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How many times have you heard (or thought that) Facebook for business is a waste of time?  Do you sometimes think everybody has created Facebook business pages that very few people bother reading (actually very few updates get shown)?  Even when you do get a page view there’s no click through to your website, let alone purchase? Is there a different way of thinking about Facebook for your business and becoming the The Go-To Expert?

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Death of a brilliant café.

Diving on the Sinai coast has changed little over the years; the sun is hot, the coral colourful and the fish fabulous. Typically you set out with your dive gear packed into a truck, drive along some dusty roads, dive and then stop for lunch at a beachside Bedouin café chosen by the dive guide.

For many years all of the dive guides have recommended one particular café, it delivers good tea, food and service. This year the recommendation changed. The new café was next door to the old one and wasn’t any better. The week wore on and it became apparent that the old one no longer had much business, but the new one was thriving.

The change was not due to special offers, new décor or better food, it was all about networking. What one small habit could you change to improve how well you use your network?

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 Café networking and Facebook for business.

One of the dive guides I’d known years ago had given up diving and started a business. He said to me “success is about network, network, network.” That struck me as odd, as he was running a café, not a B2B business that we might associate with networking.

I discovered a day later that the new thriving café was owned by that ex dive guide. His only marketing was networking. At the end of the holiday I chatted to him about networking and his business.

  • He realised where he had lots of credibility. He had been a dive guide for many years and knew lots of other dive guides. How would you define the coherent market sector where you have credibility?
  • He understood the problems of that “niche”. On investigation every niche has some common problems (is that one way of defining a niche?). In this case the dive guides had customers, needed good service, wanted an easy life and sometimes access to dive spares.
  • He built an offer around that group of introducers. He made it slightly easier for them to arrive, dive and have food ready on their return so their customers were amazed at their efficiency – while they had an easy life.
  • He spent lots of time catching up with that community, hanging out where they hung out. Networking is not about attending networking events; it’s about being where your target market hangs out and getting on with them. He didn’t sell to them, but made sure that lots of them knew what he was doing. Research questions are always a good way of doing this, how could you research elements of your niche that would grow your credibility?
  • He put together an offer for introducers. If they turned up with a group of their customers, the dive guide would get free tea, coffee etc. Funnily enough when he implemented this his growth didn’t accelerate, but could it make a profitable difference for you?
  • He reconnected with all the end users he already knew. He’d been a dive guide for many years and already knew many of the regular divers (I remembered him). What I hadn’t really noticed before my last holiday was that he was front of my mind again. So when I visited his new café I was really pleased, after all we all like to belong or feel like we belong. All he had done was comment on a couple of my Facebook posts; in a very simple way isn’t that the power of social networking?

Becoming the Go-To Expert and Facebook

One can take many of the The Go-To Expert lessons from my recent holiday, the one that struck me was the subtle way of using Facebook. It’s a method many professionals successfully make use of in the UK; where others are saying Facebook for business is a waste of time. Networking, at its simplest, is about keeping in touch (not selling). Facebook, via your personal profile offers a good way of doing just that.

What lesson from the Bedouin café could you make use of?

 
Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.