10 Ways to Use Facebook for Increasing Web Traffic to Your Site

More than 115 million people login to Facebook every month. It is the largest social networking tool and a great place in the web for building your brand and driving traffic to your site. However, if you are not familiar with the viral techniques that work in the Facebook platform, soon you will find your brand tarnished. You can gain quick exposure to your businesses using the techniques discussed in this article.

1. Build a Facebook network. Before you start implementing any of the techniques discussed here, you need to develop a network of Facebook friends. To do that, join a few groups that are related to your business and a few groups that you are passionate about.

Ask people in the groups to add you as their friend. Facebook also has nifty tool that suggest people you would like to know. Send request to these people to add you as their friend. Send a short note explaining why you want to be their friend. If send 20 requests a day, you will have a network of more than 1,000 friends in two months.

2. Update your status every day. Login every day and update your status. Don’t use status messages like “I am sleeping now”, “Just came from work”. These types of status messages are not interesting. Use quotes from famous people about a specific niche, for example love, dedication, work ethics, peace, war, etc. You can also use jokes. Your aim is to draw people’s attention to your messages so that they would click on your profile to know more about you.

3. Wish birthday wishes everyday. Facebook also shows upcoming birthdays of all friends in your network. Every day send birthday wishes to friends whose birthdays are due. Read their profiles to know more about them and write a nice personal message on their walls. Don’t use canned birthday messages for everybody.

When you write on a friend’s wall in Facebook, everybody in the network gets updated news feed. You need to write something that get attention. You may craft a 10 to 20 attention grabbing birthday messages and than personalize them slightly for each friend.

4. Create a business page. Besides your personal page, you should also create a business page. Creating a business page is similar to creating a personal page in Facebook. Design a nice logo and use it for your business page picture.

Next, become a fan of your business page. You can use your business page to launch targeted Facebook ad campaign. Promote your Facebook business page using blogs, blog comments, etc. and ask people to become a fan of your business. Use some promotional materials, like free t-shirts, free eBooks etc as incentives for becoming a fan.

5. Tag promotional photos using friends’ names. Upload all promotional photos to your business page. Some people tag these photos with the names of their most influential friends in the network. Your promotional photos will show up in your friends’ news feeds. Once you setup a network of friends, make a list of friends with high number of friends, preferably more than 1000. Setup your mini network to tag each others names in promotional photos.

6. Change your relationship status regularly if it is possible. One of the least frequent activity in Facebook is changing the relationship. Because people don’t change their relationship frequently, Facebook places a great deal of importance to relationship change and send the news feeds to everybody in your network whenever there is a change in your relationship status.

People have explored this loop hole to attract attention to their profiles. They change their relationship almost weekly and try to attract visitors to their profiles. It is up to you to adopt this technique because it may not reflect your true relationship status. If you do adopt this technique, don’t forget to publish some promotional materials in your personal feed.

7. Attend Multiple Events. True to its college root, Facebook is all about friends gathering at some place for an event. Facebook gives high priority to events in the news feed. Your goal is to RSVP all the events in your network even if you miss a few of them.

When your friends see you as a frequent event attendee, they consider you as an event resource. The trick is to show your name in all the places you can. As your friends see your name multiple times, some will be curious to check your profile.

8. Import your blog post. If you have a blog, import your blog’s RSS feed into Facebook. Facebook will publish the articles in the feed as Facebook notes automatically. Encourage your friends to comments on your articles in Facebook notes. You can also tag friends in the articles but don’t overdo it.

9. Post comments on popular groups. Visit popular Facebook groups that you have joined regularly and post comments. Just like blog comments or forum posting, Facebook comments on popular groups will attract attention to your name and profile. Add something valuable or post a link that adds value to the topic under discussions.

10. Start your own events. Events are very popular in Facebook and if you can promote it properly, it will have viral effects and thousands will register for the event. Send invitation to your network friends who have thousands of friends in their networks and also to attractive female friends in your network who may not have a large number of friends.

Facebook Social Ads: A Referral Program by any other Name

Facebook has unveiled the Social Ads system that enables advertisers use your friends’ endorsements to woo you in purchasing their products and services.

