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Yes,  Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with your buddies and family and to reconnect with people you’ve lost contact with.  AND, it’s also a powerful marketing tool if you use it right.

Some people choose to set up a private page for just family and friends while creating a separate page for business.  I’ve chosen to blend the two on my “wall” so that potential clients/customers can get a feel for who I authentically am.

I’m in the process of creating a “fan page” specifically for my business (watch for a contest announcement in March!).  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you.

1.  Some facts about Facebook. Think that your ideal client is not on Facebook?  Think again.  In 2009, Facebook had 350 million users and it keeps growing.  Facebook reaches 56% of people using the internet in the U.S. and many more in other countries.  Just over 70% of Facebook users come from outside the U.S.

11% of users are ages 13-17, 29% are 18-25, 23% are 26-34, 18% are 35-44, 12% are 45-54, 7% are 55-65.  Facebook is the #3 site visited by users 65 and older!

2.  Why Are You Doing This Anyway? Before you dive in take some time to set your goals and expectations of your Facebook Fan Page.  You may want to sell a certain number of books, you may want to get booked for a certain amount of speaking gigs each month, you may want to establish yourself as an expert, or you may want to fill up your coaching group.

3.  How to Create a Fan Page. Go to www.facebook.com.  Scroll way to the bottom to the fine print and click on “advertising”.  On the left hand side of the page, click on pages.  Then click on “create page”. Now you’re ready to create your fan page (it’s free!).

4.  Start a discussion. One of the great things about a Facebook Fan Page is that you can interact with your tribe.  You’ll see a “discussion” folder tab at the top of the page.  Post a question you’d like to get opinions or ideas about.

5.  Post some photos and videos. Everyone enjoys seeing you in “real life” situations.  It’s also great to post photos of you with experts or local celebrities.

6.  Invite people to join your fan page. Send an email to your list inviting them to become a fan.  Run a contest like I’m doing to encourage participation.  If you already have a Facebook profile page (this is different from the Fan Page) you can invite your “friends” to become fans.  On the Facebook Fan Page, scroll all the way down to the bottom left.  You’ll see a “share” button. Click on it and you’ll see your Fan Page Profile and your list of current Facebook Friends.  You can select who to send an invitation to or click “all”.

7. Promote your page with The Marketing Heaven.

You can post an invitation on your blog, you can twitter about it, if you have a profile on Linked In you can post an update about your new Facebook fan page.

Want a powerful, no cost way to build your list of raving fans? Get going on building your Facebook Fan Page!  When you get your Fan Page up, post a note and link to your Facebook fan page on my blog and I’ll become a fan of yours AND my blog readers just might also!  http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog/