal page has to offer. If facebook would give more usability to the fan pages (should I really be calling them "Like" pages?) then there would not be a need for companies to break the rules and create business pages on personal accounts. So while this might be a longer blog post than usual, I'm going to give you three real life scenarios of businesses that are successfully using personal pages for their businesses and why they need to do it this way.

Just in the interest of not giving facebook a heads up to shut down these pages I will not name the companies but I'll give you some background.

Case One:
The first, is the most ingenious. This is a new home site that has a fan page, but also has a personal page. Some might say redundant but think about it. A new home site agent may not always be the agent in that community over the course of the build. If that individual takes the time to friend all the people who walk in the door, or buy a house, when that agent goes, that database goes. And there are several reasons why you want the administrator of your fan page to be friends with your prospects and customers.

  • Once they friend people they can suggest the fan page you can't go up to people you don't know and suggest a fan page
  • Once they friend people they can tag them in posts whether they fan the page or not and it shows up in their streams you can not tag people in fan page posts unless an administrator is friends with them. You cannot even tag people who "like" the page
  • In the case of new homes you can post pictures of the progress of their home and it shows up in their feed and their friends see it as well
  • Once you move on, that personal page belongs to the builder and not the individual and so do all the contacts
It's all well and good to meet people who walk through the door on your site and tell them to fan a page, but many people when they walk out the door, frankly are not proactive. If you want to engage them you've got to go out and find them! You know they are your target group. But fan pages don't let you go out and find your prospects, they wait passively by for people to find you. You can drive your traffic there through many means but just as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them click the like button, but what if you write them a nice thank you note...through facebook.

Send them a nice thank you note through facebook in the form of a friend request.

Thank you so much for your visit today Mr. Buyer, I'd love to be able to show you and your friends the progress of your house through our facebook business page, I'll be able to tag you in the posts that pertain to you if you first accept my friend request and then become a fan of the page. Won't it be fun to share this experience with your family and friends on facebook!

Same goes for an A or B prospect.

Thank you so much for your visit today Mr. Prospect. I could tell from your reaction to our community today that it may be near the top of your list during your search. I'd love you to be able to be kept up to date on all the new building going on, as well as any special and handy information. We post it all on our fan page, please accept my friend request and then become a fan of the page and if any home sites or styles come up that I know you'll be interested in, I'll tag you in the post so you can check out the floor plan. How does that sound?

Odds are that is the most directed way you are going to get them to fan your page and they will have a much harder time saying no to something like that. Especially the buyer.

One site agent has found much success this way. She didn't want every prospect and client on her personal page. Yes, yes I know you can filter out who get's what. But it was easier for her, and for the builder if they all are in a separate account.

Not everyone needs their client base to know them intimately on facebook.

What she is NOT doing is going out fishing for people to friend. You know those annoying people that see you are friends with 50 people they know so they send you a request even though they don't know you because they are "building" their business online. I understand why that is annoying and why people say I don't want to friend businesses.

Case 2:
A start up with a national focus wants people who offer services to join their network so that their customers can post reviews, and prospects can find services based on those honest client reviews. (A new alternative to Angie's list) They need to get the word out to influencers who's followers may like the service but doesn't know it exists.

This business creates a personal page so that they can interact with influential bloggers on facebook and other business pages. The goal isn't to get anyone to friend them, but to interact with other fan pages.

This is active listening as well as interacting with other businesses.

You can't do that fan page to fan page, you can only do it on a personal level. By following the fan pages, the company can follow the conversations and see how it may relate to their product. When appropriate they work on engagement with in those pages.
  • You may be asking yourself, well why don't they just fan these pages in their personal account? Account managers for Social Media can change
  • Many People who manage multiple accounts don't want their personal facebook stream to be all about business
  • When the brand interacts with the fan pages the brand becomes more identifiable. It's business to business interaction.
These are simply things you can't do with in a fan page itself, they are not interactive.

Case 3:
A local business focused on promoting entertainment and events creates a fan page after years of having a personal page. The whole premise of the business is inviting people to the events and giving them follow up information on what, when, where, and why. People who fan the page are interested in events, or they wouldn't have bothered to fan it.

When you create an event through a personal page, you can communicate with the people who have RSVP'd, the people who are Maybe's and the People who don't want to come, even if you are not friends with them. As long as they were invited you can communicate.

From a fan page, this is not the case. When you create the event through your business page, you do not have the same interactive quality that you have with the would-be participants that have been invited by someone to the event.