Businesses will create their Facebook pages just like Facebook users and slather those pages with texts, photos, videos, and applications. Members will interact with these pages, e.g. booking a hotel room or uploading a vacation picture in the company’s wall, etc., and the interaction information will spread to other users through the members’ social graphs. Users can become fans of businesses and refer those businesses to their contacts.

Facebook places a cookie in your computer when you log in. That cookie will be used to track you when you visit one of the Social Ads network site. The Social Ads will allow members to share their actions on third party sites using the Facebook news feed.

For example, If you book an airline ticket in MyCheapAirTicket, a Facebook advertisement affiliate site, you will have the option to drop this action in your Facebook news feed from MyCheapAirTicket site. Also, when a member of your social graph visits MyCheapAirTicket, the Social Ads will show your action on MyCheapAirTicket site.

Facebook has collected a massive amount of personal data of its members. Now it will use that data to target ads based on age group, demographics, preferences, hobbies, etc. The Social Ads will also turn users into unpaid sales agents for endorsing brands and products.

Free websites generate revenue from advertising. There is nothing wrong with that. However, Facebook is taking your personal data and providing that data to advertisers, albeit in aggregated formats. The claim is that advertisers will be able to better target their ads because they know who you are from your profile information and what you do from your social actions. Taking your private information and broadcasting it to the world is reminiscent of Orwellian Big Brother.

You will share ads, in the guise of positive experience of a product, with your friends and fill up their Facebook news feeds with ads. If you do it too little, advertisers will not like it. If you do it too much, your friends will unfriend you quickly.

A contextual ad system like Google’s AdSense detaches your personal information and focuses on what you are interested in at the very moment you land on a web page. You have the choice to run away from the site, get the information you want and not look at the ads, or click a few ads to acquire more information on the the topic you are exploring. It also provides monetary help to publishers who put hard works in creating, developing, and maintaining free ad supported websites.

In contrast, the Social Ads will rely on your personal information and make you an advocate for the businesses. Business will reap benefits from your likes without compensating you. And once they compensate you, your likes are no longer unbiased.

Also, your friends’ likes may not be the same as your needs. You may be looking for an average quality, cheap camera and your friend has a strong attachment to a particular brand. There is no way you can always get the best product for your need from your online contacts’ recommendations.

In stead of developing an elaborate and sophisticated referral program while compromising members’ private data, Facebook could have implemented a simple shopping list application. Members list their shopping list, advertisers display contextual ads, and Amazon, CNET etc. provide product reviews based on the shopping list.

7 Steps to Prepare Yourself to Use Facebook for Professional Networking

A recent study by Comscore, the Internet information provider, indicates that over 20% web users have visited Facebook in December 2008. Comscore has also noted a gradual demographic shift from college students to professionals aged 35 years or older in the number of Facebook users. Majority of these users are using Facebook for professional and business networking.

Facebook is blooming into a platform to conduct business deals and professional meetings. Hundreds of professional Facebook groups are created every day for online marketing and customer-centric public relations campaigns. The line between social and professional networking is slowly blurring.

If you’re planning to use Facebook platform for professional networking, follow the 7 steps outlined below to separate your Facebook social life from the work life in the virtual world.

1. Create a professional profile. This is your second resume. Use resume writing techniques to polish up your existing Facebook profile. List your expertise and accomplishments in the “Write something about yourself” section. Uncheck everything in the “Looking for” section except Networking.

2. Use business related information in the Personal Information section, including the business book that you have recently read, some quotes from top business leaders in your field, your favorite business related TV show , and business magazines that you frequently read.

3. In the About Me sub-section of the Personal Information section, elaborate on your past achievements and list skills that you used in the past to solve business problems.

4. Remove all beer drinking pictures with your college buddies and fun poking applications from your profile. If you were a speaker in some seminar and you have pictures, upload them to your profile. If you have pictures with business leaders or intellectuals in your professional field use those pictures instead of your spring break surfing pictures unless you are looking for networking with surfing professionals.

5. If you want to keep your Facebook social life, create a second profile for your work life. People who are migrating from college life to professional career will find it beneficial to keep the two profiles separate so that they can poke their college buddies and make business deals at the same time using the Facebook platform.

6. Start reading and publishing contents related to your industry in various online magazines and post links to interesting and informative online contents and tools in Facebook status. If you already have a blog, publish your blog RSS field in Facebook’s My Notes.

