“A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living”
~ Rudolf Steiner

There’s been quite a lot of discussion over on the Success for Solopreneurs Facebook fan page this past week about the many mistakes that small businesses and solopreneurs often make with their Facebook (social networking) presence.

Rather than focus on what not to do, I think we should focus on 5 things you can do today to make the time you spend on your Facebook page help to create a thriving community.

Automation is a tool – use it wisely.  Don’t rely on it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the ability to automate my social networking updates.  It comes in handy when I’m out of town, busy all day or when I want to start the conversation with my community before I even get out of bed (now you know my secrets!)

At the same time, there’s no need to do twice the work…set up your various social networks to update to each other (yes, that’s a form of automation – just remember to check all the combined networks for comments and updates).  Personally, I like the Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn model myself as I feel it allows for more freedom (and space) to say what I want to say.

Schedule time in your day.  If you’re not going to automate (see above), you need to make sure you sprinkle updates throughout the day.  Different people are online at different times throughout the day.  Your goal is to speak to them throughout the day.

And more importantly…speak WITH them. Remember to check back to your page and see who has “liked” stuff and left comments.  See who has posted to your wall.  And have a conversation.  It’s called SOCIAL networking for a reason…get out there and be social.

Change is the spice of life. Mix things up a bit.  Have a list of different sources where you go to look for quality content to share (shoot for 5-10 resources).  Post videos that your people will find funny or useful or inspiring.  Give away your expertise by offering your own free products and services.  Talk about your products and services (just don’t go overboard here).

Ask questions.  I love to ask questions with my community – sometimes serious, business-related, and sometimes personal or silly.  Do whatever it takes to not be predictable and say (or sell) the same thing over and over and over and over and well, you get it.

Be who you authentically are.  I think this is something that many of us struggle with from time to time.  Somewhere we were told not to share anything personal with our clients or our business relationships.  But I beg to differ. Talk about your day.

You want people to know that there’s a real person behind your business (here comes that know, like and trust thing again).  You want them to know what makes you tick, what excites and emboldens you, what brings you joy.  You want to share who YOU are.  You want to do

Invite others to share. From time to time, I encourage you to invite your community to share who they are, what they do and what they’re looking for.  Again, social networking is all about being social.  So invite those in your community to become an active part of your community.

This isn’t so much a list of do’s and don’ts.  This is more a list of suggestions and things to consider.  I want your time on Facebook, and your investment in your business fan page to be not only successful, but also fun.

And guess what…all of these tips work just as well for Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever other social network you might frequent.  So spend a little time today and find 5-15 minutes about 3 times a day to interact with your Facebook community.  Just remember to stop by and participate in the fan pages you follow as well.

I challenge you to share more of YOU on your Faceook page today.  Tell me something I might not have otherwise known about your business or your day.