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February 18, 2009

Marketing With Facebook: The First Product You Sell On Facebook Is Yourself

Any savvy marketer will tell you that if you meet someone new, you shake hands firmly and you make eye contact and try to establish some personal rapport, as soon as possible. When you find those friends or potential business associates online, you’re already a bit ahead of yourself because you should have some rapport from past associations. To seal the electronic deal, send them a message that you want to be their friend. In a way, you have to re-introduce yourself to them as if they were a semi-stranger because you are online and they can’t see you through their PC screen.

When you find someone you know, you can choose to “Add as Friend” and then a message box will pop up. Here, you can remind your old friend of who you are and what you shared together. Did you sing in the same choir at church? Why not say: “Hey, Buddy, great to see a fellow choir member here online! What have you been up to since we last saw each other?” It’s always great to ask a question to get a reply. The idea is to establish that virtual handshake, make it as firm as possible by identifying who you are and their connection to you, and then try to establish a rapport or connection with them so that they will agree to add you as a friend.

Networking online has advantages and disadvantages. For instance, one advantage to online networking is you can approach many different people to build your network, in much less time than if you tried to do this physically.

The disadvantage is that so many people are trying to get to know each other, you can quickly be lost in the crowd or simply ignored by people who no longer want to be anyone’s friend! Hopefully, by starting out with people with whom you have relationships in the physical world, you will have a firm footing in the Cyberworld to help you grow your network bigger when it comes time to do that.

Have A Story To Tell

This is where the marketing model diverges completely from the conventional model. In a conventional model, you might get up in front of a group of people (particularly if you are consultant) and explain the benefits of your products or services. Your sales presentation would be snazzy, eye-catching, and full of information that meets the customer’s needs.

In Facebook, this will only bore people to tears and send them scrambling to the exit door. Instead, after you establish rapport with someone, you will want to reel them into your sales funnel using storytelling as your main technique. Of course, this can take a little longer, but this is not really a business proposition, it is a seduction.

Some of the greatest examples of this marketing technique for online sales can be seen at eBay. Who can forget the story of the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich? It wasn’t just the image of the Virgin Mary that made it sell for $28,000 and become an Internet story for weeks, but it was also the story behind the grilled cheese sandwich that helped increase its value in the eyes of the Internet bidders.

The person who posted the sandwich claimed it was 10 years old and responsible for helping her win $70,000 at a casino. As proof of its holiness, the person claimed the sandwich never exhibited signs of mold.

While we all find this story incredibly humorous, the fact is she walked away with $28,000 from the auction of a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s the power of storytelling when it comes to Internet marketing.

Now, that you have someone’s attention, you might think it’s time to make your sales pitch. Hold on! The first product you have to sell on a social networking site is yourself. These types of interactions take a little longer upfront than conventional methods of marketing where you are trying to contact as many people as possible and then issuing a sales pitch to get someone to buy. That’s a very quick way of alienating all your friends on Facebook, and they probably won’t come back.

Since your friends lend your online presence a degree of credibility and trust, once all your friends leave, you are basically bankrupt on a social network. You might as well leave and start a different profile (although Facebook only allows one profile per user) or use a different site.

Focus on getting to know your friends a little better and finding out what about their identities has attracted them to you. Then, promote that part of your image more to gain more people from their network to join your own network. You should try to remain in your targeted niche for the services or products you are selling. Do sell your traits, but gear them to your image and the identities of those people you are trying to attract. The more interesting you are to them, the more likely they will tell a friend about what you are doing on your Facebook account.

About the Author: George Dean is the author of the newly-released book/audio book, PROFITABLE FREELANCING WITH FACEBOOK, available at Listen to free audio samples on how to freelance with Facebook. Or sign up to our Affiliate Program and earn 50% commissions on our products!