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One of my favorite networking tools is Facebook.  Here are some tips on using Facebook to attract new clients, get more publicity and build your expertise and community online.

1. Be yourself…

…but be professional. While Facebook is a social network, it could be a mistake to interact with your clients and prospective clients the same way you would with your casual friends. So make sure your clients get information that is absolutely “you,” but not everything about you!

This way of being “professionally you” can also help boost your business by adding the uniqueness factor. There's only one you, after all.

So watch what you say, and don't hesitate to make use of Facebook's privacy settings to make sure your professional and personal posts do not mix (much).  I do post personal information on Facebook if I think it is interesting. However,I don't share things that are not relevant to everyone (i.e. I use Facebook to help plan my huge family Christmas party each year)

2. Automate, Automate, Automate…

Make sure that your Facebook profile is connected to your other social media outlets (twitter, you tube).  Be careful though about auto-posting blog posts to your fan page.  Facebook will give preference to blog posts that are pasted in by hand rather than auto-posted from your blog.

3. Make sure others can “Like” you

Just like building an opt-in list, you can offer a bribe to people who like your page.  There are many plug ins you can use to create what is called a “fan gate” – basically people come to the page and are invited to like you.  Once they have pressed the like button – they get your free gift.  This is a great way to increase likes (and exposure) for your page.

4. Building trust and confidence

Facebook is the sort of place where reputations can be created or ruined. Make it a practice to think through what you post and be sure you deliver on your promises. Building a good reputation is essential in any business venture, but the opportunity to build a good reputation (or a bad one) is better than ever these days – you can make a name for yourself in a short amount of time that was unheard of several years ago. So make sure you keep your fans and followers up to date.

5. Know what to say

In order to build consumer confidence and get the word out about your business, you will need to know what you're going to say. People will lose interest if you don't deliver compelling and interesting content, and deliver it consistently. Part of networking is making sure you are providing what people need. So make sure you give them the information they expect from you on a regular basis.