This can be a problem if:
  • You need to cancel the event
  • You want to amend the event with important information
  • You want to remind people that the event is coming up
  • You need to direct people who have RSVP'd to please buy tickets from another site

By having a business personal page of the same name as the fan page, then when people get invited from the personal page, it's not Jane Doe who they don't know inviting them, it's the actual business known for putting out information about all the hot events. And they maintain the ability to interact as need be with the people invited to the event.

Again this site isn't actively going out finding people to push their message out to, they are the kind of page that people find and request their friendship. That means they are interested in the services that are offered.

With these three scenarios I think it's easier to see there can be no definitive statements in Social Media. The most recent definitive I've been hearing lately is don't create a personal page for your business. There are reasons why that is not true.

I agree that businesses shouldn't be fishing for my friendship if I have not indicated any association with them whatsoever. But if businesses that I've expressed interest in such as say my favorite jewelry store or something like that, found me on facebook and let me know they were on facebook too and requested my friendship, sure! I'll drool over their merchandise on facebook! Why not.

At this point in time there are so many proactive things you CAN'T do with a facebook fan page so therefore there are reasons to go around the system.

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Social Media: Building Community or Building a Nation

Build your "Nation" one brick at a time.

Take a page from my personal trainer when it comes to building community and Social Media. Sometimes there is an important element missing in many Social Media campaigns. The "Social."

Many people out there using twitter, facebook and the like are not building a nation, much less a community, they are pushing out their message. From time to time I'm sure we are all guilty of informing rather than interacting. There has to be socialization in order to really dig deeper into what the use of Social Media is all about.

Some products, services, and companies are more conducive to a whole community interaction too. GYMRATZZ Inc. is one of those places.

My theory is that Social Media needs to be more than just a cyber interaction. Let me explain.

GYMRATZZ Inc. is a company started by Erin Reilly a personal trainer who also teaches at Gold's Gym in Woodbridge Virginia. She has nearly 700 fans on her fan page and they are all people who are actively engaged. Not just with the fan page, but with the business. Isn't that what you are striving for with Social Media? You don't just want people to sit passively by and read your updates but not use your services.

Not only is her fan page active with comments, tips and comes from the customers! Or as Erin likes to call it, her "RATZZ Nation."

Now Erin is no social media expert and she is not a marketing guru. Yet people gravitate to her nation because she is amazing at what she does. Because of her offline community and her method of training, she creates an online community that interacts as well and their word of mouth and enthusiasm for her nation brings in more business.

How often have you walked into an exercise class and people are there a half hour early at 4:45 am, just so they can socialize? That is Nation building. Because she has built this nation it keeps her Ratzz more dedicated to both her services and themselves. They attend her classes, her boot camps and her personal training sessions. They are getting something positive from her services and they keep coming back. And they talk about it. Word of mouth referrals are what her business is built on. Yet they come quicker when she has the rich interaction going on in her online community.

Her online community is the place where onlookers can begin to engage but then they must come and engage in person in order to benefit from her services. And they do.

The key to any community building, whether it's online or in person is to make sure you know the benefits you offer, and consistently match your message with your actual services.

Don't aim just to build a community, aim to build a nation one brick at a time.

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The Power Of Positive Thinking: How Are You Going To Use It

If you knew you couldn't fail, what is one thing you'd like to do in your life?

The power of positive thinking and positive energy is a real element in the universe. I truly believe this. I've climbed mountains with this energy, I've jumped out of planes with this energy, and sailed around the Caribbean with this energy.

These are just a few of the many achievements I've attained by implementing this method of positive thinking.

One of the things that I've noticed over the years is that there are always those people who want to tell you something can't be done. There are a number of reasons for this. They either believe that because they've taken so long to get somewhere and achieve a similar standing, goal or milestone that it should be the same for everyone. Or their vision is not big enough to encompass the idea of stepping out of comfort zones to achieve greatness.

Have you ever heard that phrase you have to pay your dues? This is true to some degree but did you ever thing that different people have different dues based on the life they've led, the people they know, and the things they can accomplish?

Everyone is on a different path. It's very important to not let other people's limitations become your limitations.

If I had a dollar for every skeptical comment I've gotten from people when I've told them something I'm going to do, I'd be richer in money but poorer for having not accomplished my goals and my dreams. I'm glad I don't listen. Maybe it's stubbornness. Or maybe it's because a long time ago I made a promise to myself that if I decided there was something I wanted to do, I was going to do it.

I never wanted to look back at my life and say I wish I had done.

