Making connections on Facebook is not limited to family, friends, colleagues and the kids you went to elementary school with 30 years ago. Through your Facebook Profile, Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups, you can actually connect with the agents, studio executives, producers, financiers, distributors, and other professionals you want to network and build relationships with.
Here are my top 3 mistakes you don’t want to make in networking on Facebook.
- One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is using their Facebook Profile as a “private” place reserved strictly for family and friends. Typically, your Profile gets more traffic and engagement than your own Facebook Page so its a good idea go where the action is. Since social media has a way of blending your personal and professional lives, use that to your advantage. Instead of changing the privacy settings on your Facebook Profile so only your “friends” see your profile, open it up to “friends of friends” or even the “public” and brand yourself by sharing elements of both your personal and professional lives. People want to work with and associate with people they like and can relate to. You can always set the privacy settings for certain more personal posts and photo albums to “friends” for their eyes only. But use the blurring of your social and business lives on your Facebook Profile by engaging others to help them get to know who you actually are instead of just knowing your name. Use your posts to engagement comments and participate in the threads that form on your Profile. Ask questions because people will answer and that’s another way of connecting and engaging.
- Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests, discuss issues, express their opinion and share related content. But that’s not how they are being used in many cases, unless the Group administrator has set the tone by keeping the group promotional free. The second mistake I see people make is using Facebook Groups as a repository of promotions. If you thumb through some of the Facebook Groups for people in the entertainment industry, you’ll actually see that many of the posts are self-serving promotions. There is no interaction among members. Instead, its all about asking people to donate to their fundraising campaign, promoting their services, come see your play, watch you in a TV show or promote your film screening. No one’s really talking to or supporting one another. And no one really knows one another so you’re basically posting to a group of people who aren’t even listening. No one is doing any real networking or relationship building. What you want to do is make sure you’re joining Facebook Groups where the members are actually connecting, discussing, networking and supporting each other within the context of a common interest or topic. Let’s do a little experiment. Go through the list of Facebook Groups you belong to and see how many have actual interaction and engagement between members, and how many are just a wasteland of promotions. Put your energies into networking in the former Group.
- The third mistake people make is failing to do their research and proactively go to where the people on their “networking hit list” are. Don’t sit on the sidelines and read their posts. Participate and contribute! Post comments to status updates and engage in conversations. Build an online rapport based on common interests. They will get to know you and vice versa. Most people in the industry deal with “Hollywood” all day. They often come onto Facebook to relax and socialize on a non-business basis. Talk sports, philanthropy, pets, anything but work. Build relationships through the back door because its easier than through the front door.
If you only talk about yourself and your work, and post things that serve your ambitions, you won’t attract a community of Facebook friends and acquaintances. Be interesting, share content, participate in discussions, contribute to the conversation and be supportive by championing others. You want to be seen as an involved, likable and committed industry professional who adds value to the Hollywood Facebook community.