HOW TO: Use Facebook for Professional Networking

Ask anybody why they use Facebook, and most people will respond with reasons like staying in touch with friends, or being able to share pictures. Rarely does one’s professional life ever get mentioned when describing the social network. When it comes to business networking, LinkedIn tends to take all the thunder, and Facebook  is generally written off as a place just for fun. Yet, perhaps that’s a mistake.

Facebook, after all, has 250 million active users compared to about 44 million for LinkedIn, and even though the atmosphere is clearly not as focused on business, there are still a ton of opportunities for professional networking that business users would be remiss to pass up. Once you look beyond the obvious social features like sharing pictures and poking friends, there are plenty of ways to tap into the professional community on the world’s largest social network.

Here is how to setup your Facebook for professional use, how to find others to network with, Facebook features that work for professional networking, and ways to maximize the value from those features.

1. Setting up your Facebook for business networking
If you’re like most people, your personal and professional lives have already blended. But even with that blurring of our work and social lives, most of us still want some separation, and I would recommend actually splitting the two on Facebook. Once split, you can continue to reap the social benefits of Facebook with your friends and family while simultaneously connecting with your professional colleagues.

2.Using Facebook groups for networking
One way to professionally benefit from Facebook’s enormous user base and to grow your professional network is to participate in Facebook Groups.

Finding groups – to find the right group for your professional aspiration, think of topics that will motivate you, allow you to connect with others of professional interest, and will allow you to gain insight into your industry/skill set – groups around these topics are the ones where you’ll find professionals you can network with.

What to look for in a professional group – Only join the ones that you can actually see yourself participating in.Group participation – his is where the real fun begins and the true business value will happen.

Although Facebook was built as a social network and most people treat it as such – there is a tremendous amount of professional value that can be gained there.

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