Facebook is a time waster, right? Before you say anything, please let me tell you a story.
One night I was just about ready to go to bed and had left my facebook window open (I do that often). I heard the characteristic “plunk” sound it made when someone started a chat with me. I sat down and looked at the message, and it was from an online-only acquaintance who said she might have some business for me. We chatted for a few minutes and closed the deal. We agreed I’d do extensive keyword research and use it to set up a blog for her son, and she wired the money right then, so I could get started.
That deal may seem to have gone down in minutes, but really, it took a lot longer—perhaps the entire time we knew each other. We spent time over the course of several years, interacting on a common-interests forum and later on facebook. She knew a lot about me, and grew to trust me over that time. That, I think, is why she could just hop onto a facebook chat window and, within a few minutes, seal a deal with me for a serious amount of work.
Building trust on facebook for business
If I hadn’t spent that time building that trust, would I have been able to make that sale at all, much less during a short chat session? I doubt it. Facebook was one of the two tools I used to spend that time building that trust. Can it be a timewaster? Sure! It’s also the best business-generator I have, and I have a 75% close rate when I’m interacting with someone in chat, discussing their needs and how I can help them. That story is just one of the stories, and they all went pretty much the same, whether I mentioned my services as a solution to their problems or whether they asked me about them. You can use facebook for your business, too. Trust is created over time, through many interactions. Showing people that you care about them goes a long way toward building that trust.
Finding an expert online
People pop on facebook at all times of the day and night, with questions. Andy Traub says that when a person asks you a question, they see you as the expert on it, as someone who knows the answer, or, at the very least, as someone who knows how to get the answer. Do those questions always lead to sales? Of course not, and I’d never expect them to. In fact, I receive great joy and pleasure just in the asking and answering. I never really come to it with the expectation that “this might lead to something else,” although it often does, I’ve realized, looking back.
What do people ask you about? It might be a clue to what people believe you are an expert in. Posting about those things may help to grow your enterprise. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to use facebook for business. Posting one tidbit a day may be enough for you.
Most of my clients asked me for answers to different questions before they ever expressed interest in my products or services. Some might look at that like they look at people who seek free medical or legal advice. Professionals in those fields frown on that, and some in mine do, too, but I don’t. It’s fun, it’s a way I can give and help people (which is what it’s all about), and yeah, it can lead to sales down the road, because it’s a great way of building trust. Some would say “it can lead to them becoming clients,” but I don’t look at it that way. They already are my clients, in my opinion.
Getting new clients
If someone comes to me with a question, that person just became my client, regardless of whether or not they are paying me then or at any time in the future. I might not be able to serve them to the extent that I can serve a paying client (there are only so many hours in a day, and paying clients do deserve more), but I do what I can, and I love every minute of it. Not all of them will become paying clients, but so far my experience has been that enough of them will. It’s worth every minute, regardless.
So before you decide that something is a time waster just because “everyone” says it is, examine how you use it and what it does in your life. It might be a great investment of your time after all. Only you can determine what is a time-waster for you and what is a business-builder. It’s important to own your brand and have your own platform, but using facebook for business might be a good idea for you, too.
To find me on facebook… Jennifer.Harshman@facebook.com