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October 23, 2008

Facebook in 15 Minutes a Day

I’ve often said that social networking can take up your entire day, if you allow it. You sit down at your desk in the morning, and you see several Facebook event invites and friend requests. As you log into your account, someone’s Facebook status update catches your eye, and before you know it, 3 hours have passed while you’re reading and responding to social networking messages. How can you possibly get any work done in your business or for your clients at this rate?

Facebook doesn’t have to be a time hog. As a matter of fact, you can actually handle most of your Facebook tasks in as little as 15 minutes per day. Here’s what I do when I log into my account each morning (thanks for wonderful training I’ve received from Facebook guru Mari Smith for these great tips):

1. Update your status.

This is the first section that you’ll see on your homepage when you log into Facebook. While you can do this from your Facebook account, I prefer to update my status in, as this service will update my status in all of my social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and MySpace. However, if you’re using only Facebook for social networking, then go ahead and use the status update there.

2. Review your news feeds.

This is the first tab on the right on your home page. In this review, you’re seeking stories on which you can share your expertise and on which you can comment. Some of your comments may be personal in nature, but this is a great opportunity to showcase your experience in your field and industry.

3. Review news feeds of your friends.

This feature is available from the home page as the down arrow on the far right of the home page tabs and permits you to view the feeds of your Friends Lists. Friend Lists allow you to create private groupings of friends based on your personal preferences. I’ve got my lists created by industry, i.e. Coaches, Virtual Assistants, Marketing Professionals, People to Watch, etc. Pick one list and comment on those feeds just as you would your own.

If you have no Friends Lists, here’s how to create them: , Click Friends at the top of any Facebook page. From the following page, click “Make a new list” on the left. After typing in the title of your list, you can add friends to your list by typing your friend’s name into the “Add to List” field. You can also click “Select Multiple Friends” to the right of the field, which will allow you to select many friends from your entire list. After making your selections, click “Save List” to store your changes.

4. Review status updates.

Take a quick moment to breeze through the status updates of your friends, and click on those on which you feel compelled to comment. Many people feed their blog posts into their status updates, so this is a great way to get out and comment on the blogs of others without having to search out relevant blog posts. In this case, I comment on the blog itself rather than the Facebook status update. I usually only go through one page of these to ensure I remain within my time constraints.

5. Acknowledge birthdays.

These are listed under Events and Birthdays on the right side of your homepage. When you click on the birthday person’s name, you’ll be sent to their wall, where you can write your personalized birthday greeting (make more effort that just simply saying “Happy Birthday!”). I also take this opportunity to find out a bit more about the friends on my list by clicking the “Info” tab on their home page and quickly scanning their profile. This helps me start to put names and faces together and get better acquainted with my network of friends, And, I take this opportunity to add people to Friends List as appropriate.

6. Review friend requests.

Add friends as you see fit, or according to any guidelines you have set for yourself. Facebook guru Mari Smith suggests setting up a “Friending Request Policy” in which you write down the conditions under which you’ll accept friends (i.e. picture must be on profile, have to have other friends in common, have to have submitted a personal note with the friend request, etc.) and to help you in your decision-making.

7. Respond to event invitations.

Your friends will be sending a myriad of invites to various events (most of my invites are to teleclasses), so take a few moments to scroll through those and see if any are of interest to you, or if you have further questions about them.

8. Respond to group invitations.

Most of these I ignore, but occasionally I’ll join a private group, usually related to a program in which I’m enrolled. Or, if it’s a group run by someone with whom I want to connect or from whom I want to learn, I’ll accept the invite to the group. If I have time, I’ll also visit one of the groups to see what’s going on and respond to any messages here.

9. Add friends.

Facebook does an amazing job of suggesting people I actually know to add to my friends list in their “People You May Know” section on my home page. If I happen to see such a suggestion, I send out a request to add that person as a friend. When requesting to add a friend, I ALWAYS send a personalize request, letting them know how I know about them.

10. Review notifications.

The notifications icon is on the lower right side of your home page and lists what’s going on in your account (friend requests accepted, notes on your wall, etc.). This is a good prompt for you to write on someone’s wall when they accept your friend request or to respond to posts on your own wall.

11. Eyeball your own profile.

Make sure your profile appears as it should, and take the opportunity to catch up on anything you may have missed with your other steps.

12. Check your inbox.

Many of the emails in your inbox are duplications of event and group invites or group emails. When I look at this, I’m seeking out any personal 1:1 emails that I might have received from someone on my list. I’ve discovered that many people I want to contact respond better to their Facebook emails that through emails sent to them (or an assistant) via their website, so I often email them through Facebook, instead.

If you devote 15 minutes per day, or at least 15 minutes 3 times a week, to updating Facebook, you’ll begin to see results from your social networking before you know it!

Online Business Manager and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Follow Donna on Twitter.