How to Network with Business Professionals on Facebook

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Facebook Networking

We all know that LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. It’s the place to be if you want to connect with like-minded professionals looking to get ahead in their careers.

Yet increasingly, business related groups are appearing on Facebook – and people are putting them to good use. These days, I’m finding that a lot of my business networking happens on Facebook. I’ve used Facebook to connect with my peers around the world, and to discover potential clients.

We’d still recommend LinkedIn as the top business networking tool (and Twitter is especially powerful if you need to make connections fast). But Facebook has a lot going for it, and it’s certainly something you should consider.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Facebook networking. Once we’ve done that, we’ll take a look at how you can use Facebook to connect with other professionals in your field.

Why Facebook Makes a GREAT Business Networking Tool

Most of us use Facebook as a personal tool, to stay in touch with friends and family. But that doesn’t mean we should automatically write it off as a business networking tool.

In fact, Facebook makes a GREAT business networking tool, for several reasons.

You already spend time on Facebook. American Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the network. That’s close to ten times as much time as the average American spends exercising every day. And it’s more than we spend on any other social network.

As you’re already spending so much time on Facebook, why not use it to help achieve your business or career goals?

Facebook is built on trust. Why did Facebook succeed where other social networks failed? One reason is that they placed (and still place) a high premium on trust. You can only use your real name on Facebook. And to begin with, Facebook only let users sign up with a college email address. Every user was verified.

Also, think about what you share on Facebook. Chances are, you reveal more of yourself on Facebook compared to other social networks.

All this has created a social network with a culture of trust. And trust is a fantastic foundation for business networking.

More people use Facebook. Facebook has close to 1.5 billion active users. That compares to LinkedIn’s user count of 300 million. More people mean more opportunities for networking.

Facebook business groups are often private. This also helps to create an environment of trust, because you need an invite to join a group.

Those are the advantages of Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that everything is rosy. Here are a few of the downsides of using Facebook as a business networking tool.

Work-life balance. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital if you’re to perform at your best. We all need time to rest and recuperate. Having clear dividing lines between work and leisure can help you maintain this balance. Using Facebook as a networking tool can disturb this balance – because you’ll receive notifications on business groups even when you’re home for the weekend, or on vacation.

A work-time distraction. Using Facebook as part of your work may sound like fun, but unless you’re careful with how you use it, you’ll find that hours can disappear down the Facebook black hole.

Facebook business groups are often private. We previously listed this as an advantage, which it is. But it’s also a disadvantage, because it means good business groups can be hard to find.

Now you know the pros and cons of Facebook networking, how can you get started?

How to Network with Business Professionals on Facebook

When it comes to networking on Facebook, you’ve got a couple of options:

  1. Networking using your Facebook page. This is ideal for getting the attention of influencers. We cover it in depth here.
  2. Networking using Facebook groups. I’ve found this is the best way to connect with other professionals and uncover opportunities. This is what we’ll look at in this article.

Where can you find these groups to network in?

Facebook search. Using Facebook’s search tool, you can find public and open groups. It’s the perfect way to dip your toes in the water of Facebook networking.

How can you find groups? Search for “business networking”, and Facebook will direct you straight to the top business networking group. That’s good for getting started, but what if you want to find more?

Type this into the search bar:

Find all groups named “business networking”

Then, you’ll get a list of hundreds of business networking groups – some general, some specific to a country or city, and some industry-specific. You’ll even see groups where your friends are already members.

When you’re looking for groups to join, check them out before you sign up. Look for active groups where members share useful information and advice.

Subscribe to email lists of business professionals you like. I’ve found this to be the most fruitful way of discovering hidden gems. Increasingly, small business owners and bloggers are offering access to a mastermind Facebook group if you join their email list. Some are great, some less so. It’s worth checking out as many as you can to find the gems.

Ask your friends and business contacts. The people you already know in business can help you find great Facebook groups. Ask around to see if any of your business contacts are part of a private Facebook group. Knowing someone in a group can be a way of getting yourself invited to the group.

Over to You

Do you use Facebook for networking? What do you like about Facebook as a networking tool? What have you found is the best way for uncovering Facebook groups?

Lori R Taylor is the founder and executive editor of Social Caffeine. In 2009 she started her own direct response focused social media agency, REV Media Marketing LLC, coining the phrase given by her young son, “You bring the rain, we’ll make it pour.” Follow Lori on Twitter.

David is our acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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