This energy has taken me around the world to 32 countries and countless islands throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas. I learned to scuba dive and became a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and have taught diving in 6 countries even though a diving death of a relative caused my family to believe it was one of the most dangerous sports in the world. I learned how to sail and posses a 200 ton near coastal United States Coast Guard Captain's license even though the first boat job I ever had was in a galley and the captain thought I'd never amount to anything.

My point is, when I put my mind to doing something I do it. And it's important not to let people who say "you can't" infiltrate your thinking.

So think of all the things you want to do. Then think of all the excuses you've made as to why you can't, think of all the things that people have told you and then throw it all away and get back down to the root of what and why you want to do it.

Here's the hardest part. Now take the leap, invest the positive energy and whatever resources are necessary and do it.

Use positive thought to your advantage and leave the negative thoughts to those who will use it to their own disadvantage.

How are you going to use your positive energy today?

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Grassroots Efforts: Cold Calling Under Rated Along With Other Outbound Marketing

I know, you are all cringing right now. Yuck I hate it when someone calls me unsolicited and asks me to do something, pay something, buy something, or well something!

You hear so much about inbound marketing these days is outbound marketing dead?

Just one aspect of outbound marketing is cold calling. These days it seems that people are not only against cold calls, but they are into scheduling their phone calls as well. It is understandable, In the fast paced world we live in where meetings happen through Skype, Goto Meeting, and conference calls, it's necessary to get all the parties involved to synchronize their schedules and meet up in cyberspace at the same time. But you only do this once you have a relationship and are getting down to business.

Nowadays a big buzz word is inbound marketing. Organically positioning your company so that people looking for your services and products find you.

Inbound marketers tend to slam outbound marketing techniques as antiquated and useless often as New and Social Media people tend to look down their noses at old media. Well I believe there's a place for many different techniques when used properly.

Sometimes there's not always time to put your communities out there and wait for people to come to you and ask about your product. Take a time limited event for instance. Right now in planning the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest I've put my inbound marketing implementations out there. I've got a website, a facebook fan page, an eventbrite site, I've placed the event on 10 different local calendars and believe me this works to get the word out about the event and find attendees.
But what about sponsors?

This is an amazing event, everyone I talk with is getting excited about it, they want to be part of it....but wait, that's the key. Involvement in the process of putting together this grassroots first year event for charity is really word of mouth. The old fashioned way. Cold calling. Just one of many outbound marketing techniques.

As an online sales consultant who's bread and butter comes from targeted emailing, I'm no stranger to outbound marketing though there are inbound techniques interwoven with what I do.

Maybe people are affraid of cold calling because there is actually an art to the cold call. And when done right it can garner results.

When done wrong it stings like the rejection from a fledgling relationship. Kind of like a bee sting that hurts badly at first but fades quickly. It's not like the painful ache of a long term relationships gone awry but still no one likes to get stung.

Here are a few tips I have for cold calling that may or may not be beneficial to you. I've been using this technique a lot as I try to find sponsorships for the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest and so far I've really had only one person be absolutely rude to me on the phone, and I'd say 99% of people are asking me to email them information about the event. Now I'm working on turning over those emails to sponsorships....the hardest part. Ironically the easiest part is the cold call.

Here are some tips and tricks:

1) You've got to love what you are talking about. If you aren't thrilled about it the cold call will not warm up.

2) Pick the right time. Some businesses have an optimum time. For instance don't call a restaurant during their rush. If at all possible try to call them before 10 am.

3) Take breaths. Gauge what the other person is doing on the other end of the line.

4) When at all possible find out the name of the person you need to speak with. They may not know you but if you ask for them by name and then introduce yourself it goes a lot further.

5) Know something about their business before you call. Would they even be interested in what you are selling or talking about?
6)Be pleasant. If you are really cheery and nice, it pulls others into that mode...usually.

7) Don't let a negative response get you down. After all you are calling cold, you have no idea who they are or what is going on in their life. The easiest place for unhappy people to take out their frustrations is on a stranger. Be aware you may be providing that target. No biggie, move on.

8) Take a deep breath and make the next call. The only way you'll achieve your goals is through numbers. Do not give up after 3, 5 or 30 calls. There are a lot of people out in the world who could benefit from what you are offering and it's your job to find that right fit. In this economy it can be especially hard to get companies to part with marketing dollars, consulting dollars, and donations. But it doesn't mean it's impossible.

While cold calls can be daunting, they can be rewarding too. It all depends on how you approach the prospect of calling strangers and asking them to believe in who you are, what you do and the program, product or project you represent.

There is still a place in this world for outbound marketing techniques but over and over again, I believe the key is personal touch.

