October 30, 2014

How To Make More Friends on Facebook and Influence More People

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The ultimate social media love-hate relationship seems to be on Facebook.

As much as it can be silly, banal, annoying and a perceived time waster, Facebook can also be informative, fun, quirky, supportive and a super lead source. There is absolutely no denying its reach, impact and influence if used around some best practices.

Consider these current Facebook stats:

  • Facebook has 1.19 billion worldwide users,  80% outside the U.S.
  • 23% check their pages five times a day.
  • 750 million access Facebook on over 7,000 different types of mobile devices.
  • 74% of marketers rely on Facebook for lead generation.
  • 59% like a brand page because they have purchased or used the product or service.

make friends on facebook

So, love it or hate it, it’s best to make friends and peace with it.  

Then use Facebook to your advantage to advance your career and business. You might actually have more fun with it too.

Facebook reminds me of the (kinder, gentler) Godzilla of social media, minus of course the negative symbolism of war and destruction. Facebook is a huge, unique, monster social platform that towers over the social media landscape.  It can wreak havoc.  Or it can be used for amazing good.

It has survived and thrived in spite of intense scrutiny, controversy, competition and social trending.

A rather fitting description applies equally to Facebook and Godzilla: “The king of the monsters, he is mankind’s greatest ally and enemy. Quite possibly the most unpredictable force on the face of the planet.”

I much prefer the idea of how we can harness Facebook’s power and reach as an ally for good.  Think of Facebook as this kind of benign monster:

make friends on facebook

Here are some ways you can tame the monster, make friends on Facebook and influence more people.

Combine Personal with Business

There is an ongoing discussion and dilemma about which is better: A personal page or a business page.

If you have a small business with a well known brand and a significant following, it can translate into a successful Facebook business page.

I haven’t really seen a business page work particularly well without a significant follower base. In that case, it’s better to have a personal profile page that you can customize to show your professional side in a more personal way. You can post about all the fun stuff, but you can also post about business-oriented things in a more conversational, informative way.

A great example of this is my friend and colleague Tory Johnson, who actually has a significant following but has opted for a personal Facebook presence as a public persona:

make friends on facebook

Choose a Smiling Profile Picture and Cover Image With a Person In It

Your Facebook profile image and your cover image are the first things people see.  So make them visually appealing.  Use the image(s) you want people to remember.

The example above of Tory Johnson is perfect for illustrating how to mix personal and business shots.  It’s professional, yet the human being shows through.

Have a current profile picture consisting of a head shot that shows off your smile or eyes, or both.

Your cover image (the big image at the top of your Facebook profile or page) should ideally “show and tell” your personal and professional story. It can be a collage of many aspects of your life or one big bold image that conveys the whole you.

Remember, to make friends on Facebook, you have to look and seem friendly, and that requires smiling at others.

“Show and Tell” to Share Your Personality

Don’t be afraid to show your wacky, funny, quirky and offbeat side on Facebook if you want people to get to know you better. Those posts get some of the highest likes and comments.

Make sure you show just enough of yourself and not too much.  You’ve heard of TMI or “too much information”, right?

We make friends by letting others inside to see who we are. So let people inside, and to do that you must share some of yourself first.

Ask Others to Share

Making friends is a two-way street.

It isn’t just about YOU YOU YOU.  It’s also about the other person.

If you really want to know how to make friends on Facebook, put out a question occasionally.  Ask people to share what they think or how they feel.  Supposedly questions that require a simple yes or no answer work best.

Appeal to Emotions to Make Friends on Facebook

Facebook is all about life.

The best topics on Facebook reflect all the things we covet. Our hobbies, lifestyle, fun activities,  trending issues, humor, kindness, humanity, family, aging, accomplishment, unexpected change.

We find support and give support.  We ask questions, share our human capital to answer questions.  We learn from each other and help each other through difficulty, even if we don’t really know each other on Facebook.

We have fun.  We chit chat about small things.  Instead of telling jokes like we might do in person, we share a funny image or cartoon.

Remember, people do business with other people.  Anything that lets people know you are flesh and blood, strengthens relationships that can eventually lead to more business ….

Discover the Best Days, Time and Frequency of Posting

Over-posting or under-posting can affect engagement and results.  Update your timeline too frequently (especially with business information) and you can turn people off.  Don’t post frequently enough and people forget about you.

The time of day and which days you post can also help you connect with people.

Passion Digital suggests that one to two posts per day works best.  Early, mid and end of day work well.  Thursday and Friday have the highest engagement and no surprise, Saturdays are best for sharing.

Consider these days and times in the graphic below as starting points.  Experiment to see what works best for you.

make friends on facebook

Boost Posts and Use Page Insights

Making friends is all about connecting, so you want to make sure you reach people with your updates and posts. It’s the old “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound” dilemma.

There are two features Facebook offers that can help you know what types of content get the best action and help you boost your reach to more people.

This is from the Facebook Help Center, Posting Best Practices Section:

“It’s possible that an update you post on your Page may not be shown to everyone who likes your Page because News Feed space is limited. The News Feed algorithm uses several factors to determine top stories posted by people and Pages, including the number of comments, who posted the story, and what type of post it is (ex: photo, video, status update). Experiment with different types of posts and see what your audience responds to best by checking your Page Insights. To help increase the chance that your audience will see your posts, you can boost your posts. Learn more about boosted posts.”

Read more here about promoting Facebook posts.

Understand and Use All Facebook’s Features

If you are participating in, presenting or attending any event, create a Facebook Event not only on Facebook, but on all the other apps that link to Facebook. Post it and link it in all your social media activity. Participate in rating certain pages, post reviews and create special offers. All of these actions increase your activity, following and presence, in addition to posting.

Facebook offers additional resources that we sometimes overlook. Here are 12 Best Practices for Media Companies on Facebook and the general Facebook Help Center. Make sure you get familiar with all your settings and that you apply them to opening up or limiting access to your page.

One final thought.

You do not need to be on Facebook to be successful in business and on social media, and I know many people that are not. They choose to be focused on and committed to other social media.

However, Facebook can — if used and harnessed the right way — change people’s lives for the better, help move causes virally, and be a source of unlimited, collective knowledge, experience and wisdom beyond belief.

make friends on facebook

Check out these 10 Best Facebook campaigns. And don’t forget how these five small businesses use Facebook for more ideas.

Images: Like Photo via Shutterstock; Social stats via Social Media London; funny Godzilla  

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Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

6 Reactions

  1. Well, instead of just making friends on Facebook, why not make real friends? Talk with them, meet with them and care about their lives. Facebook is merely a medium after all. You’ll start with a small group of friends and that will grow from there.

    • Aira, I am the biggest advocate and proponent of making friends both in my personal and professional life and glad to say I have many. Nothing is more magical then meeting people in person. The beauty of social media is that you can not only make friends with people who are not in your local area and stay in touch with them, but stay more connected with local people in between when you see them.

  2. Have to agree with Aira, making friends out in society is more important than online. Whilst it’s fun to get to know people who can be 3,000 miles in another direction, putting this much effort into my Facebook account seems superfluous. Being yourself is what it’s about, not structuring everything to draw in potential pundits.

    • Alex, I couldn’t agree more about making friends with people out in society. Nothing takes the place of face to face connections, but I see the benefit of using social media as another bride to meet people and keep in touch and watch the pulse of what other people are talking about and discussing in different places. Like I said, no ones needs to be on Facebook or any social media, BUT, it does have benefits and advantages if we choose to be. Thanks for your comment.

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