How to Work a Facebook Party

by Larry Chiang on December 13, 2009

Larry Chiang is a CEO and a blogger. If you liked “10 Things They Don’t Teach You at Business School ” and “How to Work a Cocktail Party“, you’ll like his newest submission: “How to Work a Facebook Party”.


Larry’s book release 09-09-09 and BIO: http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBio

Before he’s done, you’ll have built up your resume to the point that business schools will be recruiting you like a college basketball lottery pick.

By Larry Chiang

I love that even in an Internet age, we still all want to be social and human.  Part of the new human experience is Facebook.

Similar to how Susan Roane teaches us “How to Work a Room“, I believe old school networking techniques mixed in with Facebook as a new social platform, helps us network better. Here’s how:

-1- Be Bold on Facebook.

I use a triple threat of value added boldness by (1) Promoting what I love, (2) showing what I care about, and (3) explaining how my offer will benefit them.  Those three principals (sprinkled in with a little party humor) form my foundation for Facebook.

-2- Wall Posting Is Fun and Profitable.

Wallposting where you are asking or thanking for something looks nicer with a gift. Gifts cost a whopping $1.00 (50c if you buy in “bulk”) and they last a long time.

After a conference, I sent Kara Swisher, of the Wall Street Journal, a Facebook gift and she returned a note saying thanks. Wall posts with gifts makes lasting impressions.

Profit from wall posts by asking them for business. I posted a thank you wallpost on Roelof Botha’s wall after he delivered a keynote at an event I chaired.  The ‘thank you’ wall post had my 650-566-9600 number announcing I had college student leads.  I  still get phone calls from that $1.00 facebook gift.

-3- Make Introductions.

Just like at a real party, you want to be more of a host and less of a guest (paraphrasing Susan Roane again).  Good hosts make introductions and connections.  Facebook allows that same functionality.  Also, if you see someone who you would like to meet, you can ask for an introduction.

-4- Publicize With Pictures.

Add to the Facebook party with pictures!  People love pictures.  I interweave my “get-good-credit-message” into many of my pictures.  I also try to offer a window into a secret world through my pictures.  Uploading is one step with my iPhone Facebook app, but they’ve disabled the email-direct-to-album feature.

My USC film professor told me, “Don’t be visually deficient”, and if you check out my Facebook profile in the Austin TX network, you’ll see that I am a decent listener.

-5- Start a Groupie Group.

It is artful to start a facebook group people want to join. A.S.S.E. on Facebook group looks like a site for either 6 year olds or donkey’s gone wild.  ASSE stands for Austin Secret Society of Entrepreneurs.  It has the idea if you don’t own 100% of You Inc., you are asinine (no debt, no loans and no notes against your assets).

My groupie group is all organic, real world people that have self selected into Asse.

I ran into Brandee Barker of Facebook and she chipped in, “Pages, help too!. If you have a personal or product brand, Facebook pages are a great way to reach your “fans” on pages, you can add useful applications and include a variety of content such as photos, video, and import blogs to notes.”

-6- KISS my DDSS.

DDSS stands for ‘Dumb yourself down and sandbag for success’.  KISS stands for Keep it Simple and Straitforward. I try to minimize my CEO resume and make myself much more fluffy and approachable. DDSS also allows you to ooze success and potential versus the cliche over promise, under deliver manuver.

I also observe this with my Harvard friends when they reply “in the Boston area” when asked where they went to school. Being wary of your edu pedigree during first impressions is smart cuz people care and overly evaluate you on it.

-7- Cut and Paste.

Yes, steal other people’s content on Facebook.  Cite and source to promote, amplify and drive traffic to your favorite content makes it legal to cut and paste.  Dave McClure does a great job with mentor marketing where his links teach you about stuff.  How you amplify what you read shows your Facebook friends and community what is important to you.  When cutting and pasting, be sure to cite and source or it leans toward plagiarism.

-8- Tag Notes and Tag Pictures.

On Facebook, you can tag pictures of people. It makes people feel popular when pictures appear in the Facebook “News Feed”. Post conference or networking event, I go through my uploaded pics and tag them with the new people in my Facebook network.

-9- Make Your News Feed News Worthy.

Start by sharing some personal information. It doesn’t have to be personally identifiable, but it should be something personal and make your Facebook page more than a stoic resume.

I sprinkled in scandal onto my page by calling out my college advisor who was a jerk: Chalmers Sechrist. My page details my college experience in techicolor detail.

-10- Be OK With Not Being Popular (yet).

Random friending is not a great strategy, but messaging authors of books or blogs is a great way to kiss butt before asking for the Facebook friend request.

11- Don’t Over Manage Comments.

Be real on Facebook.  I allow people to post comments to my notes and to comment about my pictures.  People can even comment on your Facebook status.

Some people only want perfect comments.  On Facebook, I do not struggle to be perfect, I struggle to be REAL to the point of being confessional.  My Facebook helps profile page allows people to see what I am striving towards.  It is like an accountability progress page that is for the world to see.

No one works a Facebook Party like me, so ping me and lets meet up via Facebook. Or meet me at the real world, SXSW Facebook party at Pangaea after my VC Secrets Panel, Sunday March 15th.


Larry’s book release 09-09-09 and BIO: http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBio

Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9, which educates college students on how to establish and maintain a FICO score over 750. He has testified before Congress and World Bank on credit.

He is a frequent contributor to Business Week’s blog on “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School”. His earlier posts at GigaOm: How to Work The Room; 8 Tips On How to Get Mentored ; and 9 VCs You’re Gonna Want To Avoid. You can read more equally funny, founder-focused-lessons on Larry’s Amazon blog.

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