7. Select only a few dozen friends and keep in contact with them using Facebook email and chat. Check out the Facebook group they subscribe to and join those groups. Post thought provoking comments in those groups to make yourself more visible. Help others by offering solutions to their problems.

The important thing to keep in mind is that whatever you share in your Facebook account, it is visible to everybody in your network. So be careful about how you professionally project yourself to the world while using Facebook. While there are dedicated professional networking sites like LinkedIn, you can still use Facebook for establishing professional relationship and conducting business deals.

8 Steps to Facebook Adventure

Once a social platform for college students, the 40 million active membership site facebook is the latest buzzword in social media marketing. However, most members are extremely online savvy and they smell blatant advertisements from miles away. It is important to know some basics and gain experiences in utilizing the site and interacting with its members before you start planning your facebook marketing adventure.

1. Create a profile. The first step is to create a profile. Sign up using your real name and upload some pictures. If you do not have an email with a top-level edu domain, by default you join a regional network based on your zip code or international address. Later, you have the option to join your company’s network and change your regional networks. You can change your networks twice in a 60-day period.

Always upload a profile picture. If you don’t upload a picture, facebook places a default question mark icon. It is a good strategy to show your face in facebook. Don’t use group pictures for your profile because others may have difficulty identifying you in the group pictures. Don’t use logos, your cute cat or dogs’ pictures, or a picture of your expensive car and boat.

You don’t have to fill all the profile information. Fill only the information you are comfortable sharing with others. If you want to find dates using facebook, fill up the relationship status feature of your profile accordingly. Don’t change the status often because others will notice it and doubt your trustworthiness.

2. Make friends. The site can find active facebook friends for you using emails in your address books of a few free web email providers like yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc. Once you get a few friends, new friend requests will pour in from your friends of friends. You can also search for friends and send requests. Work on creating a network of 100 to 200 friends. Don’t make friends with celebrities because in most cases these are fake profiles setup for marketing purposes.

3. Upload pictures and videos. Start uploading some interesting pictures and group them in albums of travel pictures, baby shower photos, bachelor party scenes, etc. Pictures help people connect with your life without meeting you face to face. Always upload a number of related pictures or themes.

Create a random albums and put all your random pictures in the random album. Tag your pictures to identify people on the pictures. When you tag your friends in your pictures, they show up in their wall. You can also share your albums with others outside facebook. You can upload personal videos using your browser or mobile phone and directly record videos to facebook.

4. Use friends’ walls and never post on your own wall. You have a wall in facebook for others to write notes. Don’t write in your own wall. Write in your friends’ walls. Your friends will write notes, share videos or links in your wall. You do the same in your friends’ walls. When a friend posts something on your wall, reply to the post. If you find the posting annoying, politely ask them to back off and clean up your wall.

5. Join a few groups. There are all sorts of organic groups in facebook. These are groups of people with similar interests. Find a few that interest you and join them. You can create your own group but first find out if one exists on the same topic. This is an excellent place to be creative and get support from a bunch of people for your cause.

6. Create events and invite people. If you want to host a party, this is the feature you will use. Create your events and invite others to join. You can make an event public for your friends to see or private for the invitees to browse. Under my event, you can browse your friends’ public events. You will immediately know who are your fake friends because they did not invite you to their gala dinner they are hosting.

7. Send notes and share links. You send notes to your friends. Depending on the topic, you can send a note to a few friends or to all friends in your network. Don’t send chain letter notes because people find these repulsive. Your notes show up in your friends’ news feeds or on their walls. A tagged note shows up on the wall, otherwise, it is found in the homepage news feed. Use share for sharing links, even though you can use this feature for sharing notes. Share that link of a cheap travel-booking site you have found while surfing the net with friends planning their upcoming vacations.

8. Visit your homepage everyday. Besides your profile page in facebook, you also have a homepage. You homepage displays collaborative news feeds of all your friends, event and group invitations, friendship requests, friends’ birthdays, etc. If you want to know what is going on in your facebook friend circle, visit your homepage everyday.

The other features of facebook are poke, marketplace, facebook mobile, and hundreds of applications that enhance the facebook experience. As the facebook awareness grows, online marketers have started pounding the facebook door to gain a foothold. Future articles will discuss different ways to market your products and services to facebook members without insulting their intelligence.