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The art of social media – think of it as a cocktail party for your business
November 12, 2010 | Inga Rundquist

Facebook now has more than 500 million active users. Five hundred million! That’s a 5, with eight zeros behind it.

And that’s not all. Of the 500 million active users, 50 percent log on to Facebook in any given day. And on average, people spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

As a marketer, these stats are pre-tay, pre-tay exciting! Facebook’s stunning growth means that site has become a marketing channel unto itself – one that needs (and deserves) its separate set-up strategies and tactics. After all, while Facebook has the ability to help strengthen your brand and your connection with consumers, it can also have the opposite effect, if handled incorrectly.

To help you connect with your audience on Facebook, we’ve come up with this simple analogy – think of Facebook (and other social media sites) as a cocktail party for your business:

Listen, listen and listen.

Think of the last time you were at a cocktail party. Did you enter the room and immediately declare to everyone "My name is XYZ, you should buy my XYZ products!” We hope not!! Just like at a cocktail party, it takes time to become part of a social media community. Start by listening and getting to know the key players.

Meet people.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were designed to help people connect with other people. Don’t turn it into a venue for you to hawk your products and hard sell people on what you do. This wouldn’t go over well at a cocktail party either, would it? Get to know your friends and followers and take a genuine interest in who they are.

Foster conversation.

We’ve all had the experience with the person at a cocktail party who monopolizes the conversation and only talks about him or herself. The same holds true online. Foster conversation between your friends and followers. Don’t just make it about you and what you’re selling.

Add value.

Participate in, and initiate, conversations not related to your brand, but of interest to the community.

Be genuine.

We all know how uncomfortable and awkward fake conversations at cocktail parties can be. Don’t make the same mistake online. Make sure you don’t just post something to fill the silence – be genuine in your interactions. It’s this type of genuine content that will help drive your marketing.

These types of honest interactions will help you add brick by brick to the friendship castle you and your customers have. And next time you question whether to share information on Facebook, just ask yourself: would I say this at a cocktail party?

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