When you run an online business, making a new Facebook friend can be so exciting. They could become a biz bestie, mentor, or if all goes well, a new client!
Unless you make it all about the sale way too soon. You love being sold to by someone you met two minutes ago, don’t you?
If you run an online business, making new friends on Facebook should definitely be part of your growth strategy! Your dream client is probably pressing “Share” on a Hot Mess Charlene video right now.
And she probably has 26,516 unread messages that begin with something annoying and impersonal like “Hey girlie!”
I don’t know who started this cold messaging trend. But I am ready for it to go the way of the Rickroll.
What’s wrong with cold messaging?
Pretend you are at a party. Becky approaches you, and before she even asks your name, she starts yabbering about herself and won’t shut up. You get the sense that she wants something, possibly even money. It’s uncomfortable. You’re uncomfortable. About a minute into the conversation, you’re looking for a reason to walk away.
Would you trust someone who behaves like Becky?
Here’s one of my fave tips from social media expert Brandie Peters : If you’re a human, act like a human.
Social interactions between humans are nuanced and complicated. But some things are pretty straightforward, like “Don’t walk up to someone at a party and ask for money.”
The problem with cold messaging is that it sucks the fun out of Facebook. Nobody is on Facebook because they want to be sold to, just like no one goes to the mall hoping that someone at a kiosk will walk up to their kid and start pushing them a $15 fidget spinner.
What are some fun, non-icky alternatives for getting to know new Facebook friends?
Use the reaction feature to “love” or “haha” their latest post
Everyone likes to be noticed. Especially when getting their content noticed will increase their odds of making money.
Did your new connection’s post resonate with you? It takes 2 seconds to “Love” it. You like it when people laugh at your jokes, so why not “Haha” someone else’s?
Respond to their post in a group
You know how it feels when you pour your heart into a post and it is met with crickets. Or if you don’t know that feeling because you’ve been instantly popular in every group you’ve joined, it feels something like going in for a high-five and the other person just staring at you all judgey.
If your new connection came from a Facebook group, why not leave her some love on her latest post in there? It can be simple, like “I totally relate to (relatable part of her story)! Thanks for sharing.”
Comment on their recent picture
Keyword: recent picture. Digging through their old pictures and “liking” them right away is kinda creepy.
Send a direct reply to their story
This simple, low-effort tip works with Facebook and Instagram. If you see that your new connection has a story, just tap it, view it, and send a direct reply.
A direct reply to a story is just a short, personal connection. “That looks fun!” or “The struggle is real” are direct replies I’ve used to start a conversation with new connections.
Tag them in a relevant “looking for a recommendation” post
This one is best for when you’ve been following someone for awhile and you know what they do.
Of course, not everyone likes being tagged in posts, especially by people they don’t know very well. At the bottom of this post is a script I’ve used to ask someone’s permission to be tagged in one of these threads.
Visit their blog
Leave a thoughtful comment on one of their posts. To connect this way, it doesn’t matter if the post is new or old. Anything is fair game.
BONUS: Use this as an opportunity to get a backlink to your own blog or website. But don’t hijack the conversation and make it all about you, because ick. I have also included a comment template at the bottom of this post.
Comment on their Instagram post
Give your new connection a boost on IG by leaving a short but relevant comment. 5-10 words is enough. Let’s say she posts a picture of her border collie puppy. A relevant comment would be something like “Aww! My best friend had a border collie growing up. Your pup is adorbs!” See? Just something short and honest that relates to what they posted.
Avoid these traps
- Starting a controversy for the sake of it. It’s okay to polarize your audience on social media. But if you want to turn this new connection into a client, it’s important to kick things off on a positive note.
- Bombarding all your new friends with comments. It just comes off a bit strong. Sometimes a Like, Heart, or Haha will do.
- Telling people different things to appeal to everyone. I mean, just keep it real. I recently saw a coach comment on a friend’s brunch picture, “OMG those eggs look delicious!” and then on another thread “I hate eggs, too!” Reminded me of this scene from Runaway Bride.
If you still think that cold messaging is the way to go, live your life. I’m here to present a different option, not boss you around. But would you just do me this one small kindness?
Don’t add people to your Facebook groups unless they have specifically asked to join.
Those templates I was talking about:
Asking someone’s permission to tag them in a Recommendation post:
“Hi (first name). One of my friends made a post because she’s looking for VA recommendations. I see in your bio that you’re a VA. Are you accepting new clients? If so, is it OK to tag you in a comment?”
Basic blog comment:
“Hi (blogger’s first name),
You made a great point about (topic). (briefly discuss what you liked about it.) I wrote a post about this too. If you’re interested you can check it out here (link back to your post).
- (your name) of (link to blog)”