So you’ve got your business blog, and you’re now on Facebook and Twitter. You’re keen to dive in and start trying to grow your networks. Awesome! Here is the first in a two-part series about growing your networks. We start with Facebook.

If you have a personal Facebook page, it’s worthwhile watching trends on your homepage for a while. If you do, you’ll notice that people get excited, anxious, depressed, happy, or enthused, with amazing speed. And if they like something, they’ll share it. Facebook is great for viral posts, and comments that you might not have otherwise gained. It’s a good idea to watch how people react to content on this social network, because it will give you a good idea about how you can exploit it.

1. Post interesting content, regularly

It’s great to syndicate what you do on your blog or news page. Chances are, the people who read your work on Facebook don’t go to your blog. What you want to do is post interesting things that you do, and interesting things that other people do – to show that you’re connected.

The key to a good Facebook page for a business is post regularity. If your page doesn’t post content, then it dies socially. It needs to be out there and active, like that super popular extrovert at high school.

2. Interact, interact, interact

The key to Facebook is interaction. So you need to check your page, reply to comments, ‘like’ comments that you genuinely like or that are relevant, and keep people talking. It doesn’t matter if the conversation strays from the point. Conversations do that! The key is to make sure that you are involved, and creating the right impression.

3. Recommend all your friends join your page

This one is fairly obvious. If you start a page for your business, recommend it to everybody you know, everybody you think might appreciate it, and send them a note telling them why. It’s a great way of getting some immediate notice, and many people’s friends will join simply because they don’t want to offend you.

And, once your friends become a fan, their networks will see it. If your page looks interesting enough to your friends’ broader network, you’ll get even more fans.

4. Have network goals and make them obvious

One of the great things about Facebook is a ‘fan count’. On all dedicated Facebook pages, it will tell you how many people like it. When you start growing your network, wait until you have a decent number of fans, and then start pushing a goal. For example, if you have 276 fans, offer a challenge to your fans. Use a status like: ‘Can we get 300 fans by the end of the month?’

Enthusiastic fans will say ‘of course!’ and start recommending you to their friends. Note that this won’t work as well if you don’t have a good relationship with your fans.

You can always offer gifts for milestone fans: 100, 500, 1000. This makes people even more enthusiastic.

5. Consider Facebook adverts

The type of advertisement best to consider is one of those small page adverts with ‘xx people like this’ under it. They are cheap (you can set your budget, like $1 or a certain number of impressions per day), and targeted (i.e. location, age, interests).

Even if you don’t do it straight away, it is worth considering. People like to follow a crowd. If you have fifteen friends who like a particular page, chances are you will at least visit the page to have a look at what it is, and you will consider becoming a fan yourself.

6. Avoid the hard sell

Once your network is growing, you have warm and regular interactions, you can start selling things. Be wary though that trying to do the hard sell is likely to cause you to lose fans. People join Facebook for fun and interaction, not to be sold to.

7. Have fun!

Enjoy your time running your Facebook page. Building your social networks needn’t be a chore, but it can take a bit of strategic thought. Once you get into it and start enjoying it, your fans will sense it through what and how you post. The flow-on effect is, of course, that you’ll be more likely to do it regularly: which brings us right back to point #1!