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Finding your target market online: Facebook

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
30 June 2009

When it comes to online marketing, social networking is without a doubt on the up and up. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others can help you to boost the size of your mailing list and also help you to grow your business. An important aspect of online marketing is visibility, and what better way to increase your online visibility than by making use of one of the webs biggest social networking tools?

Facebook is certainly not the be-all and end-all of social marketing, but the value of this tool must not be underestimated. Social networking is certainly an inexpensive option and can be effective tool when used correctly.

It is important to maintain your other marketing strategies though – adding social networking to your marketing mix just creates a well-rounded internet marketing plan.
Before you rush out and set up a Facebook account for your company, product, band or organisation, you must take note that Facebook limits the number of new invitations that can be sent at any given time. This number has been kept from the public, and sending more than the allocated number could see you being kicked off the site. A safe figure then would be about 10 new invites a day.

Also, you are permitted only 5000 friends on Facebook, and if your invites strategy is successful, you may need to consider creating a waiting list of friends.

Otherwise, there is no reason not to get out there and start ‘friending’!

Ok, there is one reason: Your target market. There is little point in having 5000 Facebook friends of your organisation is not one of them has any real interest in your product. Therefore it is important to market yourself to the correct audience. So how do you find your target market in Facebook?

1. Search by interest or industry

Do a people search by job title, industry, geographic location, or interest. You can request to add them based on common interests and increase your friends list in this way too.

2. Follow the good guys

Friend and follow leaders in your field or industry. Include a personal note when you friend them too, as that will improve the likelihood that they will accept your request. Something along the lines of “I’m a big fan and have followed you for several years. I’d love to have you in my Facebook network.” Once they have accepted your request, stay in touch and make regular appropriate comments on their wall, this will also keep you within the sights of their other followers.

3. Facebook-recommended friends

Facebook recommends friends based on your current friends list when you log into your profile and these recommendations can usually be trusted to be pretty accurate. Make friends with these recommendations.

4. Use groups

Search for groups using keywords that describe your industry, or your geographic area, or the interests of your target market. Join the group yourself, participate in discussions, make comments and make yourself known and trusted by group members. Then make friends with good prospects in the groups’ friends list.

5. Make friends with friends of friends

Extend your reach by adding friends of friends. Look for people in the networks of other industry leaders – they are probably part of your target market too. Again add a personal note such as “I discovered your profile in so-and-so’s network and would like to get to know you better by adding you to my network” to your friend request.

Once you have found and made a decent list of friends, it’s important to maintain them. Always keep your profile up-to-date with an accurate description of what the profile is for/about, your interests, and so on and keep attracting visitors and friends to the site. Never forget your contact info and always include your web site URLs.

Posting a “thank you” note on a friend’s wall after they accept your request as well as a nice comment about something on their profile is the polite thing to do. Keep an eye on their status updates and also comment regularly on these when appropriate. On Facebook, showing an interest in friends’ interests is more important than pushing sales.
The secret to Facebook success is consistent implementation – make it a routine part of your internet marketing tasks and you will soon have a large group of online followers, all saying good things about your company, product or service.

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