When marketers are faced with building powerful Facebook profiles, they are quick to say:
Hey, I’m no Zuckerberg!
But really, who better than Zuckerberg to copy? Not only does he know the ins and outs of Facebook, but he knows what Facebook users like.
So, let’s see what good ol’ Zuck can teach you about creating a powerful Facebook profile.
Step #1: To be a cool kid, you have to be friends with cool kids
As you already know, Mark is well connected. Not only does he know famous web celebrities like Sean Parker, Peter Thiel, and Marc Andreessen, but he also knows Barack Obama.
When you are friends with the cool kids, you are naturally perceived as being “cool.” When you are perceived as being cool, people start requesting you to become their friend.
If you want to create a Facebook profile that’s not just popular but powerful, you need to start requesting the cool kids to become your “friend”. Many of them will say no because they don’t know you, but for every ten cool kids you request, one to three will accept your friendship.
You’ll need to do this until a hundred influential people accept your friend request. Once you reach that point, you’ll notice that a lot of random people on a daily basis will request your friendship on Facebook. The reason for this is because influencers have a lot of friends, and their friends tend to look through their profile to see who else they are friends with.
Step #2: Don’t forget about your real friends
Now that you are friends with the “in” crowd, you shouldn’t let it go to your head. These influencers are really busy and have so many friends that they’ll rarely bother to read your profile or even like/comment on the stuff you put on your wall.
In order to counteract this, you’ll actually have to have your real friends on Facebook. Mark, for instance, is still friends with the people he knew before he became rich. From family members to childhood friends, you want to be friends with people who actually care about you because they’ll care about what you have to say.
You typically can find your real friends on Facebook by giving Facebook access to your email account. The site will be able to see who you communicate with on a regular basis and see if those people are on Facebook. If they are, the system will suggest that you add them as a friend.
Step #3: Don’t be shy
Mark isn’t the most outgoing guy. However, just because you may be shy or awkward in real life doesn’t mean you have to be that way online.
Make your profile very thorough, upload some pictures of yourself, write on your wall, and, most importantly, start writing on your friends’ walls. If you don’t become more social, you won’t do well on Facebook or any social networking website, for that matter.
The strategy I like to use is:
- Post on your wall daily – I typically like to post something interesting that happened to me, something I learned or a quote. I’ve found that quotes tend to be the most viral type of postings on Facebook.
- Engage with your friends on your wall – when my friends comment on my wall, I try to do my best to respond to them. This lets them, as well as others, know that I care to hear what they have to say and that I appreciate them. Remember, no one likes talking to themselves.
- Engage with your friends – every day, I “like” at least one thing one of my friends says and comment on at least one of their profiles. I try to do this with friends who typically don’t engage on my wall as it encourages new people to interact with me on my wall.
- Don’t be predictable – once a week, I like to do something out of the ordinary so that it boosts engagement more than normal. This usually means that I am posting something that is either really funny or somewhat controversial. One of my unpredictable postings was “If eye-rolling burned calories, women would never have to diet.”
- Don’t create enemies – you can easily create enemies with what you post on Facebook. You’ve spent so long gaining friends, why would you want to risk losing them? I typically avoid posting political or religious things on Facebook. Heck, even after I posted that eye-rolling quote, I posted one about men so I wouldn’t seem sexist: “If ball-scratching burned calories, men would never have to diet.”
Step #4: Not all friends are created equal
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t accept everyone as his friend, which means you shouldn’t either. Instead of just accepting anyone that you know, you should be a bit scientific as Facebook limits your profile to 5,000 friends.
After capping out at 5,000 friends, I did a bit of digging into my Facebook profile, and I quickly learned a few things:
- Little is the new big – although it’s wise to be friends with a few influencers, your goal shouldn’t be to friend them all. Although 47% of my friends have over 500 connections (people who they are friends with), they only account for 21% of my engagement. Friends who have fewer than 500 connections account for 79% of the engagement on my profile wall.
- Go worldwide – 62% of my friends aren’t located in the United States. Those friends account for over 83% of the engagement on my Facebook wall.
- Women are powerful – 16% of my friends are female, yet they account for 22% of the engagement on my wall. I wish I befriended more females earlier on, but I guess it’s too late as I am capped out at 5,000 friends.
Before you cap out your profile at 5,000 friends, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Be careful about who you accept as a friend as it can affect how powerful your profile will be.
Step #5: There’s nothing wrong with self-promoting.
One thing that Zuckerberg tends to do is promote himself on Facebook. Heck, he does this on his Fan Page. From promoting his Time Magazine cover to being on Saturday Night Live, he lets everyone know what he is up to.
Don’t be afraid to let others know what you are doing with your business because it’s not only a good way to get traffic, but it can also drive customers.
I let all of my friends know what my company is up to. I also go as far as promoting my personal brand on Facebook. Every time I write a blog post, I share it on my Facebook wall.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned that if you want to self-promote, timing is everything. I’ve posted on my Facebook profile during each day of the week and even during holidays. I’ve even posted every single hour during the day. With my friend base, I tend to get the most engagement when I post between the hours of 8 am and 11 am PST. And the peak days for me tend to be Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Even if you follow in Mark Zuckerberg’s footsteps, chances are you won’t become a billionaire like him. But what you can expect is to create a Facebook profile that isn’t just popular but is also powerful.
Stop wasting time. Get out there and build up your Facebook presence. No matter what business venture or career path you decide to take, you can always use your Facebook profile to promote it. Follow the tips above and at the bare minimum do the following…
Fill out your profile (fully) – The best profile on Facebook is a complete one. This doesn’t mean you should fill out your name and contact information, it just means you need to complete all the fields available.
Don’t stay in your circle – You need to get away from just interacting with your high school or college friends and start interacting with people within your industry or other industries that you want to get into. An easy way to do this is to join groups that interest you as well as make friends with people that you want to get to know.
Don’t be shy – The purpose of Facebook is to connect and interact with other members, so don’t be shy! Interact with other members by writing on their wall, commenting on pictures, asking your friends questions, and most importantly telling all your friends happy birthday. Doing all these things will help others to get to know who you actually are instead of just knowing your name.
Spice up your profile – Facebook Applications lets you spice up your profile by adding things that interest you. For example, I added a YouTube application to my profile which allows me to embed YouTube videos onto my profile for others to see. Now if you are lame like me you can place funny videos on your profile or if you are smart like Robert Scoble you can add videos of yourself that are related to your profession. By taking the Scoble route more people will learn more about you and what you are good at.
Build it, and they will NOT come – This isn’t the Field of Dreams, you actually have to market yourself on Facebook to become popular. In most cases this is done from interaction, which I talked about above, but you can also do things like adding photos of yourself and other Facebook members. When you do this the other people that you tagged in the photo will get emailed, thus increasing the number of people who see you on Facebook. Some of the other things to consider are creating a group on Facebook as well as creating your own application, which could be distributed to all your friends.
Keep your profile up-to-date – If you don’t keep your profile up-to-date it will start dying down. By keeping it up-to-date it will gain more traffic and more people will get to know you.
And if you are one of those people that think Facebook is a waste of time, think again. It’s the second most popular website on the Internet.
It doesn’t matter what you think. You have no choice but to be on it.