You’re running for the State House in Phoenix. You’re a horse trainer in Austin. You’re a motivational speaker in Philadelphia. You’re a deejay in Detroit. You’re a celebrity chef in Atlanta. Basically, you’re notable in your own city, and you have a Facebook business or public figure page with lots of followers.
After a while, you feel restricted by the page format. You don’t know anything about your followers. You don’t feel like you’re really having a good dialogue with them. You want to have the same relationship with them as you do your personal Facebook friends.
Well, maybe not with ALL of them. But some of them are very engaged with you, both on and off Facebook. They volunteer at your campaign headquarters and attend your rallies. They bring their horses to your clinics, or maybe they’ve even sent their horses to your facility. They take several of your seminars, and seek you at at networking events. You see them at your gigs, and they share your mixes on stickam. They eat at your restaurant and take your cooking classes.
You are completely untroubled by the prospect of inviting all these strangers to view all of your Facebook postings. After all, you don’t put anything really personal up there, anyway. So you send invitations out to everyone, asking them to be your own personal friend. Then you let a few days go by.
When you check back to see any of them have accepted your offer, you are surprised by the sound of chirping crickets.
What went wrong?
You’re trying to butt into their personal, private lives, which they have no desire to share with you — a stranger — or any of the people with whom you might share their postings.
Just because you don’t want to use Facebook to talk privately with your friends and family doesn’t mean that the rest of the world shares your preferences. Have you noticed how many people now restrict their walls, and even their info tabs, to “friends only”? Most of them! They are using Facebook in the usual way; you are using it in the unusual way. You can’t expect them to them to want you around their Facebook profile any more than they want you around for Grandma’s birthday. (Okay, if you’re a celebrity chef, maybe they do want you around for Grandma’s birthday — they want you to cook it, for free! And why not? You’re “friends,” aren’t you?)
So post to your business or public figure page regularly and always reply to the comments your followers write there. If you want more back-and-forth dialogue with them, spend more time on Twitter. Twitter is the world’s biggest networking event: totally public and totally based on conversation. Save your personal Facebook profile for your…. friends.