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Not Created Equally: Find Your Unique Teacher, Coach or Social Media Advisor

Not all business coaches, consultants or social media "experts" are created equally. Much like a personal trainer focuses on the individual, so too do you need to find a business specialist that focuses on your business as if there is no other business out there just like yours.

Recently I started to go back to the gym to take classes with a trainer verses DVD's at home. I just wasn't meeting my goals and it was too easy for me to back out on the workout.

As someone who works from home, it would be easy to take just any class, with any instructor, but one of the reasons I joined this gym was because of the great things I'd heard about Erin Reilly. She's a very motivational personal trainer who owns her own company called GYMRAZZ Inc. and teaches 5 days a week at Golds Gym.

I don't know about you, but my experience with most gym exercise classes I've attended is that the instructors are upbeat perky women with dancey music saying lots of "Great job's" "Your getting it's" "And 4 more's" By the end of the class, they didn't pay much attention to the differences between the people in their class because they are there to do the moves. They give an over all workout for all levels so it's not too hard, and it's not too easy, it's a middle of the road solution for getting people moving for an hour. That should be good enough right? Wrong.

The class I take is at 5:15 am. A Class not many instructors really want to take on. Yet Erin drives about 20 miles from the GYMRAZZ Studio 5 days a week on I95 (never pretty any time of the day) To teach.

There are no "Awesome's" or "4 more's" heard in this class. The first thing you notice when you enter this class is she asks you your name....and she uses it. The second thing you notice is that there's no fluffy morning wake-up music. You quickly learn that if you are wearing pink, you are in trouble. And it's very common to hear, "Twenty push-ups for crying." "Twenty push-ups for talking." What, your complaining to me? Add 10 more!" The other thing you get if you stay more than one or two classes and express a desire to be healthier is her book.

She gives you a book that not only gives you healthy eating tips but allows you to log all the food that you eat (which she looks at every morning and helps you adjust how you are eating) The other thing is that the book tells you about her journey, who she is and why she cares. These are things that sets an instructor apart from the rest. She is an individual and she understands each individual's journey is different.

I tried taking the same class from other instructors. For the most part the movements are the same, I'm doing the same kind of exercise, for the same duration but there is definitely something missing. I don't walk out of the class as energized and ready for my day...somehow I don't feel as prepared. And I certainly don't feel like somebody gave a damn whether I showed up or not.

Just as the instructors were teaching essentially the same moves, there is a huge difference in the impact it had on me and my desire to continue. This can be compared to choosing the right business consultant as well. There are a lot of people out there teaching the same stuff, telling you the same things, and regurgitating most of it right off the internet in the guise of helping your business.

Many newbie consultants, business coaches, and social media experts seem to be doing the same thing. They take the formula and apply it across the board. They don't know the "names" so to speak and they think that as long as they go through the same motions, each business owner will have a positive experience.

It's not that easy. It takes digging deep into each company and finding out what makes them tick in order to fix their particular pain. You can't just say, get on facebook, twitter, linkedIn and start a YouTube channel. What works for one person in their daily workout and eating is different then the next person and so too are marketing solutions for businesses.

I'm not a marketer though I know a few things from life and work experience. But I do know that you can't solve every problem with the same solution. It takes a unique teacher or consultant to make a difference in your business and in you.

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Blue Gypsy Bluesfest: Great Things Are Coming

When I first started planning Blue Gypsy Bluesfest I knew it was a big undertaking. But I also knew it was for a good cause, and in the end it would be a lot of fun.

One of the best parts about owning my own business is deciding how I'm going use my energy and achieve great things.

It was a little over three months ago that I decided I wanted to throw a huge party that would benefit Habitat for Humanity. At first I was hoping to have it at the Norfolk Zoo, but that didn't quite work out as I had hoped and I found an even better location, Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach.

The great thing about this venue and this idea is that it's an event that anyone can come to. It's not a closed real estate party though it started for that group of individuals near and dear to my heart who never really get a day off. It's not just for people who love the Blues. Come play Cornhole and enjoy some kickin' BBQ provided by Mick's Too and Mojo Bones. This is a day of musical fun for individuals, couples, families and friends.

And the best part is that is supports two great charities. Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads and Natchel' Blues Network.

Though I'm planning this event, mostly on my own, I never quite feel that way because with each person and group I talk with they have 3 more contacts or ideas for me to explore. It's amazing the coming together of help and hope that happens with an event like this.

I hope you'll come out and support this great cause while enjoying a day of fun at the same time!

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